The BCL is our world-renowned taught graduate course in law, designed to serve outstanding law students from common law backgrounds.

See BCL pages in the University Prospectus for information about fees, admission requirements, and how to apply

As a masters level degree, its academic standard is significantly higher than that required in a first law degree, such as a BA, LLB, or JD, and only those with outstanding first law degrees are admitted. Courses are not introductory, and students are expected to analyse complex material critically and to make their own contribution to the debate.

The BCL shares most of its course content with the Magister Juris, which is an equivalent course for students from a civil law background. For the most part, BCL and MJur students study the same options in the same classes, thereby producing a diverse mix of students who can contribute a wide variety of different perspectives to seminar and tutorial discussion.

There are no compulsory courses on the BCL; instead, students choose four options from a selection of 40 or so on offer in any given year. In place of one of the four taught options, students may choose to write a dissertation of 10,000 to 12,500 words on a topic of their choosing (subject to Faculty approval).

Why not an LLM?
The BCL and MJur are the only taught graduate courses in the world which make use of tutorials as a central part of their teaching (as well as the seminars and lectures more generally used on LLM and other masters courses). The tutorial is an intensive discussion between a tutor and typically two or three students, providing an opportunity for students to present their ideas and discuss their work with leading academics. It is this level of access to some of the best known teachers and researchers across a wide range of legal subjects which perhaps more than anything distinguishes the BCL and MJur from their LLM counterparts, though the intellectual rigour of both courses, and the cosmopolitan mix of students are also important factors in the success and reputation of the two courses.