The Student Room Group

York or Durham for law?

Am struggling to decide between uni of York and Durham to do my law degree at. York seems like a great uni, have only heard good things about it and their PBL approach to teaching law is a unique way to learn although it is not nearly as high ranking. On the other hand, it is hard to deny the prestige/brand of a Durham law degree (especially considering how competitive the legal market is) but it’s negative reputation regarding elitism/classism as well as the size of the city are a little off putting. I am also very into sports so am drawn to Durham for that aspect.

I’m genuinely torn between the two, I’ve visited both and liked them so I’m having a hard time trying to pick. Any advice or comments would be appreciated, especially if you go to either university. Thanks! :smile:
(edited 10 months ago)
I have some friends in law across England and from what I've heard the better the uni the better job chances you have. York is a very good uni but Durham is simply a level above it. Sure there's "elitism" but you'll find that at the best universities anyways and I doubt it has any form of impact on job hunting when you graduate. The sports aspect is the cherry on the icing for Durham so I'd definitely recommend you go to Durham even if it's a small city. Good luck!
Firm Durham
Original post by cai.
Am struggling to decide between uni of York and Durham to do my law degree at. York seems like a great uni, have only heard good things about it and their PBL approach to teaching law is a unique way to learn although it is not nearly as high ranking. On the other hand, it is hard to deny the prestige/brand of a Durham law degree (especially considering how competitive the legal market is) but it’s negative reputation regarding elitism/classism as well as the size of the city are a little off putting. I am also very into sports so am drawn to Durham for that aspect.

I’m genuinely torn between the two, I’ve visited both and liked them so I’m having a hard time trying to pick. Any advice or comments would be appreciated, especially if you go to either university. Thanks! :smile:


Hi there,

We asked one of our current students to share their experience...


"Hi! I’m Ella, and I'm currently a first year law student at the University of York. I know it is difficult to choose which university to go to, but I want to start out with whatever choice you make, you will succeed anywhere. Whilst it seems like a world-changing choice, wherever you end up, you will be fine.

Firstly, with PBL I can’t recommend it enough. It teaches you how to address problems in the same way you will need to in practice. After going to insight days in law firms and going through problem scenarios, having the PBL structure helped me massively in comparison to students from other universities. The PBL structure does take a couple of weeks to adjust to but after learning this method, I could not imagine studying for a law degree in any other way!

In terms of ranking, UoY is still a very good university. UoY is a Russell Group, like Durham, and according to Times Higher Education, UoY ranked 21st overall in the UK and Durham ranked 26th. If you are also worried about finding experience due to the university you’re at, please do not! I got an insight day at a magic circle law firm and was there with students from across many different universities (Oxford, Leeds, Nottingham, Durham etc). It has been my experience that law firms care more about your grades, intelligence, and extracurriculars, than they do about the institution you were taught at.

This is not to downplay your stress right now! I was in a similar position to you with deciding between LSE and UoY, and it took me ages to decide which one to firm and which one to insurance. Looking back, I could not imagine being anywhere else but York and I have never been happier with my decision to choose UoY over LSE.

If you can visit the uni, I would really encourage you to do that because university is not just about your course. You will be there for 3+ years and you want to make sure you like the place you will be living for the majority of this time. Look at what else the universities have to offer you (social life, colleges, sports, societies, what the city is like etc). Both universities are collegiate, so look into which college you would like to join and see if that can help you decide.

Overall, I would recommend sitting down and writing out what it is you want to get from your university experience, because it is so much more than ‘just getting the degree’, along with a pro and con list for each university. This should be able to help you see which university aligns with what you want the most.

Just remember, whatever decision you make will be the right one and as cliché as it sounds, university is what you make of it and you will succeed wherever you go!

I hope this helps - Ella"
Original post by cai.
Am struggling to decide between uni of York and Durham to do my law degree at. York seems like a great uni, have only heard good things about it and their PBL approach to teaching law is a unique way to learn although it is not nearly as high ranking. On the other hand, it is hard to deny the prestige/brand of a Durham law degree (especially considering how competitive the legal market is) but it’s negative reputation regarding elitism/classism as well as the size of the city are a little off putting. I am also very into sports so am drawn to Durham for that aspect.

