Different ways to study Law
As you have just learnt, to become a solicitor or barrister you need to have a qualifying Law degree. What options of learning are there?
Most people assume that the only option to study Law is by going to a university away from home and doing a standard three-year Law degree, but there are many different options.
How can I study?
You can study your law degree ‘face-to-face’, which means you will physically attend lectures or seminars. You can do this either at a residential university where you would like away from home, or a local university to which you would commute in every day. You can also study your law degree completely online from the comfort of your own home! You can also learn with a mixture of the two, which is called ‘blended’ learning, so combining some online and some ‘face-to-face’ elements
How long will the course take?
A standard law degree takes three years, but there are other options available. You can do a two year accelerated degree, but you can also do a four year degree which will include a sandwich year (that means a year abroad or a year in a work placement). You can also study part-time, which will increase the length of your degree too.
Can I study another subject as well as Law?
Yes, there are many combined Law degrees available. You can combine law with subjects like criminology, a language,
What if want to study a different subject and then study law?
You can also do this if you want to! You can study a non-Law subject and then do a law conversation course, such as a Graduate Diploma in Law, which will take you an additional year full-time or two-years part time.
What is a qualifying law degree?
A Qualifying Law Degree (known as QLD, or QD) is an undergraduate law degree that is currently recognised in England and Wales by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) and Bar Standards Board (BSB) as the first stage of professional qualification which enable graduates to proceed to the vocational stage of training. If you study a non-qualifying law degree, then you would need to also complete a qualifying law degree to become a solicitor or barrister.
What if I want to work when I study?
You can do Law apprenticeship. It is possible to do an apprenticeship with a law firm and study for your degree at the same time. This option would mean that you would spend 80% of your time working in a Law firm and 20% of your time studying for your degree. You would be paid an apprentice’s salary. A Law apprenticeship typically takes 5-6 years.
What are the entry requirements for Law degrees and apprenticeships?
Entry requirements for Law degrees and apprenticeships vary significantly between providers. The easiest way to find them is to go to the UCAS website, or the websites of the providers you are interested in to see what they are asking for.
For an undergraduate degree or apprenticeship providers will be looking for Level 3 qualifications (e.g A-Levels, BTECs, Access to HE Diplomas etc). Some providers might also ask you to take the LNAT (Law National Aptitude Test). This is a critical thinking test, looking at skills such as verbal reasoning, deductive reasoning and information analysis. If you take this test, only the providers which require it as part of their admissions process will see your results. For the Graduate Diploma in Law providers will be looking for a degree level qualification.
To see what different Law courses are out there and how to apply for them, go the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Services) website for undergraduate Law courses, and the LAWCAB (Central Admission Board) for the Graduate Diploma in Law.
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