Choosing the Right University for Law
So you’ve made the decision to study law at university – congratulations! Now it’s time to think about choosing the right university for your law degree – whether that’s an LLB or a non-qualifying law degree.
There are several things to bear in mind in your quest for finding the right university for your law studies. They include location, courses on offer and size.
Remember, you’ll be at university for three years or more, so you shouldn’t take this decision lightly.
Read on to see our tips for deciding on your law school.
See a Selection of Top LLB Courses
Finding the Right University location
Location is an extremely important factor to think about when choosing a university for your law studies. While you’re deciding, weigh up the pros and cons of studying in a large city vs in a smaller city / town.
Studying in a big city like London is an extremely exciting experience because you’ll have plenty of nightlife and entertainment at your fingertips. This option, however, comes with an added safety risk so it’s important to bear that in mind.
Rural universities will provide students with safer environments for their study, but while living in smaller towns, you may find that the opportunities for culture and entertainment outside campus are limited. If your chosen university is in a smaller town, check out the closest cities you can explore on the weekends.
If you’re not keen on moving out for university, you should consider going to a university close to home. This way, you’ll save money on accommodation and be able to stay close to family and friends. Alternatively, you can choose somewhere that has good transport links so that you can visit home easily if you do end up moving out.
Syllabus and Lecturers
The content of the degree syllabus is a crucial factor in choosing the right university. While studying an LLB means there are several compulsory law subjects you’ll take, you’ll have the option to choose some of your modules as well.
That means it’s crucial to think about which universities offer modules that you would be interested in studying. Think about the areas of law you might want to practise if you qualify as a solicitor or barrister, because selecting these modules will be very beneficial when applying for training contracts and pupilages.
The quality of lecturers and teaching facilities vary for each university too, so you might want to have a look at university league tables and rankings to determine which university is going to give you the best educational experience.
The facilities available at each university are other determining factors for some students. Some universities encourage team sports more than others and have their own sports fields and gyms on campus. Others have more limited facilities located outside of the main university base.
If you are interested in drama, a lot of universities are proud of their theatres and university productions – so you might want to look into the extra-curricular facilities you will have access to.
Are you set on going to a well-respected university? If so, consider studying law at Oxbridge or a Russell Group university. The prestigious Russell Group is made up of the top 24 universities in the UK.
Each university offers competitive law courses and it’s a known fact that many law firms favour graduates from these universities when recruiting for training contracts and vacation schemes.
These are the Russell Group universities that offer law degrees:
|University of Birmingham ||AAA - 36 IB
|Bristol University||A*AA or A*A*B - 34 IB
|Cardiff University||AAB - ABB - 35 IB
|Durham University||A*AA - 38 IB
|University of Edinburgh ||AAA - ABB - 34 IB
|University of Exeter ||AAA - AAB - 34-36 IB
|University of Glasgow||BBB - 28 IB
|King’s College London||A*AA - 35 IB
|University of Leeds||AAA - 35 IB
|University of Liverpool||ABB - 33 IB
|London School of Economics and Political Science ||A*AA - 38 IB
|University of Manchester||AAA - 36 IB
|University of Nottingham||AAA - 36 IB
|Queen Mary University of London||A*AA - 36 IB
|Queen’s University Belfast ||AAA - 36 IB
|University of Sheffield ||AAA - 36 IB
|University of Southampton||AAA - 36 IB
|University College London||A*AA - 39 IB
|University of Warwick ||AAA - 38 IB
|University of York||AAA/A*AB/A*A*C - 36 IB
Campus vs Non-Campus Universities
Layout is an important aspect to consider when choosing the right university for your law degree. Campus universities have their buildings, lecture halls, faculties, libraries and student accommodation all in one area. This can encourage a real student community atmosphere.
Universities that do not have a strict campus layout tend to be more spread out over a town or a city.
For example, many universities in central London are made up of a number of buildings and faculties within walking distance of each other, but the university buildings are dotted between shops, restaurants and other buildings outside of the university.
This may mean there’s less of a student atmosphere, but could also encourage students to become more independent and experience of the city outside the university.
There are pros and cons to each university layout, so we suggest visiting as many as possible on their open days to get a feel for which you might prefer.
Examples of campus universities:
|University of Warwick
|University of Leeds
|University of Newcastle
|University of York
|University of Cambridge
|University of Oxford
Examples of non-campus universities:
|University College London
|London School of Economics
|King’s College London
|City University London
University size and student population
Every law university accepts a different number of students to their undergraduate law degree courses and each law faculty varies in size.
This may be a factor for you to think about when choosing a university – you might prefer a busy course with lots of students, or smaller more intimate tutorials. It’s important to consider which will make you feel the most comfortable.
As mentioned in our Undergraduate LLB Law Degree guide, entry requirements for studying law at university are high and it is not uncommon for universities to ask for AAA at A-Level. Law degrees are very in-demand and academically challenging.
You should check out uni by uni comparison guide to see whether your predicted results are likely to get you a place at your desired university. You may also want to consider having back-up options if you don’t achieve your predicted grades!
What if I Don’t Get Into my Chosen University?
If you don’t get a place at your university of choice, you will either have to go through UCAS clearing or wait until the following year to reapply. Don’t panic though, a year out before studying law can give you time to boost your academic and professional CV, putting you in great standing for reapplying next year.
LNAT Entrance Exam
You should also consider whether the universities you apply for require you to take the Law National Aptitude Test to be eligible for entry. Find out more about the test with our LNAT guide.
Tips for Choosing the Right University
Get Private Help with Your Uni Application
- Go to as many open days as possible to get a feel of the universities you’re thinking of applying to
- If you have any connections with current students at the universities, ask them about what life is like there
- Read case studies like this one written by students about life at specific universities
- Check the university rankings tables to see how each university compares in terms of student satisfaction and other important factors
- Follow the universities on social media to get a glimpse of what it’s like to study there
Not sure about whether university is for you? Consider a law apprenticeship!
LLB Case Studies