I’m genuinely torn between the two, I’ve visited both and liked them so I’m having a hard time trying to pick. Any advice or comments would be appreciated, especially if you go to either university. Thanks! :smile:


OMG... I have the exact same problem - torn between the two. I am defenatly more keen of going to York in terms of student life, but I am scared I may sacrifice Durham which ranks better for employability. After intence research though, I think I have a higher chance of being a top student with 2:1 grades at York than Durham in which I will probably struggle more to get good grades due to its internall competiveness. Therefore, the employability factor may actually be less straightforward than just by looking at rankings of unis. Right now, more leaning towards York but still unsure.
lmk me know your decision...
Reply 5
Original post by Simon_Legoupil
OMG... I have the exact same problem - torn between the two. I am defenatly more keen of going to York in terms of student life, but I am scared I may sacrifice Durham which ranks better for employability. After intence research though, I think I have a higher chance of being a top student with 2:1 grades at York than Durham in which I will probably struggle more to get good grades due to its internall competiveness. Therefore, the employability factor may actually be less straightforward than just by looking at rankings of unis. Right now, more leaning towards York but still unsure.
lmk me know your decision...

Yeah I know exactly what you mean. I think I’ve decided not to go to Durham now for a variety of reasons but now I’m torn between York and Leeds 😭. Would recommend reading the reply to this thread from the uni of york account - I found it very helpful. Best of luck bro
Original post by cai.
Yeah I know exactly what you mean. I think I’ve decided not to go to Durham now for a variety of reasons but now I’m torn between York and Leeds 😭. Would recommend reading the reply to this thread from the uni of york account - I found it very helpful. Best of luck bro

Hey, what where the exact reason u opt out Durham? For me the village is too small and I am scared I’ll be bored, the atmosphere seems posh and unwelcoming, and I will probably have to do a lot more work and struggle throughout the year.
Reply 7
Original post by Simon_Legoupil
Hey, what where the exact reason u opt out Durham? For me the village is too small and I am scared I’ll be bored, the atmosphere seems posh and unwelcoming, and I will probably have to do a lot more work and struggle throughout the year.


Yeah similar reasons for me. I like the city and the sports but I just can’t look past the elitist and posh reputation. Have heard too many bad things
Reply 8
Original post by cai.
Am struggling to decide between uni of York and Durham to do my law degree at. York seems like a great uni, have only heard good things about it and their PBL approach to teaching law is a unique way to learn although it is not nearly as high ranking. On the other hand, it is hard to deny the prestige/brand of a Durham law degree (especially considering how competitive the legal market is) but it’s negative reputation regarding elitism/classism as well as the size of the city are a little off putting. I am also very into sports so am drawn to Durham for that aspect.

I’m genuinely torn between the two, I’ve visited both and liked them so I’m having a hard time trying to pick. Any advice or comments would be appreciated, especially if you go to either university. Thanks! :smile:


Hey!

Ok brand name isn’t everything but I would highly recommend you firm Durham. It’s much better than York and is really only behind Oxbridge for law. MC recruit heavily from Durham. It really is one of the best in the country and around the world. York is good! Your life isn’t over or anything but Durham would make it easier. But of course it’s about where you are happy. 2:2 from Durham is obviously not as good as a first from York.

Durham does have a “rah” problem but keep in mind this is still around 35% of students. 65% are from state school, they are the majority! And within those 35%, over half are usually down to earth and thoroughly lovely people. Durham has also tried combating its reputation recently and its new chancellor is a Durham native and has spoken about class discrimination extensively.

If you do go, there are things you can do to avoid that group. They usually occupy spots on the rugby team so maybe avoid that! You can always join 93 club or whatever it’s called. Maybe choose one of the newer colleges or avoid colleges like Hatfield or Bailey colleges where there is a higher % of “rah” type. But they are going to be there in every walk of life if you want to be successful. Don’t let them put you off! If you go, you don’t have to be friends or associate. You can avoid them and make your own friends! Remember the majority are state school students.

Good luck!
Reply 9
Original post by Simon_Legoupil
OMG... I have the exact same problem - torn between the two. I am defenatly more keen of going to York in terms of student life, but I am scared I may sacrifice Durham which ranks better for employability. After intence research though, I think I have a higher chance of being a top student with 2:1 grades at York than Durham in which I will probably struggle more to get good grades due to its internall competiveness. Therefore, the employability factor may actually be less straightforward than just by looking at rankings of unis. Right now, more leaning towards York but still unsure.
lmk me know your decision...


Durham usually have a higher % of firsts than most UK unis except Oxbridge and UCL and around 90% get 2:1s. As long as you work and are passionate about law, you’ll be fine! Just because there are stronger students that doesn’t mean there are less firsts necessarily or you are more likely to get a worse classification, it depends on your own marks. It’s not like the US system where only a certain % can get honours or whatever.

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