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United Kingdom Law: Legal Education

quick start

There are various ways of studying law and it depends on what you wish to do with your qualification a great place to start is  the Higher Education Academy.  It focuses on teaching but it give useful information on there. The majority of law students in England and Wales will be wanting to go on to practice law either as a barrister or solicitor (see legal profession tab) and so will need to follow different routes to get the necessary qualifications.  The main route to get started is to study for a qualifying undergraduate law course which is usually over 3 or 4 years.  Following on from this to be a barrister you then need to complete a Bar Professional Training Course and can then go on to apply for pupilage (where you are effectively a trainee barrister).  To become a solicitor then on top of the undergraduate course you will then need to go on and complete the Legal Practice Course before applying to law firms to get a 'training contract'.

If your first degree is not law there is the CPE (Common Practioners Exam) or  GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) which are classed as 'conversion' courses.  You are then in the same position as someone with a qualifying law degree.  For more information see the section on Academic Awards on the Academic Stages page on the SRA website.

There are also various Postgraduate and research qualifications  within law for those that are interested in the academic field.  Different institutions offer different subjects and qualifications in this area.  See the box below to find out what Oxford offers.

Studying Law at Oxford


The University of Oxford offer both undergraduate (qualifying) and postgraduate course in law.  The Faculty of Law is responsible for the running of the courses.  The Faculty website has a lot of information for those considering studying law at Oxford including information on the application process for Oxford. 

Faculty of Law's brochure on undergraduate study.

Faculty of Law's brochure on postgraduate study.


Undergraduate programmes

  • 3 year BA in Law
  • 4 year BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe
  • Diploma in Legal Studies - a one year course aimed at students visiting from partner universities

Taught postgradaute programmes

  • Bachelor of Civil Law - one year course for students with an outstanding degree from a Commonwealth country or a Magister Juris for those in a non Commonwealth jurisdiction.
  • Master in Law and Finance - run jointly with the Said Business School
  • Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Master of Philosophy in Criminology
  • Diploma in Intellectual Property Law and Practice
  • Master of Studies in International Human Rights Law

Research postgraduate programmes

  • Master of Studies in Legal Research
  • Master of Philosophy in Law
  • Master of Letters
  • Doctor of Philosophy