Choosing the right university is a significant decision, especially when considering prestigious institutions like the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, referred to collectively as “Oxbridge.” For aspiring legal minds, the opportunity to study Law at either of these institutions is a dream come true. We’re Oxbridge Applications, experts in all things Oxbridge, sharing with you the key aspects of an Oxbridge Law degree, and how to differentiate between both universities. 

This guide was produced by Oxbridge Applications.

What’s Different About Oxbridge Law?

Studying Law at Oxbridge offers an unparalleled experience. What sets it apart from attending other non-Oxbridge universities is the rich academic heritage, world-class faculty, and the rigorous yet intellectually stimulating environment. The tutorial system, a hallmark of Oxbridge education, provides personalised attention, fostering critical thinking, and independent learning. This close interaction with faculty allows students to delve deeply into legal concepts and engage in thought-provoking discussions.

How Do I Apply To Oxbridge Law?

The application process for Oxbridge Law is highly competitive, and features a number of additional steps beyond that for most other UK universities. 

Candidates apply through the UCAS system, and can only apply to either Oxford or Cambridge in any given year. As part of the application, like with any other UK university application through UCAS, candidates are required to submit a personal statement that showcases their passion and aptitude for studying Law. 

Applicants also need to select which college to apply to, since Oxford and Cambridge are both organised into colleges. The college you belong to effectively acts as a mini-campus where you live (certainly for your first year and potentially for your entire degree), eat, study, and sometimes have tutorials or seminars. The college is where many students make a core group of friends, attend clubs or societies, and engage in sports or other activities. Since most colleges offer a wide range, if not all, subjects, the college student body is academically diverse, nurturing an intellectually stimulating environment. 

When it comes to selecting an Oxbridge college, we recommend thinking about the factors that are most important to you as an individual. This might include:

  • Where the college is located in the city
  • How close the college is to your department or faculty building
  • How many students the college accepts
  • Which societies and groups the college supports
  • How old or modern the college grounds are
  • Whether the college accommodation has en-suite rooms or kitchens, and more

Once you’ve narrowed down a shortlist of potential colleges, we recommend visiting the colleges (if you can), either as part of an open day or at any point (most college grounds are open year-round to prospective applicants). Whilst research online is good, getting the feel for a college in person is naturally the best way to see if it’s for you. 

If you can’t decide on a college, or really don’t mind which one you end up in, there is also the option to submit what is called an ‘open application’, meaning you will automatically be assigned a college based on how many applications each college has received in your year of application. 

Applicants to Oxford and Cambridge Law also have to register for and sit an admissions test called the LNAT (National Admissions Test for Law). This test is designed to help the universities rank applicants on an objective scale, helping them narrow down their shortlists ahead of interview. Applicants must register for the LNAT before mid-September, and have sat the test before the UCAS Deadline in October.

For this reason, it’s important that you’re ahead of the game in terms of registering, practising for, and sitting the test to ensure your application is competitive. Our comprehensive Guide to the LNAT keeps you up to date with registration details, the current format of the LNAT, and our tutors’ top tips for preparation. 

How Are Oxford And Cambridge Different?

While both universities offer exceptional Law programs, there are some differences to consider. The key differences are:

  • In addition to the standard three-year course, Oxford also offers a four year course entitled Law with Law Studies in Europe, in which the students spend their third year studying law at a European Partner Institution. In all countries, other than the Netherlands, the students study law in the local language (French, German, Italian, or Spanish). Cambridge does not offer an equivalent option. 
  • At Oxford, students have to sit Honour Moderations (or ‘Mods’ for short) at the end of the second term of their first year. Cambridge students do not have this requirements.
  • Cambridge Law Students have the option of writing a dissertation in their final year in place of one of their final paper options. There is no dissertation option on the Oxford law course.

It is also important to check out both the Oxford and Cambridge law courses in depth via the university websites before applying in so that you can make a well-informed personal decision about where to apply.

What Are Oxbridge Law Entry Requirements?

Oxbridge Law courses, as with all others, have very high entry requirements when it comes to grades. It is also worth noting that, even though predicted grades that match the published minimum entry requirements is technically sufficient, both Oxford and Cambridge will receive plenty of applications from students with attainment exceeding the minimum entry requirement. As such, these grade requirements should be considered an absolute minimum for predicted grades rather than a target. 

