A master’s in Jurisprudence by Debbie Luwagga

Q- Tell us a bit about yourself and why you chose to pursue this masters degree.

My name is Debbie and I am Ugandan. If I am not studying or working, I am reading a book, on a walk listening to a podcast, cooking, or on a call with my family/friends. I am a currently a law student getting my master’s in jurisprudence in International and Comparative Law at DePaul University in Chicago. I graduated college with a BSc double major in International Relations and Political Science. In my senior year of college, I was having a really good time in the classroom and knew that I was not done yet with school. So, I applied to 2 law schools, and got 2 rejections so I decided to work for a year. At the end of that year, I found my program at DePaul and it was like it was meant for me. It was so perfect because I was still going to law school, I was going to study exactly what I am interested in, without spending as much time or as much money as I would if I were getting a JD. I needed no more convincing.

Q- what does it entail (topics/modules)

A Master’s in Jurisprudence is almost like an LLM without having to get a base law degree. As long as you have graduated undergrad—regardless of your subject—you can apply to study a field of law you would like to gain more knowledge in. The concentrations at my school include; Business Law and Taxation; Criminal Law; Health Care Compliance, Health Law, International and Comparative Law and, Public Interest Law. There’s a myriad of courses to choose from within each concentration but some of within mine are International Law, International Taxation, Environmental Law, Children’s Rights Under International Law, Women’s Human Rights under International Law, International Protection of Human Rights, Post Conflict Justice, International Criminal Law, International Trade Law, etc. Outside of the required courses, one has the liberty to choose their courses as they please. I elected to focus on public international law (Human Rights, Foreign Policy) given my personal interests and undergraduate background.

Q- what have you enjoyed or are you enjoying the most on your masters programme?

I was so geeked when I first found my program and it did not disappoint. I love how small my classes are because public international law often evokes so much discussion. Everyone in my class is passionate about the topics and I have found my personal background to be so instrumental and informative in classroom discussions, and therefore, always welcomed and encouraged. I also really love the class material. The topics we cover are always connected to something going on in the world right now and it incredible to apply intellect to emotions and vice versa in the classroom. I also enjoy all the cases that explain how we got here. All the history and precedents are fun to both challenge and marvel at. I love it here.

Q- would you recommend this masters programme to our members?

Absolutely, I would 10/10 recommend this program. Personally, I think God picked this path for me knowing it was the best. I don’t imagine that I would have enjoyed law school if I had to sit through bar classes like contract law, administrative, or family law. I must say that interning at a law firm in Uganda that exposed me to the different kinds of law made me aware of what I did not want to do. I did not want to work in a law firm and didn’t like the court environment at all. Even though I enjoyed my time working at this

law firm, I was not interested in corporate or litigation or family law as careers and my internship was what brought me to that realization. I would recommend this program to people who work in fields that interface with law, like non-profits, social work, business and public health for example, and would like to get more knowledge on the law in their field without having to get the full law degree.

If you are an undergraduate student or even in post-grad worrying about your future and wondering where you should go next—it might not seem like it, but you have options. While summers are good to have fun with friends, I highly encourage using that time during college to seek internships, network, build connections and explore your interests. When you get an opportunity, maximize it. Even if it’s not where you want to end up, the least case scenario is that you walk away knowing what you don’t want to do and meeting some good people. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help and ask questions. It shows that you are dedicated to learning and getting better. I wish you all the best and thanks YEAALN for this opportunity. Wear your masks and stay safe, people.

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