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Bristol Law MA vs Birmingham 2 year LLB ?

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    Hello,
    I'm an international student, want to become a solicitor.
    I recently got into Bristol law MA and Birmingham 2 year LLB.
    I'd like to ask your opinoin to make my decision.

    Bristol MA is a qualifying law degree so that degree fits my porpose for becoming a solicitor. However, what I'm most worried about is that the final degree is 'MA', not LLB.

    People know that LLB is a qualifying degree, but not that some MA law programs are qualifying degrees.
    So, I'm worried that I might have to explain about my degree or have some disadvantages when I apply for the law firms.

    If then, is it better for me to choose Birmingham 2 year LLB??

    It's really hard to get information about law industry since I'm not living in the UK. So, I really need you opion.
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    Some firms will ask whether your degree is qualifying as a tick box. Otherwise they will have an 'any other info box' for your education and just put in there that it's a qualifying degree.

    Bristol's hardly a uni firms don't see a lot of so I'd imagine they're pretty well abreast of their law courses.
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    (Original post by roh)
    Some firms will ask whether your degree is qualifying as a tick box. Otherwise they will have an 'any other info box' for your education and just put in there that it's a qualifying degree.

    Bristol's hardly a uni firms don't see a lot of so I'd imagine they're pretty well abreast of their law courses.
    Thank you for your detailed information. So I will have no problem showing my degree is qualifying and I guess many firms are aleady aware of that course.

    Then, would you recommend me Bristol or Birmingham in my case??
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    (Original post by sothisbora)
    Thank you for your detailed information. So I will have no problem showing my degree is qualifying and I guess many firms are aleady aware of that course.

    Then, would you recommend me Bristol or Birmingham in my case??
    I would imagine they will be. Also, even if it's a slightly odd application form, as you would be applying in the penultimate year of your degree and it's got 'law' in the title, they'd probably figure out it's qualifying.

    It's up to you really. Both have good reputations for law, Bristol probably traditionally better but there seems to have been rumblings on here about it not being as good as it should be for teaching etc. Post asking about it specifically and you should get some responses from current students or recent graduates either confirming or dispelling this. Birmingham offers the GDL as well as the 2 yr LLB and LLMs so may have more of a post grad law community.

    Otherwise they're quite similar, red brick unis in big regional cities. Birmingham's a slightly bigger university and considerably bigger city if that would appeal to you.

    Birmingham's a campus just outside the city centre, whereas I think Bristol's more integrated into the centre itself, but check this.

    Both are in leafy parts of town (Clifton and Edgbaston). I don't know what the private housing situation is in Bristol, but in Birmingham you'd have the choice of either: Selly Oak, which is a classic student area of rows of terraces houses, dominated by students, lots of curry houses, pubs, cheap offies etc. and where most undergrads live or Harborne which is leafier, has a lot of young professionals, classier (but more expensive) pubs and students who are primarily older (4th and 5th year medics, post grads, PGCE students etc.).

    You can find out about uni owned accommodation on their websites.

    Post in both forums and I'm sure you'll get responses about the unis as a whole.
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    (Original post by roh)
    I would imagine they will be. Also, even if it's a slightly odd application form, as you would be applying in the penultimate year of your degree and it's got 'law' in the title, they'd probably figure out it's qualifying.

    It's up to you really. Both have good reputations for law, Bristol probably traditionally better but there seems to have been rumblings on here about it not being as good as it should be for teaching etc. Post asking about it specifically and you should get some responses from current students or recent graduates either confirming or dispelling this. Birmingham offers the GDL as well as the 2 yr LLB and LLMs so may have more of a post grad law community.

    Otherwise they're quite similar, red brick unis in big regional cities. Birmingham's a slightly bigger university and considerably bigger city if that would appeal to you.

    Birmingham's a campus just outside the city centre, whereas I think Bristol's more integrated into the centre itself, but check this.

    Both are in leafy parts of town (Clifton and Edgbaston). I don't know what the private housing situation is in Bristol, but in Birmingham you'd have the choice of either: Selly Oak, which is a classic student area of rows of terraces houses, dominated by students, lots of curry houses, pubs, cheap offies etc. and where most undergrads live or Harborne which is leafier, has a lot of young professionals, classier (but more expensive) pubs and students who are primarily older (4th and 5th year medics, post grads, PGCE students etc.).

    You can find out about uni owned accommodation on their websites.

