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Studying Law at University – Types of Law Degrees

So you’ve decided on studying law at university. Well done – you’ve passed the first hurdle! But have you thought about the various types of law degrees on offer and how each could benefit you?

On this page, we outline the different types of legal qualifications you can choose between for your legal studies  including the traditional LLB, a non-qualifying Law BA and joint law degrees.

This will help especially when you begin choosing universities for your legal studies.


Take a look at our University Comparison Page featuring law courses for top universities for law  and entry requirements

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Qualifying Law Degrees: LLB Law

Most students studying law complete the LLB. It’s a qualifying law course in England and Wales.

Completing it allows you to immediately move onto the next step in your legal studies – the LPC for solicitors or BPTC for barristers – without having to do the GDL law conversion course beforehand.

These types of law degrees are named ‘qualifying’ since they include the seven core modules required in order for prospective lawyers to continue their training.

The core modules are:

Constitutional and Administrative Law
Criminal Law
Contract Law
Equity and trusts Law
EU Law
Land Law
Tort Law

Some optional modules may include:

Law and Medicine
Media Law
Employment Law
Public International Law

>> Brush up on your knowledge of the areas of the law with our free guide

Find out more about the LLB here >>

Non-Qualifying Law Degrees: Law BA

While most who study law at university take a qualifying degree, it’s extremely important to be aware of the difference between the LLB, and the law BA, which is a non-qualifying law degree.

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

What this essentially means is that you cannot immediately go onto an LPC or a BPTC once you have graduated. Therefore, if you want to practice as a solicitor or barrister after studying law this way, you’ll have to do the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law), which is more commonly known as the law conversion course.

Despite its obvious downside, the Law BA is a common choice among many students studying law since it allows more flexibility within the course syllabus in comparison to the LLB. If you decide to do this law undergraduate course, you are still able to pursue your legal studies, but you also get the chance to combine a law BA with other subjects you’re interested in.

These types of law degrees can be particularly useful for non-legal careers where some legal knowledge could put you at an advantage – such as in politics or journalism.

Find out more about the Law BA and what you can do with the qualification afterwards in our guide.

Joint Law Degrees With Languages

A joint LLB or BA with a language is a great option if you enjoyed your Spanish, French or German A-level.

Overall, these law courses will usually last a total of four years with a year of study abroad, giving you the chance to explore foreign legal systems.

There are many advantages to completing this type of law degree – for example, with an additional language, you can widen your job prospects. You’ll also be favoured by many international firms since completing this legal qualification shows excellent communication skills and equips you with cultural awareness.

In addition to this, reading another European legal system gives you insight into various challenges involved in international business.

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

Joint Law Degrees With Other Subjects

Many universities offer joint law courses with other subjects.

Some examples of these types of law degrees are:

There are several advantages to studying joint law degrees. You can find out all about them and the universities that offer these types of law courses on our guide.

Jurisprudence Law Degree

Jurisprudence is one of Oxford’s law courses and is centred around academic theory and philosophy associated with legal studies. While it’s less practical than courses at many similar institutions, Jurisprudence is still a qualifying law degree.

Reading law at Oxford is undoubtedly extremely prestigious and has brilliant graduate prospects. Read more on our studying law at Oxbridge guide.

Expert Insight: Studying at Oxford Law School – written by current Oxford law student Samantha.

Scots Law Courses

Scots law is the Scottish equivalent to an English/Welsh LLB. However, if you study Scots Law in Scotland and decide to practice law in England or Wales, you would have to do the GDL afterwards. This is because there are significant differences between the English and Scottish legal systems.

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

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.

They are as follows:

UniversityAccelerated Option?
The University of AberdeenYes
The University of AbertayNo
The University of DundeeYes
The University of EdinburghYes
The University of GlasgowYes
Glasgow Caledonian UniversityYes
Edinburgh Napier UniversityYes
Robert Gordon UniversityYes
The University of StirlingYes
The University of StrathclydeYes

Online Law Degrees

Online law degrees are the chosen option for many mature students studying law or those who don’t want to relocate for university. If you want to study law online, there are plenty of law courses to choose from. See below for some of the universities offering these types of law degrees.

The University of Law
University of Central Lancashire
Arden University
Arden University
University of Greenwich
BPP University
Middlesex University

Written by Tvara Shah

READ NEXT: The LLB – TLP’s Guide to the most popular law degree

If you’re deciding between the different universities across the UK, use our Uni by Uni comparison table to help.

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