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How to Choose Between the Different Types of Law Degrees

different types of law degrees

So, you’ve decided that you want to do a law degree. Well done you’ve passed the first hurdle! But have you really thought about the various types of law degrees on offer?

Here we have outlined the key law degrees you can choose between, so you can work out which one best suits you when it comes to picking your universities!

Once you get to know the different types of law degrees there are, take a look at our huge Uni-by-Uni comparison page, featuring each of the top universities’ types of degree, entry requirements and number of applications to places!

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#1: Non-qualifying law degrees: BA in Law

It’s extremely important to be aware of the difference between a qualifying law degree, the LLB, and a non-qualifying law degree, the BA in law.

The most prominent difference is that the Bachelor of Arts in Law usually will not enable you to practice or qualify as a solicitor or barrister through the traditional route. This is because a BA in law does not include all the necessary core modules for a qualifying law degree.

What this essentially means is that you cannot immediately go onto an LPC or a BPTC once you have graduated. The LPC, or Legal Practice Course, is what you must complete if you want to become a solicitor after a qualifying law degree, and the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) is for aspiring barristers. Therefore, if you want to practice as a solicitor or barrister, you’ll have to do the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) or more commonly known as the law conversion course once you graduate.

Having said that, the BA Law is a common choice among many since it allows considerably more flexibility within the course in comparison to the LLB. If you decide to do this degree, you are still able to do law modules, while also choosing elective modules in other branches.

Employers may like this degree because it proves your ability to reinforce your legal knowledge with other topics of interest to you. This can be particularly useful for non-legal careers (where some legal knowledge could put you to an advantage) – such as in politics or journalism.

>> Interested in the BA in law but want to know a little more on how the law conversion course works? Take a look at our guide to the GDL here!

#2: Qualifying law degrees: LLB law

As mentioned above, since LLB Law is a qualifying law degree in England and Wales, completing it allows you to immediately move onto the next step in your legal journey – the LPC or BPTC – without the requirement of doing the GDL beforehand. This course is named ‘qualifying’ since it includes the core modules.

The 7 Core Modules are:

Some optional modules may include:

>> Don’t stop there – take a look at our popular free guide to the different Areas of Law here!

#3: LLB Law with Joint Honours: Languages

If you loved your Spanish, French or German A-level, you are able to choose a Joint Honours LLB Law with your chosen language degree!

Overall, these courses will usually be a total of four years with a year abroad, enabling you to have the chance to explore foreign legal systems.

There are many advantages to completing this type of degree – for example, with an additional language, you can widen your job prospects. You will be especially favoured by many international firms since completing this degree shows excellent communicate skills and equips you with necessary cultural awareness.

In addition to this, reading another European legal system formulates you for a global workplace and allows you to gain an insight into various challenges involved in international business.

>> Our top contributor Cassie spent a year in Paris during her law degree – find out whether or not you should spend a year abroad too here.

#4: LLB Law with Joint Honours: Other Subjects

Many universities offer LLB Joint Honours courses in combination with other subjects, which also take one extra year to complete overall.

Some examples of these degrees are:

The advantages associated with choosing these types of degrees are that it clearly demonstrates commercial awareness to your future employers, while also (usually) being qualifying law degrees.

>> Not sure what commercial awareness is and why it’s so important to law firms and chambers? Read our free guide to commercial awareness now!

#5: Jurisprudence at Oxford University

If you’re looking at Oxbridge, you may have noticed that one of Oxford’s law courses is named ‘Jurisprudence’. This is because this course is considered to be centred around academic theory and philosophy associated with law – and therefore less practical than courses at many similar institutions.

Another key difference between this course and other law courses is the teaching of Roman law. Reading law here is undoubtedly extremely prestigious and has brilliant graduate prospects.

>> If the University of Oxford is the place for you, you need to take a look at our Expert Insight: Studying at Oxford Law School, written by current Oxford law student Samantha.

#6: Scots Law

A vital concept to grasp is that even if you study LLB Law in Scotland, you would have to undertake the GDL if you would like to practice as a lawyer in England or Wales. This is because there are significant differences in the legal systems of Scotland and England.

Having said that, there are a few accredited universities offering a combined English and Scots Law LLB, which enables you to read parts of both legal systems.

However, if you wish to become a Scottish solicitor, you must undertake the LLB with an accredited university in Scotland. There are a total of 10 universities accredited by the Law Society of Scotland that offer the Scots Law LLB. And don’t forget that Scotland is a beautiful area to study in!


Hopefully we have now highlighted the main types of law degrees on offer so you can reach a good conclusion as to which one is the best for you!

Have you seen our university comparison table yet? It’s well worth taking a look if you’re deciding between the different universities across the UK – read it here.


Published: 29/03/18     Author: Tvara Shah


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