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Best universities in the UK for law degrees 2024

Find the best universities for law degrees in the UK using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2024 data

    November 3 2023
    Best universities in the UK for law degrees

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    Top 10 universities in the UK for law degrees 2024

    Scroll down for the full list of best universities in the UK for law degrees

    UK law rank 2024  Law rank 2024  University City/town
    1  3  University of Cambridge Cambridge
    2  7  University of Oxford Oxford
    3  12  UCL London
    4  13  University of Edinburgh Edinburgh
    5  14  London School of Economics and Political Science London
    6  27  King’s College London London
    7  =43  University of Glasgow Glasgow
    8  =45  University of Nottingham Nottingham
    9  49  University of Essex Essex
    10  50  Queen Mary University of London London

    The UK is home to some of the leading law schools in the world. 

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    The most traditional way to become a lawyer in the UK is to study for a law degree (LLB). Students who have studied a different subject at undergraduate level can take the graduate diploma in law conversion course. Most students will also need to take further courses and training in order to specialise. These include the Bar Practice Course (replacing the Bar Professional Training Course), which allows graduates to prepare and practise as barristers in England and Wales, and the Solicitors Qualifying Examination. 

    Many universities also allow students to combine their legal studies with other subjects, making it a joint honours degree.

    The legal field offers career options such as barrister, coroner, crown prosecutor, patent attorney or solicitor. A law degree provides students with transferrable skills that can be used in any of these positions.

    If you obtain a law degree in the UK, you can practise in other countries, but you may need to undertake Practical Legal Training or the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme, depending on which country you are moving to. 

    These are the best universities in the UK for law degrees. 


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    5. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

    Law is one of the London School of Economics and Political Science’s largest departments with more than 60 faculty staff. 

    Undergraduate students can study the LLB bachelor of laws, as well as the double-degree programme, which involves transferring to Columbia University Law School for two years.

    There are two graduate degree programmes offered: LLM master of laws and the executive LLM, which is available to those who have at least three years post-degree work experience in law. The department also offers a PhD programme in law for students seeking to carry out advanced legal research.

    Students and faculty staff conduct research in a range of areas including commercial law, environmental law, criminal law and criminal justice, EU law, and human rights. One of their more recent research initiatives is the Law and Economics Forum, which encourages interdisciplinary collaboration between lawyers and economists.

    The Modern Law Review is one of the world’s leading academic law reviews and it maintains close ties with the LSE law department. The review is published six times a year and features articles, cases, legislation and reviews.

    4. University of Edinburgh

    The University of Edinburgh Edinburgh Law School has a history of more than 300 years.

    Three undergraduate programmes are offered: the LLB, the joint LLB honours and the graduate LLB, which is a two-year conversion course for students who already have a degree-level qualification.

    For postgraduates, a range of LLM and MSc programmes are available in legal areas such as comparative and European private law, global crime, justice and security and innovation, technology and the law. The university also offers an online master’s programme in areas such as medical law and ethics and information technology law. 

    As Scotland’s leading legal research institution, Edinburgh Law School is committed to carrying out high-quality research. Students and staff can use the school’s institutes and centres to facilitate their research projects. 

    3. UCL

    UCL was the first university in the UK to have a faculty of common law. It was also the first university to offer degrees in English law rather than civil law.

    UCL Law offers three courses: undergraduate, master of laws (LLM) and the MPhil/PhD programme. Alongside the three-year undergraduate degree, specialisms include the opportunity to transfer to the four-year joint LLB/JD degree, where students spend years three and four at the University of Columbia in New York. Alternatively, they can join the law with another legal system LLB, where students spend their third year at the National University of Singapore.

    The LLM can be studied part- or full-time; its wide range of modules includes company law, decolonising law, international trade law and religion, state and law, among many others. There is also a range of specialist degree programmes which result in an LLM in a specialised area. These include maritime law, public law, and international banking and finance law. 

    A total of 15 centres and institutes are affiliated with UCL Faculty of Law, which facilitate legal teaching and research. These include the UCL Centre for Commercial Law, UCL Centre for Empirical Legal Studies and UCL Centre for Law, Economics and Society.

    Students and faculty staff work together on research projects, with recent ones being UCL Public International Law Pro Bono Project and Human Rights Beyond Borders.


    What can you do with a law degree?