    Post in both forums and I'm sure you'll get responses about the unis as a whole.

    Thank your for your opinion and I really really appreciate your help.
    I heard that Birmingham is a quite industrialized city. But I guess if I go there, I would live in a place which has a quite good neighborhood.
    Also, it appeals to me that Birmingham offers various law courses so it might have a bigger post grad law community.

    As you told me, I will post in other forums right away so that I can get more responses.
    Thank you
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    (Original post by sothisbora)
    Thank your for your opinion and I really really appreciate your help.
    I heard that Birmingham is a quite industrialized city. But I guess if I go there, I would live in a place which has a quite good neighborhood.
    Also, it appeals to me that Birmingham offers various law courses so it might have a bigger post grad law community.

    As you told me, I will post in other forums right away so that I can get more responses.
    Thank you
    Yeah, Birmingham was, and is, a heavily industrial city but the area around the uni is too central to have loads of factories. The dominating feature is a massive nearby hospital, not the Land Rover plant!

    In terms of posting in other forums, in the respective Bristol and Birmingham forums probably mainly ask general questions about the city, campus life, accommodation etc. as any current student (of which there will be plenty) can answer them and anyone on the course (of which there aren't that many) is likely to look at the law forums too.

    Good luck
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    (Original post by roh)
    I would imagine they will be. Also, even if it's a slightly odd application form, as you would be applying in the penultimate year of your degree and it's got 'law' in the title, they'd probably figure out it's qualifying.

    It's up to you really. Both have good reputations for law, Bristol probably traditionally better but there seems to have been rumblings on here about it not being as good as it should be for teaching etc. Post asking about it specifically and you should get some responses from current students or recent graduates either confirming or dispelling this. Birmingham offers the GDL as well as the 2 yr LLB and LLMs so may have more of a post grad law community.

    Otherwise they're quite similar, red brick unis in big regional cities. Birmingham's a slightly bigger university and considerably bigger city if that would appeal to you.

    Birmingham's a campus just outside the city centre, whereas I think Bristol's more integrated into the centre itself, but check this.

    Both are in leafy parts of town (Clifton and Edgbaston). I don't know what the private housing situation is in Bristol, but in Birmingham you'd have the choice of either: Selly Oak, which is a classic student area of rows of terraces houses, dominated by students, lots of curry houses, pubs, cheap offies etc. and where most undergrads live or Harborne which is leafier, has a lot of young professionals, classier (but more expensive) pubs and students who are primarily older (4th and 5th year medics, post grads, PGCE students etc.).

    You can find out about uni owned accommodation on their websites.

    Post in both forums and I'm sure you'll get responses about the unis as a whole.
    With respect, I think there are a couple of inaccuracies here. You cannot assume that firms know about the MA: I spoke to an HR representative from Slaughter & May about the MA at Bristol's last law fair and she had been unaware of it until that point. However, this is not a problem as far as Vac Scheme/TC applications are concerned. There is invariably a box in which to give further information about your degree, and it is as simple a matter as putting 'senior status postgraduate QLD' in that box.

    The second point concerns the quality of teaching. Unlike the undergraduates, students on the MA are taught in seminars by professors, rather than PhD students. The complaints levelled at the law school about decline in teaching standards on the LLB do not really apply. In fact, this is a major advantage to reading for the MA, rather than a senior status LLB. You get treated as a postgrad student.

    Speaking of the distinction between postgrad and undergrad, what are the fees like at Birmingham, OP? I would assume that they are now £9k, in which case the MA would be cheaper. I realise that you're not a home student so the figures will be higher for you, but I would expect that they are still in proportion to one another.
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    (Original post by TurboCretin)
    With respect, I think there are a couple of inaccuracies here. You cannot assume that firms know about the MA: I spoke to an HR representative from Slaughter & May about the MA at Bristol's last law fair and she had been unaware of it until that point. However, this is not a problem as far as Vac Scheme/TC applications are concerned. There is invariably a box in which to give further information about your degree, and it is as simple a matter as putting 'senior status postgraduate QLD' in that box.

    The second point concerns the quality of teaching. Unlike the undergraduates, students on the MA are taught in seminars by professors, rather than PhD students. The complaints levelled at the law school about decline in teaching standards on the LLB do not really apply. In fact, this is a major advantage to reading for the MA, rather than a senior status LLB. You get treated as a postgrad student.

