Are you planning on studying Law at University? As a highly respected and very popular degree choice, we look at what you need to know before applying.
As Law student you can expect to learn how to tackle some of the problematic issues and conflicts in society. A Law degree provides a framework to examine society, culture and morality. Although you may assume that studying law only leads to becoming a lawyer, law degrees are useful for a broad range of professional roles and are highly valued by employers.
If you are looking to study law then you will need to be familiar with the following terms, LLB (Bachelor of Laws), BA, and BSc Law first-degree courses. The difference between the LLB, and BA and BSc is that generally LLB students spend their entire course studying the law, while students on a BA or BSc programme may spend as much as one-third of their time studying modules outside of Law. It is worth thinking about which is most suitable for you; popular options include Law and a Language for example.
Like most academic degrees, law programmes start with compulsory core courses. The general core subjects you would be studying during your law degree include:
- Legal Method, Skills and Reasoning
- Law in Practice
- Constitutional and Administrative Law
- English Legal Process
- Principles of Criminal Law
- Contract Law
These will be taught through a combination of lectures, group work, seminars, class debates and practical law training in a courtroom setting. Different universities teach the course in different ways, some use traditional methods and others prefer a Problem Based Learning (PBL) approach. In both cases, mastering not only the theory but the practical side of the profession will be at the core of the course.
As you progress through your degree you will be given the opportunity to choose law topics tailored to a particular career path. These can include:
- Law and Medicine
- Media Law
- Internet Law
- Child Law
- Intellectual Property Law
The majority of law graduates go on to pursue careers within the legal sector. Many of these pathways require further study such as a BPTC to become a Barrister or the LPC to become a qualified Solicitor.
For students reading law at university who may not want to become lawyers, the degree is still a fascinating insight into the process of law. The skills you will develop studying a law degree such as problem solving, communication, negotiation and attention to detail are highly transferrable and sought after attributes by employers including business, banking, media, teaching, politics and journalism.
Equally, it is worth noting that many students that do want to become lawyers take their degree in another academic discipline and then take a law conversion course, the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). This is a perfectly acceptable and well recognized route into law and can be favoured by some law firms because of the breadth it brings.
Top 5 Universities for Law in the UK for 2019:
Many US Universities have also exceptional reputations for Law, so it is worth also considering these when looking at your options.
Fees & Entry Requirements
Law is a very competitive degree. A minimum AAA or equivalent is required. In reality, most offers will be A*AA for the top universities. Some universities look for English or History and an A Level in Law is not a requirement.
Fees for UK and EU students are approximately £9,250 per year, rising to around £20,000+ for international students.
Generally, admissions tutors look for strong all-round individuals who are curious about the world around them and determined and diligent. A degree in Law not only leads to a career as a barrister or solicitor – it prepares a graduate for a wide range of careers. Bear in mind you don’t have to study for an undergraduate degree in law to be a lawyer. Many top firms prefer a degree in a different academic discipline.
A student’s perspective:
“Reading law at university requires just that, a lot of reading (and a reading list which you somehow never quite get to the end of no matter how hard you try). A key part of the degree is learning how to craft arguments based on the legalisation, case law and, in some cases, public policy considerations in order to answer the questions posed in an essay or exam. At first all the different terminology can seem a little foreign. However, you soon get used to this and do not need to have studied law beforehand (e.g. for a-level).
The subject matter is very varied, even within the compulsory subjects, ranging from the components of murder, to the rules which dictate how the government system works and how a contract is made. There are compulsory subjects for all law degrees but also generally a wide choice of other subjects to choose from (which you will not have the opportunity to study if you choose to convert to law post university via the GDL).
A key point to note is that you do not need a law degree to be a lawyer, plenty of people choose to study something else at university and then convert to law afterwards by taking the yearlong graduate diploma in law (GDL). In fact, you may wonder if it is worth studying it at all given this alternative route. However, studying law as a degree can be advantageous if you choose it as a profession as you have a much deeper grounding in how the law works and you will have had to spend many hours learning how to do legal research (which is not something you do on the GDL). This may not be as advantageous if you want to be a corporate lawyer and focus much more on the structure and mechanics of a transaction for example, but can be invaluable in other fields, such as litigation or advisory work where legal research often forms a bigger part of the day job. On the flip side, having a degree in law can also set you for a wide range of other professions, as it demonstrates skills in analysis, logic and written communication.”
Emily Thompson, Law Graduate from University of Cambridge
Top reasons to study Law:
- It’s a degree that combines theory with practice
- You’ll use real-life examples to see how that theory is applied
- It equips you with a variety of skills, even if you choose another career route
- It is well respected by employers with good career prospects
- A precise and challenging degree choice
- There are clear postgraduate options and career pathways
- Law is one of the world’s most respected professions