    2. University of Oxford

    The University of Oxford has one of the largest faculties of law in the UK. When you apply to study for a law degree at Oxford, you can either submit an open application and be assigned a college on acceptance of your place, or you can apply directly to one of the 30 colleges that offer law degrees. 

    There are two undergraduate degree programmes available: jurisprudence; and law with law studies in Europe, which includes a year abroad at a university in France, Germany, Italy or Spain. For students who have already studied an undergraduate degree, there is a BA in jurisprudence with senior status, which is a shorter version of the regular law degree. 

    Oxford has one of the largest cohorts of law research students in the English-speaking world. There are no compulsory courses in the Magister Juris (MJur) taught graduate course; instead students choose from about 40 options to make up credits. 

    The Faculty of Law engages in research projects throughout the academic year. Current projects include: 100 years of Women in Law at Oxford, Addressing Asylum Harm in Britain, Denmark and Sweden, and AI for English Law.

    1. University of Cambridge

    The University of Cambridge has been teaching law since the 13th century. 

    The Faculty of Law is known today for its courses in international and comparative law, jurisprudence and legal history. The faculty is also known for its research in the socio-legal and social-science fields. 

    During the first year of the undergraduate degree, students will learn about civil, tort, criminal and constitutional law. As students progress through their degree, they have the opportunity to specialise in areas such as family law, international law and commercial law. 

    As well as the undergraduate law degree, the faculty offers two master’s degrees: law and corporate law. There is also a doctorate in law available for students looking to undertake a career in legal research.

    The Herbert Smith Freehills Global Visitor Programme facilitates academic exchanges between partner universities. The faculty has also partnered with Harvard Law School to give Cambridge PhD students the opportunity to use Harvard’s facilities.


    Top universities in the UK for law degrees 2024

    Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2024 profile

    UK law rank 2024  Law rank 2024  University City/town
    1  3  University of Cambridge Cambridge
    2  7  University of Oxford Oxford
    3  12  UCL London
    4  13  University of Edinburgh Edinburgh
    5  14  London School of Economics and Political Science London
    6  27  King’s College London London
    7  =43  University of Glasgow Glasgow
    8  =45  University of Nottingham Nottingham
    9  49  University of Essex Essex
    10  50  Queen Mary University of London London
    11  59  University of Leeds Leeds
    12  =60  Durham University Durham
    13  =74  University of Surrey Guildford
    14  83  University of Warwick Warwick
    15  89  University of Bristol Bristol
    16  93  University of Manchester Manchester
    17  =94  SOAS University of London London
    18  99  University of Birmingham Birmingham
    =19  101–125  City, University of London London
    =19  101–125  University of Exeter Exeter
    =19  101–125  University of Kent Kent
    =19  101–125  University of Liverpool Liverpool
    =23 126-150 Birkbeck, University of London London
    =23  126–150  Cardiff University Cardiff
    =23  126–150  University of Dundee Dundee
    =23  126–150  Lancaster University Lancaster
    =23  126–150  University of York York
    =27  151–175  University of Leicester Leicester
    =27  151–175  University of Portsmouth Portsmouth
    =27  151–175  Queen’s University Belfast Belfast
    =27  151–175  University of Sheffield Sheffield
    =27  151–175  University of Southampton Southampton
    =27  151–175  Swansea University Swansea
    =33  176–200  University of Aberdeen Aberdeen
    =33  176–200  Newcastle University Newcastle
    =33  176–200  Royal Holloway, University of London Surrey
    =33  176–200  University of Strathclyde Strathclyde
    =33  176–200  University of Sussex Brighton
    =38  201–250  University of Central Lancashire Preston
    =38  201–250  Coventry University Coventry
    =38  201–250  De Montfort University Leicester
    =38  201–250  University of East Anglia East Anglia
    =38  201–250  University of Huddersfield Huddersfield
    =38  201–250  Keele University Keele
    =38  201–250  University of Lincoln Lincoln
    =38  201–250  Middlesex University London
    =38  201–250  Northumbria University Northumbria
    =38  201–250  University of Reading Reading
    =48  251–300  University of Derby Derby
    =48  251–300  Liverpool John Moores University Liverpool
    =48  251–300  Manchester Metropolitan University Manchester
    =48  251–300  Nottingham Trent University Nottingham
    =48  251–300  The Open University Nationwide
    =48  251–300  University of Westminster Westminster

     

    Editor's note: This table was updated in December 2023 to retroactively include Birkbeck, University of London based on their provided data submission. More information on the university's inclusion can be found here


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