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What is law actually like at uni?

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    • Thread Starter


    I'm stuck between wanting to do law and engineering at university. I have a few questions about the law courses.

    • What topics do you study?
    • What is the workload like?
    • How hard is it to get onto a course?


    1) Usually you will study 7 'core' subjects: Contract, Tort, Public (Constitutional and Administrative), EU, Land, Equity and Trusts and Criminal. These are necessary to get Qualifying Law Degree. There's often some sort of research skills module as well in First year. Some law schools have more compulsory modules, for example Oxford insist on Jurisprudence and Roman Law.

    There are also optional modules in areas where the school's researchers have an interest. These will usually include the likes of Family, Commercial, Employment etc. but can also include some more unusual options, for example Warwick has 'Shakespeare and the Law'. These will all be listed in prospectuses and on websites to give you a flavour of what's available so see if anywhere has a range that takes your fancy.

    Finally in 3rd year you can usually do a dissertation on a topic of your choosing.

    2) The workload is hard, but not as brutal as is sometimes made out. Law is often quite exam heavy so it can get stressful around this time of year, whilst most other subjects have more weight on things like essays which you do throughout the year. You'll probably work a bit harder than most of your mates, but there's still plenty of time to enjoy uni life so long as you organise your time well.

    3) Law is heavily oversubscribed and a lot of top unis, probably well in excess of 20, ask for AAA or, fewer, A*AA at A level in order to get on the course. Some also ask for the LNAT test to distinguish between lots of AAA candidates and Cambridge set their own admissions test. The grades are driven up by demand really, rather than only AAA students being able to cope. Certainly I don't think my course is any harder than my friends who do subjects like Chemistry and Physics which have some of the lowest entry requirements at the university. It will probably be harder to get into a 'top' uni for law than engineering but once there I think both will be equally difficult to study.

    Also, you can become a lawyer with an engineering degree, in fact in patent law it's actively desirable.
    • Thread Starter

    Thanks for the help. Do the universities look at work experience in applicants, or would that just be a waste of time?

    (Original post by beccac3)
    Thanks for the help. Do the universities look at work experience in applicants, or would that just be a waste of time?
    Work experience can't hurt of course, but it's not going to be a deal breaker. Law is not like medicine or dentistry where you take the course with the specific intention of going into a profession. Unis treat it as a purely academic dsicipline which happens to lead to some professional exemptions so they're looking for your passion to study law, not to become a lawyer. Reading around the subject will serve you as well as work experience.

    At the same time it's always worth doing some if you have intentions of one day becoming a lawyer as work experience is a factor in getting jobs down the line and it can help you decide whether the profession's for you.
    • Thread Starter

    Would I be able to study law with law, psychology, physics and maths as A-levels? I am planning to drop psychology after summer. I also have experience in local politics such as the UK Youth Parliament. Do you think that this would work in my favour?

    They have no preference for A Levels, other than top unis preferring at least 2 'traditional' ones which yours fulfil. Manchester and LSE are apparently sniffy about Law A Level but they're the only ones. Obviously law is an essay based degree but so long as you think you'll be comfortable with that it's not a worry, some lawyers will even have Physics, Maths and Further. After all you can prove you can write to admission tutors in the PS.

    Check out Jacketpotato's sticky for some good info.

    The Youth p'ment thing will look good certainly, so long as you link it to inspiring you to study law, so make sure you say in your PS that doing it made you want to study law because of XYZ.

    Also, there are a lot of law schools offering similar courses with the same grades (AAA) so make sure you look at the courses and see if there's anything they do a bit differently that catches your eye and also visit as many as you can for Open Days because cutting that 25 or so down to 3 or 4 is quite difficult.

    (Original post by roh)
    Manchester and LSE are apparently sniffy about Law A Level but they're the only ones.
    Law is a preferred A-Level at Manchester.

    (Original post by princesspants)
    Law is a preferred A-Level at Manchester.
    Preferred? I thought no unis favoured particular A Levels for Law like they do with other subjects. And on here Manchester are one of two which responded saying it was on their list of less preferred subjects.

    Have they since gone the opposite way in the extreme and say they prefer law A Level?

    There's no mention of such a policy on their website


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