Oxford Law Entry Requirements

Oxford entry requirements are AAA for A-Levels, AAB (or AA with an additional Higher at grade A) for Advanced Highers, and 28 with 666 at HL for the IB. No subjects are required for application, but the university specifies that essay subjects could be helpful in completing the course. For applicants to Law with Law Studies in Europe, candidates are expected to have the relevant modern language to A-Level or equivalent. 

Cambridge entry requirements are A*AA at A-Level, or 40-42 points with 776 at HL for IB. No specific subjects are required by any Cambridge College, but English (Language and Literature), History, or a Language are all considered useful preparation for the course. 

How Do I Get Into Oxbridge Law?

To stand out, prospective students must demonstrate genuine passion and aptitude for LAw at every stage of their application. Both universities will consider your performance in the Personal Statement, predicted grades, LNAT scores, and interview when choosing who to give an offer to. However, the way each element is considered in relation to the others can vary from college to college. This means that strategically applying to the college that suits your strengths best is more of an art than a science. The only way to be as sure as possible of your success is to ensure every part of your application is as strong as it possibly can be!

Cambridge tends to interview more applicants than Oxford, which suggests that Oxford has a more intensive shortlisting process before interviews take place. Oxford is also generally considered as taking GCSE grades into higher consideration than Cambridge, which could also be a factor to consider when making your decision. 

What Are Oxbridge Interviews Like?

Both Oxford and Cambridge conduct interviews as part of their selection process. These interviews gauge a candidate’s ability to think critically and handle unfamiliar topics. They are not about having all the answers, but rather showcasing your thought process and how you approach challenges. The specific number of interviews, either for college(s) or department, will differ between applicants; it’s important to remember though that the number of interviews you attend does not reflect your chances of being admitted onto the course. 

Our blog article Tackling the Dreaded Question – “Why Law?” gives you an insight into the kind of performance Oxbridge are looking for in interviews, and how to prepare for them. You can also check out The Lawyer Portal’s experts’ top tips for the Oxford and Cambridge Law interviews for details specific to either university. 

Tips For Applying To Oxbridge Law

  1. Start Early: Begin researching the course and requirements well in advance. This won’t only help you decide which course you want to apply to (meaning you can tailor your application from as early as possible), but will also give you as much time as possible to read around the subject and build up a genuine interest, understanding, and enthusiasm for the particulars of the course as well as law as an academic topic in general.
  2. Enter an essay competition: Admissions tutors at both Oxford and Cambridge are looking for as much hard evidence as possible for your academic interest and attainment, and essay competitions are the perfect way to demonstrate this outside of your normal studies. Departments and Colleges at both university run various essay competitions in multiple subjects, meaning you’re likely to find a competition within your field of interest. Given the law course is so heavily dependent on essay-writing skills, this is the ideal opportunity to get on a college or department’s radar and demonstrate your skills from an early stage.
  3. Stay Informed: Reading around legal topics is always useful regardless of when they pertain to, but it’s also important to stay on top of topical issues relating to your subject. Especially when it comes to a globally and politically relevant subject such as law, there are plenty news stories every day that could pique your interest and give you something hyper-relevant to discuss in your personal statement or interview.
  4. Ace the LNAT: Make sure you begin preparation for the LNAT as early as possible, looking through past papers to familiarise yourself with the structure of the paper and likely question styles. Whilst the grade you attain in the LNAT is unlikely to get you an interview alone, achieving a low score could well harm your chances of advancing in the application process!

About Oxbridge Applications

Part of the Dukes Family, Oxbridge Applications are industry-leaders in helping talented applicants negotiate the complexities of the Oxbridge admissions process. With our expert guidance, bespoke mentorship, and comprehensive resources, we empower aspiring applicants to present their best selves during the application journey. Working alongside our sister organisation A-List, the experts in all things US University applications, we have helped numerous applicants achieve their dream university place. 

You can register with Oxbridge Applications to receive a wealth of resources, including a free e-book So You Want To Go To Oxbridge? Tell me about a banana. You can also call Oxbridge Applications on +44(0)20 7499 2394 or email at [email protected] to request a callback to discuss applying for Oxbridge.


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