Best universities for law degrees 2019

Find the best universities for law degrees using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data

十月 17 2018

A law degree is the first step on a number of work paths – including a career as a solicitor, barrister or judge. Many universities around the world provide law degrees, so it can be difficult to know which is the best one for you. 

Times Higher Education has ranked the top universities for law degrees. Stanford University in the US takes first place, followed by Duke University. Nearly a third of the universities in the law ranking are located in the US.

The highest-ranked university from the UK is the University of Cambridge in third place, followed by the University of Oxford in fifth. There are 34 UK universities in the ranking in total.

The University of Melbourne is the only Australian university to enter the top 10, taking 10th position. Seventeen more Australian universities feature in the rest of the ranking. 

Best universities worldwide

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Times Higher Education’s subject rankings are based on the same 13 performance indicators used in the overall World University Rankings 2019. However, the methodology is carefully recalibrated for each subject, with the weightings changed to suit the individual fields. The full methodology for law can be found here.

Scroll down for a more comprehensive guide to what you can do with a law degree and the top universities. 

What can you do with a law degree?

Top 5 universities for law degrees

1. Stanford University

Stanford Law School is known for having one of the lowest student-to-staff ratios in the country at 7.3:1. 

The law courses are varied and diverse, beginning with an overview in the first year covering criminal law, contracts, tort, and legal research and writing. After the first year, students can choose from 280 different course titles to specialise in the area that interests them. 

The Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford holds about 500,000 books.

There are more than 50 student organisations run by Stanford law students, including the Stanford law and wine society, Stanford law students against gendered violence, women in politics and the black law students association. There are also 12 legal journals affiliated with the law school.

2. Duke University

The School of Law is one of 10 schools at Duke University. It is consistently ranked highly and has a competitive admissions process, accepting only about 20 per cent of applicants a year. 

The school publishes eight academic journals or law reviews. Law and Contemporary Problems is the university’s oldest law journal. The Duke Law Journal was the first of the law journals to be edited by students and publishes articles from scholars on topics of general interest about the legal system and the study of law. 

The school also offers several joint degree programmes with other schools such as the graduate school, the business school and the medical school. About a quarter of students are enrolled in joint degree courses. 

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3. University of Cambridge

The Squire Law Library at the University of Cambridge is one of the three largest legal collections in the UK, with almost 180,000 volumes. The collection is strongest in UK law, but contains collections on legal systems across the world including the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. There are also smaller collections for many other countries. 

The Faculty of Law offers six different degrees as well as an MPhil in criminology, an MPhil in criminological research, a diploma in legal studies and the diploma in international law.

4. Yale University

The admissions process for Yale Law School is one of the most selective in the US, with less than 10 per cent of applicants accepted each year.

The school hosts a number of clinics that allow students to represent clients in real-world problems. Up to 80 per cent of Yale law students take part in these clinics before they graduate. The clinics cover a wide range of legal areas and new ones are added all the time. 

Alumni of the law school include presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former US presidents Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford.

5. University of Oxford

The faculty of law at the University of Oxford is one of the largest in the UK. The student to faculty ratio is approximately 7:1.

There are a number of centres and institutes within the faculty of law, such as the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, the Institute of European Comparative Law, the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre and the Centre for Criminology. 

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Top universities for law degrees 2019

Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2019 profile

Law rank 2019  Law rank 2018 University Country/region
 1  2 Stanford University United States
 2  1 Duke University United States
 3  5 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
 4  3 Yale University United States
 5  6 University of Oxford United Kingdom
 6  4 University of Chicago United States
 =7  9 Harvard University United States
 =7  NR London School of Economics and Political Science United Kingdom
 9  12 New York University United States
 10  7 University of Melbourne Australia
 =11  19 University of California, Berkeley United States
 =11  10 University of Toronto Canada
 =11  8 UCL United Kingdom
 14  13 McGill University Canada
 15  17 Columbia University United States
 16  11 University of Pennsylvania United States
 17  14 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
 18  21 University of California, Los Angeles United States
 19  16 University of British Columbia Canada
 20  =31 University of Washington United States
 21  30 National University of Singapore Singapore
 22  18 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 23  =31 University of New South Wales Australia
 24  24 KU Leuven Belgium
 25  =25 King’s College London United Kingdom
 26  =25 Georgetown University United States
 27  20 Leiden University Netherlands
 28  59 Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel
 29  15 University of Michigan United States
 30  NR Lund University Sweden
 31  23 University of Amsterdam Netherlands
 32  33 University of Sydney Australia
 33  34 Utrecht University Netherlands
 34  22 Cornell University United States
 35  28 University of Manchester United Kingdom
 36  29 University of Virginia United States
 37  NR Goethe University Frankfurt Germany
 38  37 Queen Mary University of London United Kingdom
 39  41 University of Copenhagen Denmark
 40  54 University of Queensland Australia
 41  40 University of Nottingham United Kingdom
 42  51 Durham University United Kingdom
 43  36 Tilburg University Netherlands
 44  44 York University Canada
 45  52 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 46  =61 Maastricht University Netherlands
 47  NR University College Dublin Republic of Ireland
 48  NR Tsinghua University China
 49  27 Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 50  39 University of Antwerp Belgium
 51  47 University of Essex United Kingdom
 52  48 University of Glasgow United Kingdom
 53  42 Australian National University Australia
 54  55 University of Texas at Austin United States
 55  NR University of East Anglia United Kingdom
 =56  43 Boston University United States
 =56  67 Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
 =58  50 University of Kent United Kingdom
 =58  35 Northwestern University United States
 =60  60 Arizona State University United States
 =60  49 University of Bristol United Kingdom
 62  NR Emory University United States
 63  101+ Queensland University of Technology Australia
 64  38 George Washington University United States
 =65  74 Dalhousie University Canada
 =65  81 George Mason University United States
 67  45 Stockholm University Sweden
 =68  NR Aarhus University Denmark
 =68  101+ University of Technology, Sydney Australia
 70  =98 University of Hamburg Germany
 71  101+ Griffith University Australia
 72  93 University of Exeter United Kingdom
 73  NR University of Vienna Austria
 74  58 Ghent University Belgium
 75  =98 American University United States
 76  92 University of Pretoria South Africa
 77  NR University of Cape Town South Africa
 78  69 University of Wisconsin-Madison United States
 =79  64 University of Leeds United Kingdom
 =79  68 Monash University Australia
 =81  78 University of California, Irvine United States
 =81  88 University of South Australia Australia
 83  NR Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris France
 84  91 University of Zurich Switzerland
 85  =61 University of Tasmania Australia
 =86  NR Shanghai Jiao Tong University China
 =86  53 University of Sussex United Kingdom
 =88  73 University of Groningen Netherlands
 =88  =56 University of Sheffield United Kingdom
 90  85 University of Wollongong Australia
 91  NR University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign United States
 92  NR National Autonomous University of Mexico Mexico
 93  =98 University of Ottawa Canada
 94  90 University of Warwick United Kingdom
 95  =56 University of Helsinki Finland
 96  =79 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
 97  65 Pontifical Catholic University of Chile Chile
 98  =79 Laval University Canada
 =99  =96 University of Oslo Norway
 =99  70 Sapienza University of Rome Italy
 101–125  =83 University of Alberta Canada
 101–125  101+ University of Arizona United States
 101–125  101+ University of Auckland New Zealand
 101–125  63 Autonomous University of Madrid Spain
 101–125  101+ University of Barcelona Spain
 101–125  101+ Cardiff University United Kingdom
 101–125  101+ Carlos III University of Madrid Spain
 101–125  101+ University of Cincinnati United States
 101–125  95 Complutense University of Madrid Spain
 101–125  101+ Florida State University United States
 101–125  NR Fordham University United States
 101–125  NR University of Geneva Switzerland
 101–125  101+ University of Gothenburg Sweden
 101–125  NR Iowa State University United States
 101–125  NR University of Lausanne Switzerland
 101–125  101+ University of Liverpool United Kingdom
 101–125  NR Masaryk University Czech Republic
 101–125  66 University of Montreal Canada
 101–125  NR Newcastle University United Kingdom
 101–125  71 Northeastern University United States
 101–125  77 Ohio State University United States
 101–125  NR Pennsylvania State University United States
 101–125  101+ Queen’s University Canada
 101–125  101+ Queen’s University Belfast United Kingdom
 101–125  101+ University of South Carolina United States
 126–150  101+ University of Adelaide Australia
 126–150  =96 University of Bologna Italy
 126–150  101+ University of Calgary Canada
 126–150  NR University of Central Florida United States
 126–150  NR Curtin University Australia
 126–150  101+ Florida International University United States
 126–150  101+ University of Haifa Israel
 126–150  101+ University of Iowa United States
 126–150  NR University of Kentucky United States
 126–150  82 Lancaster University United Kingdom
 126–150  101+ Macquarie University Australia
 126–150  101+ University of Minnesota Twin Cities United States
 126–150  NR Plymouth University United Kingdom
 126–150  101+ Radboud University Nijmegen Netherlands
 126–150  101+ Saint Louis University United States
 126–150  NR University of São Paulo Brazil
 126–150  NR University of South Africa South Africa
 126–150  89 University of Southampton United Kingdom
 126–150  94 Tel Aviv University Israel
 126–150  46 Vanderbilt University United States
 126–150  101+ Vrije Universiteit Brussel Belgium
 126–150  101+ Washington University in St Louis United States
 126–150  101+ University of Western Australia Australia
 126–150  101+ Wuhan University China
 126–150  72 University of York United Kingdom
 151+  101+ University of Alabama United States
 151+  101+ Bar-Ilan University Israel
 151+  =86 University of Birmingham United Kingdom
 151+  NR Boston College United States
 151+  NR Charles University in Prague Czech Republic
 151+  =86 University of Chile Chile
 151+  NR University of Coimbra Portugal
 151+  NR University of Colorado Boulder United States
 151+  101+ University of Connecticut United States
 151+  101+ Deakin University Australia
 151+  101+ University of Denver United States
 151+  101+ University of Florida United States
 151+  =83 University of Georgia United States
 151+  75 Georgia State University United States
 151+  101+ University of Granada Spain
 151+  101+ Indiana University United States
 151+  101+ University of Johannesburg South Africa
 151+  101+ University of Leicester United Kingdom
 151+  101+ University of Ljubljana Slovenia
 151+  NR Louisiana State University United States
 151+  101+ University of Maribor Slovenia
 151+  NR University of Miami United States
 151+  NR University of Milan Italy
 151+  101+ Northumbria University United Kingdom
 151+  101+ University of Pittsburgh United States
 151+  101+ University of Portsmouth United Kingdom
 151+  101+ Université du Québec Canada
 151+  101+ University of Southern California United States
 151+  76 University of Strathclyde United Kingdom
 151+  NR University of Surrey United Kingdom
 151+  NR University of Turin Italy
 151+  101+ University of Valencia Spain
 151+  101+ Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
 151+  101+ Wayne State University United States
 151+  NR Western Sydney University Australia
 151+  NR University of the Witwatersrand South Africa
 151+  101+ University of Zagreb Croatia

Click here to view the full ranking for law degrees


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