Erudera's Complete Guide to Studying Law in The UK
Studying for a law degree will take you almost anywhere. It will not limit your options of becoming a solicitor or barrister only, but it will give you the opportunity of choosing from a wide range of career options using the skills you develop during law school. In addition to this, students that choose to study law in one of the UK’s universities receive an outstanding quality of education, gain a deep understanding of law principles and acquire practical abilities that allow them to carry out their jobs as successfully as possible.
Reasons to Study Law in the United Kingdom
Highly Competitive Education System
The high quality of the education system in the United Kingdom has resulted in a large number of international students choosing to study in the country. Its excellent universities have established close cooperation with various national and international law firms, and have created great career opportunities for students who aspire to work in the field of law. Thus, graduating from one of the UK's universities will place you among the best and most prepared graduates of your field.
How much you learn in a particular field depends quite a lot on the quality of education you receive. In this regard, what makes the United Kingdom a perfect place to study law is the high quality of educators in their institutes. While studying for your law degree in the UK you will have the advantage of learning from experienced professionals who not only aim to teach you inside the classroom but outside of it as well.
Develop Transferable Skills
During your studies you will be taught to argue from a basis of evidence, thus cultivating advanced communication skills, problem-solving skills, and the capacity to think independently. You will also develop your negotiation skills, learn to view problems from different perspectives, and most importantly and perhaps obviously you will graduate with a deep understanding of the law. All these skills are invaluable and quite desirable in various high-level job positions.
Benefit from the Multicultural Environment
The culture you are born into has a great impact on the way you perceive the world. Once you come into a different culture you may struggle to make sense of all the new things you encounter, but it will definitely increase your awareness of different cultures. The United Kingdom is a multicultural country, and studying here will not only have you exposed to the British culture but to the international environment of its universities as well.
Law School Structure in the United Kingdom
There are a number of different law degrees that are offered in the universities of the United Kingdom. These include:
- Bachelor of Law or LLB - includes seven core modules: criminal law, contract law, constitutional or administrative law, property/land law, tort law, EU laws, and equity and trusts. Note that other optional modules and units are included.
- Graduate LLB - this course is a shorter version of the LLB, and you can take it only if you already have a non-law degree.
- Master of Law or LLM - is a postgraduate degree, available to students who already have a degree in law or have a considerable amount of professional experience. During your Master’s studies, you specialize in one of the areas of law.
- Graduate Diploma in Law or GDL - this course is also referred to as CPE, and it is open to students who would like to pursue a career in law.
- Law Practice Course or LPC - taking this course is the penultimate step to becoming a solicitor. In this course, you learn how the law is applied in practice.
- Bar Professional Training Course or BPTC - this course is the penultimate stage to becoming a barrister. Keep in mind that this course is highly competitive, and you should only apply if you are ready to put in the hard work needed to succeed.
- Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme or QLTS - This qualification is for legal professionals from outside England and Wales who would like to work as solicitors in one of these two countries. It is also for barristers trained in England and Wales, who would also like to work as solicitors.
Admission requirements at law schools vary widely depending on the university. They also vary depending on the country you come from. However, some of the documents that you should submit regardless of the above-mentioned factors are:
For Undergraduate Studies
- High School Qualifications (A-levels or equivalent)
- Proof of English language proficiency: TOEFL, IELTS, or other.
Note: Many law schools will not admit students who have a score below 100 in TOEFL, or one below 7.0 in IELTS. Universities usually let students know which test scores they would prefer to receive, so make sure you check the university website for this information.
For Postgraduate Studies
- Bachelor Degree in Law
- Proof of English language proficiency
- Work experience
- Letter of motivation
Take the LNAT (The Law National Aptitude Test)
Law schools use this test to assess your potential to study law at the undergraduate level. Universities that require you to take the LNAT are:
- The University of Oxford,
- The University of Glasgow
- The University of Nottingham,
- The University of Bristol
- Durham University
- UCL Faculty of Laws
- King's College London (KCL)
- LSE London School of Economics and Political Science
- SOAS University of London
Before you start preparing all the documents that you need in order to apply to a Law school you should first decide which university you would like to apply to. In the United Kingdom, you can either apply through UCAS which is a centralized application portal or you can apply directly to the university of your choice. An advantage of applying through UCAS is that you can choose up to five universities to send your application to. Note that if you apply through UCAS you should write a personal statement that is applicable to all your chosen universities.
Whichever option you choose, make sure you send your application on time. Applications that are sent after the deadline are usually not accepted by universities.
Degree Duration: How Long Does It Take to Study Law in the United Kingdom?
The length of a law degree depends on the one you wish to obtain: If you would like to earn a Bachelor’s degree in law (LLB) this will take you three to four years to complete. If you decide to take the fast track of earning an LLB, it will take you two years to complete. A Master’s degree in law will take you at least one year to complete. You can choose between a taught LLM or a research-based LLM. A GDL or a Graduate Diploma in Law takes one year to complete, but if you have graduated in a country other than the UK, before applying to this course you will need a certificate of academic standing from the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A Law Practice Course or LPC also takes one year to complete. Taking the BPTC will take one year to complete. Lastly, the QLTS is divided into two sessions, 2 hours and 45 minutes each.
Tuition Fees: How Much Does It Cost to Study Law in the United Kingdom?
Tuition fees in the United Kingdom vary greatly. One of the factors that impacts the amount of tuition you will have to pay is the country of your origin. If you are a student coming from a non-EU/EEA country, tuition fees in the United Kingdom will surely cost you more. Another factor that plays a role in the cost of tuition fees is the university you are going to apply to. Universities that have a high reputation and are located in bigger cities usually have higher tuition fees. Lastly, another factor influencing the cost of tuition is the level of education you wish to pursue.
|International Students||Cost of Tuition Fees|
|Undergraduate Studies||$16,977 - $28,295 (£12,000 - £20,000)|
|Postgraduate Studies||$19,804 - $42,433 (£14,000 - £30,000)|
Note that this is only an estimation of the cost of tuition fees and that depending on the above-mentioned factors tuition fees may vary.
Law Jobs in the United Kingdom
Law jobs are not limited to solicitors or barristers only. There are a variety of other jobs you can take with a degree in Law including paralegal, a chartered legal executive, licensed conveyancer, legal secretary, patent attorney, trademark attorney, judge, immigration assistant, mediator. With a degree in Law, you can also work in politics, pension scheme management, legal publishing, investment banking, etc. The average salary of a law graduate is $32,014 (£22,620) per year. The entry-level salary for a law graduate is around $25,885 (£18,290), whereas the salary of a more experienced worker reaches the amount of $70,764 (£50,000) per year.