The Student Room Group

Does Law at Oxford University require any different A-Levels than the ones I took?

I'm intending on taking Law at Oxford and am super passionate for the possibility of being accepted on it. However, one issue stands out which stands in the way; I am currently not planning on taking Law as an A-Level. I am instead opting to go for Biology, Further Maths, Maths and Computer Science, all of which interest me as much as Law does.

I do recall reading on the Oxford courses website that they value a subject (presumably at A-Level) that is "a relevant modern language". By this, do they mean for me to take a language such as English? I do seem to remember it being vital for choosing Law. The only issue with that is, I generally have no interest in English alone. Furthermore, my GCSE grades for English likely won't be too good as whilst I can read and write it perfectly fine with great grammar and all that, it wasn't my strong suit at school compared to more "logic" based subjects.

So, to put it in shorter terms, would I need to take English or any modern language at college for me to have an opportunity at taking Law at Oxford?
Or is it a non-essential? Or is there some other A-Level that is required to take Law?
The modern language is only required for law with law studies in Europe (e.g. for Law with French Law, you would have to do a-level French).

It says that it would be helpful to take any subject with essay writing (doesn't have to be english), but it doesn't say that it is required.
(edited 1 year ago)
What OP said. But bear in mind that the Oxford law course is *very* essay-based (you would be writing 1-2 essays a week and that's the bulk of the work) so some experience of this may be useful.
Original post by ttttthghhgh
I'm intending on taking Law at Oxford and am super passionate for the possibility of being accepted on it. However, one issue stands out which stands in the way; I am currently not planning on taking Law as an A-Level. I am instead opting to go for Biology, Further Maths, Maths and Computer Science, all of which interest me as much as Law does.

I do recall reading on the Oxford courses website that they value a subject (presumably at A-Level) that is "a relevant modern language". By this, do they mean for me to take a language such as English? I do seem to remember it being vital for choosing Law. The only issue with that is, I generally have no interest in English alone. Furthermore, my GCSE grades for English likely won't be too good as whilst I can read and write it perfectly fine with great grammar and all that, it wasn't my strong suit at school compared to more "logic" based subjects.

So, to put it in shorter terms, would I need to take English or any modern language at college for me to have an opportunity at taking Law at Oxford?
Or is it a non-essential? Or is there some other A-Level that is required to take Law?


Absolutely no law course in the country requires A-Level Law - in fact, it's viewed as a negative in many scenarios as there are things that need to be "untaught" or are entirely irrelevant altogether. AFAIK, the A-Level is greatly focused around case-law and fails to touch upon the more intellectually stimulating areas of the subject (essentially, it's laughable that you'd ever need it, so much that it could even be a negative to an application).

What worries me more is your proposed A-Level choices. Law at Oxbridge is different to any other course in the country, in the fact that it covers Roman law, philosophy and other disciplines that aren't found in a conventional law degree. This requires heavy analytical skills and argumentation, none of which could be reasonably shown to have been developed with Biology, FM/Maths and CS. Furthermore, your subjects indicate an interest in a completely different academic field which would raise questions. I suggest you seriously consider an A-Level such as History, Politics, Classics, or even English Literature as it is likely you'd be rejected without a humanities essay-based subject.

Law is not a logical subject - it inherently lacks logic, which makes it so interesting. The fact that you have "logic subject" skills, as you put it, does not act as a good indicator for whether you'd be suitable for the course. You need to properly research what you're getting into and tailor your A-Level choices around it, as from what I've just read, none of that is clear!

P.S. A modern language is only required/recommended for studies in Europe/foreign law.
"It would be helpful to" is code for "we'll consider your application if you don't, but you will have to be absolutely flipping brilliant to compensate for it" (with a side helping of "and you'll need a really good excuse" - such as being a significantly older student who's started a completely different degree, had a moment of realisation about what they want to do with their life, and was always really good at writing essays anyway)

If you want to study law at Oxford, scrap your current A level choices and change to something which fulfils all of the requirements, the recommendations, the "it would be helpful to"s and so on. Don't rely on being the one in a million who's so outstanding that it doesn't matter that you didn't take the helpful subjects. You probably aren't.
Original post by BarnabyK
Absolutely no law course in the country requires A-Level Law - in fact, it's viewed as a negative in many scenarios as there are things that need to be "untaught" or are entirely irrelevant altogether. AFAIK, the A-Level is greatly focused around case-law and fails to touch upon the more intellectually stimulating areas of the subject (essentially, it's laughable that you'd ever need it, so much that it could even be a negative to an application).

What worries me more is your proposed A-Level choices. Law at Oxbridge is different to any other course in the country, in the fact that it covers Roman law, philosophy and other disciplines that aren't found in a conventional law degree. This requires heavy analytical skills and argumentation, none of which could be reasonably shown to have been developed with Biology, FM/Maths and CS. Furthermore, your subjects indicate an interest in a completely different academic field which would raise questions. I suggest you seriously consider an A-Level such as History, Politics, Classics, or even English Literature as it is likely you'd be rejected without a humanities essay-based subject.

Law is not a logical subject - it inherently lacks logic, which makes it so interesting. The fact that you have "logic subject" skills, as you put it, does not act as a good indicator for whether you'd be suitable for the course. You need to properly research what you're getting into and tailor your A-Level choices around it, as from what I've just read, none of that is clear!

P.S. A modern language is only required/recommended for studies in Europe/foreign law.

I graduated from Oxford Law (BA and BCL) and am now a practising lawyer. I strongly disagree with the notion that law isn't logical (if anything, I find it to be very logical and analytical). Problem questions for example are a very classic application of logic (e.g. analyse fact pattern with respect to each actus reus and mens rea element of burglary), and were (are? not sure if the requirements have changed since I graduated) actually mandatory for certain papers. Even essays questions have to be dealt with in a logical and cogent manner - haphazard jumping from one point to the next is a sure fire way to do badly.

Original post by skylark2
"It would be helpful to" is code for "we'll consider your application if you don't, but you will have to be absolutely flipping brilliant to compensate for it" (with a side helping of "and you'll need a really good excuse" - such as being a significantly older student who's started a completely different degree, had a moment of realisation about what they want to do with their life, and was always really good at writing essays anyway)

If you want to study law at Oxford, scrap your current A level choices and change to something which fulfils all of the requirements, the recommendations, the "it would be helpful to"s and so on. Don't rely on being the one in a million who's so outstanding that it doesn't matter that you didn't take the helpful subjects. You probably aren't.


While I would personally recommend doing an essay subject at A levels (because I think it teaches helpful skills and would make for an easier transition given that Oxford Law is essentially essay writing for 3-4 years), it is simply untrue to say that students who take Science subjects need to be exceptional to be admitted. They are evaluated on the same basis as every other candidate. Don't forget that the LNAT has an essay component so in any event the tutors do have an idea of how strong each applicant is in essay writing. Some of my course mates did only Science subjects at A levels, and they did just fine.

If Oxford wanted to make an essay subject mandatory for Law, they would simply list it as an essential subject. As it stands, it's only "helpful", not even "recommended". It is also worth noting that unlike other subjects, Law does not require written work to be submitted for admissions purposes.

Quick Reply

Latest