    Speaking of the distinction between postgrad and undergrad, what are the fees like at Birmingham, OP? I would assume that they are now £9k, in which case the MA would be cheaper. I realise that you're not a home student so the figures will be higher for you, but I would expect that they are still in proportion to one another.
    To be fair I did say most firms have a tick box regarding the QLD further up, and some still don't. I know Bevan Brittan didn't on their system for this year at least and some of the firms like Weightmans where the form is a word document sometimes don't include it.

    Fair enough if Slaughters weren't in the know, though I'm surprised, is it a really small course?

    And I did say to post asking a current student to either confirm or deny the teaching thing, but just that there have been concerns raised as you acknowledge. Thank you for being the current student to do that and it sounds like OP gets a good deal in that case.
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    (Original post by TurboCretin)

    Speaking of the distinction between postgrad and undergrad, what are the fees like at Birmingham, OP? I would assume that they are now £9k, in which case the MA would be cheaper. I realise that you're not a home student so the figures will be higher for you, but I would expect that they are still in proportion to one another.
    For home students is there an issue with ELQ fees? Normally if you do two courses at the same level you have to pay the higher ELQ fee for the second course. Presumably the Bristol MA avoids this problem.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    For home students is there an issue with ELQ fees? Normally if you do two courses at the same level you have to pay the higher ELQ fee for the second course. Presumably the Bristol MA avoids this problem.
    I'm unfamiliar with the acronym, but I presume that you're talking about reduced (or absent?) government subsidy for second undergraduate degrees. I don't know what the situation is now - I was applying for senior status LLBs in the final cycle of the old fee system - but if it still holds now then I suppose my point is valid a fortiori. Ironically, the MA is now cheaper per annum than first undergraduate degrees in any event. I do not think that the ELQ issue applies to the MA, but I can't say that I've spoken to anyone who already holds a masters-level qualification.
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    (Original post by TurboCretin)
    I'm unfamiliar with the acronym, but I presume that you're talking about reduced (or absent?) government subsidy for second undergraduate degrees. I don't know what the situation is now - I was applying for senior status LLBs in the final cycle of the old fee system - but if it still holds now then I suppose my point is valid a fortiori. Ironically, the MA is now cheaper per annum than first undergraduate degrees in any event. I do not think that the ELQ issue applies to the MA, but I can't say that I've spoken to anyone who already holds a masters-level qualification.
    You have the correct issue. ELQ =Equivalent or Lower Qualification
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    (Original post by roh)
    To be fair I did say most firms have a tick box regarding the QLD further up, and some still don't. I know Bevan Brittan didn't on their system for this year at least and some of the firms like Weightmans where the form is a word document sometimes don't include it.

    Fair enough if Slaughters weren't in the know, though I'm surprised, is it a really small course?

    And I did say to post asking a current student to either confirm or deny the teaching thing, but just that there have been concerns raised as you acknowledge. Thank you for being the current student to do that and it sounds like OP gets a good deal in that case.
    I was aware you dealt with the tick-box point; I was agreeing with you there. I should have been more explicit, so sorry about that.

    The MA has an annual intake of about 35-40. Size is relative, so I don't know whether you think of that as tiny. It is miniscule compared to the LLB, which I think is almost three times that.

    I wasn't going to advise the OP myself on where to go, as there is a lot to suggest that I'm biased. But I think you're right. The MA will be cheaper, with probably better instruction at a slightly more prestigious law school.
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    Thank you all for your opnion.

    As for the fees, £11,730 for Birmingham and £13,500 for Bristol. Fees are very expensive for international students, but only £200 difference between the two schools.

    So, I think what's most important is the reputation in the law market rather than the fees since we should take a long-term view. I wanted to hear more about it and I was able get some information about it from you.
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    (Original post by sothisbora)
    Thank you all for your opnion.

    As for the fees, £11,730 for Birmingham and £13,500 for Bristol. Fees are very expensive for international students, but only £200 difference between the two schools.

    So, I think what's most important is the reputation in the law market rather than the fees since we should take a long-term view. I wanted to hear more about it and I was able get some information about it from you.
    I'm mildly surprised about the fees, but the international aspect was bound to throw up some different figures.

    Bristol's reputation in the legal sector is better. It's not worlds apart, but it has a strong history on its side and good links with top firms. Firms will not be so unreasonable as to disregard you out of hand because you have an MA rather than an LLB, and if you resolve any enquiry quickly for them by including a small note about he degree in applications then they will treat you as though you have a senior status LLB.
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    (Original post by TurboCretin)
    I was aware you dealt with the tick-box point; I was agreeing with you there. I should have been more explicit, so sorry about that.

