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Course Guide: Law

29th April, 2019

Thinking about studying Law at university? Not sure what it entails, or how to get there?

Read our Law course guide to get a better understanding of studying Law at university, and see whether it sounds like it is for you!

Discover what you would be studying, where your degree could take you, and how you can start to prepare.

Legal textbooks belonging to an Oxford University Law student

What will you study?

A Law degree will contain some compulsory modules, as it has to cover certain topics to qualify for further legal training if you want to go on and be a solicitor or barrister afterwards. These will include topics such as:

Criminal Law
Contract Law
Constitutional Law

You will then also have the chance to pick some optional modules from a list of those that interest you the most! This is where you have a chance to shape your degree to your own interests.

For example, you might be able to study subjects such as:

Family Law
Employment Law
Environmental Law

It is important to look at the individual degrees you are thinking of applying for and see which have optional modules that will interest you most.

For example, if are applying for Law at Cambridge, you will have to do a compulsory module on Roman Law in your first year – an interesting and different way of approaching Law through a historical angle!

What can you do with your degree?

A law court in Oxford

A Law degree provides many transferable skills that will help you in a wide range of career paths. Whilst some people study law specifically for the intellectual pursuit, a fascination with the development of a structure of governing rules and institutions, and the skills that a Law degree develops, many do have a legal career in mind. For example, many will go on to train as a:


However, not everybody who studies Law will continue into a legal career. Many go on to work in charities, as journalists, in the civil service, and in other areas such as banking and finance.

This is because a law degree teaches many skills that are helpful across many careers, such as:

  • Analytical thinking  
  • Research skills  
  • Structuring a coherent argument  
  • Condensing a large amount of information succinctly

What subjects should I study at school to apply for Law at university?

For most Law courses, there are no required subjects that you will need to have studied beforehand.

Law is a subject that requires no previous subject knowledge, and universities are well aware of the fact that most students will be covering the topics for the first time!

However, if you want to start thinking about putting together an application to study Law, it might be worth having a look at our ‘Thinking About Law’ blog to see what you can read ahead of time, and things that you might need to consider.

If you want to start thinking critically from a legal perspective, these books might be worth a look at:

How would a summer school help me to prepare?

A summer school student debating at the Oxford Union

Attending a short summer school is a great way of trying out a subject in a university environment to see whether you think studying it would be something you would enjoy for three years or more.

At the Oxbridge International Summer School you can study Law for two weeks while living in central Oxford university accommodation and meeting other like-minded students from across the world.

Our classes are small, with just six students per subject and 1-1 tutorials mean our tutors can get to know you quickly and adapt the level and focus of work to each student, meaning you get the highest quality educational experience.

You would leave with two marked pieces of work, a tutor report and advice on next steps in your legal education.

What would I cover on the summer school?

We aim to give an introduction to the study of Law. You can see an outline of our two week course below:

  • What gives the government the right to punish its citizens?
  •  Should people follow bad laws? 
  • What do we have to prove in order to convict somebody of murder?  

This course focuses on UK law. Students spend the first week looking at the foundations of constitutional law, the philosophy of law, and criminal law. Students will not only learn the law as fact but will develop the skills required to criticise and evaluate the law and how it operates in society.

The second week of the course includes a detailed analysis of the ethical issues surrounding Mental Health Law and assessing the suitability of the law for its purpose.

This will include answering questions such as:

  • Why can we detain those with mental illness when they have not committed a crime?
  • Should everybody have the capacity to make legally binding decisions?

If this appeals to you and you want to delve into the world of law and the legal institutions in the UK, the Law summer school course sounds like it would be a great use of your summer!