BA in Law
The BA in Law (technically 'Bachelor of Arts in the Final Honour School of Jurisprudence') is our regular three year undergraduate law degree, equivalent to what in some universities would be called an LLB. It is also a 'qualifying law degree' for the purpose of practice as a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales. It is one of the most highly regarded undergraduate law degrees in the UK, and those who do well in it are in high demand both in the legal professions and in other fields in which professional analytical work is required.
In all universities, a law degree calls for hard work. You must become familiar with a great deal of material across a wide range of legal topics. In Oxford, particular emphasis is placed on first-hand study of legal sources - the reading of statutes and cases, sometimes very long statutes and cases, in their original reported form. This means a lot of work in law libraries, of which Oxford has some of the best. As well as books you will increasingly work with online materials. Law is constantly evolving and infinitely thought-provoking.
A common misconception is that studying law is mainly a matter of memorizing data. It is true that there is a lot to remember but lawyers exist to use the law, not just to know it, and the main way that lawyers use the law is by making legal arguments. A central aspect of legal education in Oxford, as at other law schools, is learning to make a proper legal argument. This is a creative activity and calls for originality and inspiration as well as information and accuracy. The Oxford method of teaching by tutorials - weekly meetings between a tutor and two or three students - gives you particularly intensive training in the art of argument.
The programme is non-modular. The courses identified by the legal professions as necessary for legal practice (the 'foundations of legal knowledge') are also identified by Oxford as core academic law subjects, and all undergraduate law students in Oxford are required to take them. All undergraduate law students are also required to take a course in jurisprudence (theory of law). In your final year you have the chance to choose from a selection of optional subjects. There are public examinations in your first year and your final year, but not your second year. However, for students who begin the course in October 2011 or later, there is an essay in jurisprudence to be written over the summer vacation at the end of the second year. Your mark for this essay counts towards your degree result. The exam in jurisprudence at the end of your final year is correpondingly shorter.
• Undergraduate admissions: requirements and procedures, link to the prospectus, FAQs, etc.
• Questions about life as an undergraduate law student in Oxford? Check out our FAQs.
• Fees and student funding (information common to all Oxford undergraduate programmes).
• The BA Law programme specification, an official document setting out our programme objectives and learning methods in a standard format.
• The most recent BA examiners' report, which comments on performance generally and in each course, and helps you to understand what is expected.
• Our undergraduate handbook, which explains in more detail what to expect as a BA student in law.
• The current Law Faculty lecture list, including this year's diet of lectures and seminars for BA courses. Tutorials are not shown on this list because they are scheduled by individual tutors in consultation with individual students.
• More about 'qualifying law degrees' and the path to legal practice: practice at the Bar; practice as a Solicitor. Remember that, although it is a qualifying law degree, our BA is a programme of academic study, not a vocational training. We do not assume that our students will be legal practitioners and about a third of them will not be.
• The BA with 'senior status' for those who already have a first degree in another subject.