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Program Overview

Learning to teach a course in law and religion.

The coursework in this advanced certificate program in religion and the rule of law prepares young scholars to teach a course on law and religion from national, international, and comparative perspectives. Each morning, participants attend two 90-minute classes led by a variety of distinguished law and religion scholars, all of whom are recognized as leading experts in the field. These lecturers—who come from various national, cultural, religious, and/or professional backgrounds—discuss law and religion topics from their unique perspectives. Morning classes feature casebook lectures, Q&A, small-group discussions, and other pedagogical methods. By the end of the course, participants should feel prepared to teach a course on comparative and international law and religion, adapted to their respective locales.

Each young scholar who completes the Program will receive a certificate of completion. This is not an academic credential from Oxford University or Brigham Young University; however, it is becoming a recognized international reference in the fields of law and religion, international human rights law, and comparative constitutional law.

Participating in writing tutorials on law and religion topics for English-language academic journals.

A goal of the Young Scholars Fellowship is for each participant to make significant progress in writing an English-language academic article for submission to scholarly journals. This goal is furthered through pre-Oxford online writing tutorials and at-Oxford one-on-one writing tutorials.

Preparatory online tutorials. In April, young scholars begin participating in online writing and research tutorials, in preparation for more intensive writing tutorials during the Program at Oxford. Participants engage with online materials, submit “assignments,” and receive feedback from a legal writing expert—all on a somewhat flexible schedule. These preparatory tutorials help participants develop several basic building blocks for an academic journal article. The goal is for young scholars to arrive at Oxford having developed a clear thesis statement, constructed a basic outline, conducted a preemption check and literature review, and compiled a preliminary bibliography—all in preparation for more intensive one-on-one writing tutorials with legal writing professors during the three-week Program at Oxford.

Oxford-style tutorials, one-on-one and in small groups. Once at Oxford, young scholars participate each afternoon in one-on-one tutorials with experienced professional legal writing faculty. The individualized feedback and instruction provided is invaluable in helping participants improve their academic writing skills and achieve the goal of producing a publishable scholarly article. In addition to participating in one-on-one tutorials, participants engage in peer review and make presentations on their research and writing to their cohort. The standards and protocol of legal academic writing are specific and exacting, and for many international graduate students and young professors, finding the time and developing the skills necessary to publish in English-language journals is extremely challenging. Having an English-language scholarly article well underway by the end of the Program can serve as a significant springboard to successful careers for young scholars.

Becoming “Fellows” of the ICLRS.

Program participants may continue to receive feedback on their writing in the year following the Program and, thus, receive a one-year designation as “writing fellows” of the ICLRS. In addition, they are nominated for membership in the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS), and the Program will pay the first-year membership dues of successful candidates.

Networking with and presenting research to other scholars.

In addition to the Program’s instructional goals, a major goal of the Program is to help young scholars expand their professional networks. Participants build relationships with their cohort, as they engage in classroom discussions, present their research, and perform peer reviews of each other’s work. In addition, participants can network with visiting lecturers, who are internationally recognized experts in the field of law and religion. Participants may also meet and engage with other experts who take part in ICLRS-sponsored conferences and workshops held at Oxford concurrently with the Program. ICLRS-sponsored membership in the International Consortium for Law and Religion Scholars (ICLARS), for the year following the Program, helps young scholars engage with members of that learned society from around the globe. And the ICLRS encourages and welcomes young scholars’ engagement in various regional consortia that hold annual law and religion conferences, many of which the ICLRS co-sponsors.