    The MA has an annual intake of about 35-40. Size is relative, so I don't know whether you think of that as tiny. It is miniscule compared to the LLB, which I think is almost three times that.

    I wasn't going to advise the OP myself on where to go, as there is a lot to suggest that I'm biased. But I think you're right. The MA will be cheaper, with probably better instruction at a slightly more prestigious law school.
    Ah OK, sorry for the confusion.

    Yeah, I didn't realise it was that small (at my uni it's 100ish for 2 yr LLB).

    I would agree Bristol sounds like a slightly better deal. Unless OP particularly wants a campus, a big city feel or to work in Birmingham post graduation.

    This is quite an interesting table which is about as close as it gets to seeing how many a (sadly it is just one example) City firm takes from each uni rather than the usual 'We have trainees from Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, East Anglia, KCL etc.' which doesn't mention that there's one from UEA and 28 from Oxford.

    http://graduates.hoganlovells.com/ap...campus_alumni/
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    (Original post by roh)
    Ah OK, sorry for the confusion.

    Yeah, I didn't realise it was that small (at my uni it's 100ish for 2 yr LLB).

    I would agree Bristol sounds like a slightly better deal. Unless OP particularly wants a campus, a big city feel or to work in Birmingham post graduation.

    This is quite an interesting table which is about as close as it gets to seeing how many a (sadly it is just one example) City firm takes from each uni rather than the usual 'We have trainees from Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, East Anglia, KCL etc.' which doesn't mention that there's one from UEA and 28 from Oxford.

    http://graduates.hoganlovells.com/ap...campus_alumni/
    Haha yes, the brochure blurb always tells a slightly rose-tinted version of the truth. I'm always surprised that the London universities seem less well-represented at some City firms than graduates of Bristol or Nottingham.
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    (Original post by TurboCretin)
    Haha yes, the brochure blurb always tells a slightly rose-tinted version of the truth. I'm always surprised that the London universities seem less well-represented at some City firms than graduates of Bristol or Nottingham.
    Yeah, alongside the photos of a wide range of ethnically diverse trainees, of both genders, smiling and looking fresh!

    Not sure. Only possible reasons might be that London attracts a lot of international students who return home whilst many British students want the more classic uni experience (lively halls, nights out, small city in which students are a major factor, defined area of 'student' housing etc.) that Bristol and Nottingham offer? Maybe at LSE some get poached by investment banks as well? Doesn't make much sense I agree.
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    Wow, I saw the brouchure and I was surprised at the number of graduates showed in the website. 3 from Birmingham, but 15 from Bristol. Even though it's just an example, I think it implies many things.

    Both schools are really good and it makes it really hard to decide. but you both agree that Bristol is a slightly better option if I can explain my degree well. I see.

    Thank you for your opinions and information
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    (Original post by sothisbora)
    Wow, I saw the brouchure and I was surprised at the number of graduates showed in the website. 3 from Birmingham, but 15 from Bristol. Even though it's just an example, I think it implies many things.

    Both schools are really good and it makes it really hard to decide. but you both agree that Bristol is a slightly better option if I can explain my degree well. I see.

    Thank you for your opinions and information
    Take the brochure with a slight punch of salt, I don't think even Bristol would argue your job chances are 5x higher with them than Birmingham! But, it shows Bristol seems better for job prospects and if it's all prof teaching it sounds good.

    You'll be fine at either though with good grades and don't discount stuff like location, size of city, campus vs. city based etc.

    Good luck.
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    (Original post by sothisbora)
    Wow, I saw the brouchure and I was surprised at the number of graduates showed in the website. 3 from Birmingham, but 15 from Bristol. Even though it's just an example, I think it implies many things.

    Both schools are really good and it makes it really hard to decide. but you both agree that Bristol is a slightly better option if I can explain my degree well. I see.

    Thank you for your opinions and information

    Hi, I just joined this forum as I found myself in the exact same situation as you! (I am very excited to learn that there are others like me) Anyways, it's quite a hard decision.

    The threads to this discussion are also very useful, considering factors like environment is a good start. However, I am more concern of the reputation, program objectives/ skills, and what I will be able to gain from the "winning school" in which I won't be getting from the eliminated university in the same amount of time.

    Let me know what you came to decide. Are you starting in 2012 October?

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