Here are some frequently asked questions about admission to study the undergraduate law course in Oxford with Senior Status. Before reading them, please remember that you should always check the Undergraduate Admissions site for authoritative information on current admissions procedures; and the general BA in Jurisprudence admission FAQs
The information set out below applies to the two year Senior Status Law course. That course is open only to applicants who already have an undergraduate degree, or who will have obtained such a degree by the time they intend to begin the Oxford law course. Note that, at Oxford, first degrees in Law (including the two year Senior Status course) are taught at the undergraduate level, in contrast to the position in some other countries (e.g. the United States) where first degrees in Law are always graduate degrees.
It is important to note that an applicant who already has an undergraduate degree, or will have obtained such a degree by the time they intend to begin the Oxford law course, may choose not to apply for the two year Senior Status Law course, and can instead choose to apply for either the three year Law course or one of the four year Law with Law Studies in Europe courses.
Please note that, whether applying for the two year, three year, or four year courses, applicants with a degree must send their degree transcript to the college considering their application.
How do I decide which college to apply to?
First, if you don’t want to choose a particular college to apply to, you don’t have to. You can instead make an “open application”. This means that, when your application is received, the Oxford Undergraduate Admissions Office will allocate your application to a particular college that considers applications for the two year Senior Status Law course. Your application will then be considered in exactly the same way as applications made by those who chose to apply to that college. In 2008, for example, around 15% of all undergraduate law applicants made an open application.
Second, if you would rather choose a specific college, it is very important to note that not all colleges consider applications for the two year Senior Status Law course. A list of colleges that do consider such applications is maintained by the University and is available below. There is still a good deal of choice available. For example, in 2008, nine colleges considered Senior Status applicants. It is important to note that Harris Manchester and Hertford College do not consider applications from those who wish to complete the two year Senior Status course. However, in some years, they may consider Senior Status applications from applicants who wish to complete the Law course in seven terms (i.e. in two years plus one term).
If you have a chance to visit Oxford, colleges will be happy for you to look around; college web-sites will also have details of specific Open Days, when tutors will be on hand to answer questions. However, there is no need to worry if you can’t visit before making an application. The best way to choose is to read about the colleges in their own words, and in the words of their current students. Each college has a web-site and a prospectus. Some will also have an “Alternative Prospectus” produced by students; in addition, there is a University-wide Alternative Prospectus produced by the Oxford University Student Union.
Will my application be considered by more than one college?
All the colleges considering Senior Status applications make great efforts, separately and together, to make sure that those candidates who should receive offers from Oxford do receive them.
First, your application will first be considered by the college to which you apply – or, if you make an open application, by the college to which your application is allocated. That college may select you for interview, in which case it will continue to consider your application, and, at the end of the interview period, will make a decision as to whether to offer you a place. Alternatively, it may be that the college does not select you for interview (this may happen, for example, if that college has received a large number of excellent applications). Your application will then be considered by a Law Faculty committee. The committee is made up of Faculty members who are also college law tutors. This committee may then decide that your application, assessed against the general field of applications to all colleges, is worth further consideration. In that case, you will be called for interview at a different college that considers Senior Status applications. This pre-interview re-allocation process aims to ensure that, as far as possible, strong candidates are selected for interview, no matter which college first considered their applications.
The co-operation between colleges does not end there. If you are invited for interview at a particular college, it may also be the case that, once that college has interviewed you, you will be offered a further interview at another college that considers Senior Status applications. That college may then consider your application and make a decision as to whether to offer you a place. This form of re-allocation, taking place during the interview process, aims to ensure that, as far as possible, the best candidates are offered places, no matter which college first interviewed them.
Can I apply for deferred entry?
In general, applications for deferred entry are welcomed. However, applicants who are offered places for deferred entry will generally rank among the strongest of those to whom offers are made. This is because we need to be sure that they would also have been offered a place had they applied the following year, against what might turn out to be stronger competition. For the Senior Status course, the required academic standard is already very high: this means that, to be successful in receiving an offer of a deferred place, a Senior Status applicant must be particularly strong.
For the purposes of deciding whether to invite deferred-entry applicants for interview and whether to offer them a place, the colleges and the Law Faculty will rank them against all the other current applicants, not only against the other deferred-entry candidates.
Do you make special provision for mature students?
Yes. All colleges consider applications from mature students (those who will be aged 21 or over when starting their course). In addition, Harris Manchester College exists to serve the specific needs of mature students and admits only mature students.
What academic standards are set for undergraduate admissions in law?
All colleges apply the same admissions criteria. We rely on the UCAS form, on performance in the National Admissions Test for Law, and on our interview process to assess our applicants. We do not rely on any non-academic factors unless they reveal something relevant to academic progress.
It is important to note that the two year Senior Status Law course is a particularly demanding course, as subjects are studied at a quicker pace than on the three year Law course or the four year Law with Law Studies in Europe courses. As a result, colleges generally require that successful applicants for the two year Senior Status Law course will normally have achieved (or be predicted to have achieved before starting their Oxford course) a first class degree or equivalent. Where a candidate for the two year Senior Status course has not recently been pursuing formal academic qualifications, colleges will generally require strong and convincing evidence, at an equivalent level to a first class degree, of the candidate’s achievements and future promise.
In some years, some colleges are able to offer Senior Status places to study for the undergraduate Law degree in two years plus one term. This means that a college may make an offer, to a candidate applying in December, to begin their studies at Oxford in the following April (i.e. at the start of the following Trinity Term). In this way, it is possible for candidates offered such a place to complete the course in seven terms, studying subjects at the same pace as undergraduates on the three year Law course and four year Law with Law Studies in Europe courses. As a result, the academic criteria applied to candidates for this seven term Senior Status course may not be so strict as those applied to candidates for the standard two year Senior Status course. It is important to note that only some colleges offer the seven term course. Please note that only certain colleges admit Senior Status students, and there are special admissions procedures in place. For a list of colleges and whether they offer six or seven terms, as well as details of the procedures, please see the list on the University website (linked below).
Further information about undergraduate requirements, including Scottish Highers
What if I do not yet have any pre-existing academic qualifications, such as GCSEs or equivalents?
We do accept applications from candidates who have not yet obtained any certified academic qualifications. However, in order to give your application fair consideration, we do require some evidence of your academic achievements to date. When assessing applications for the two year Senior Status course by candidates who have not recently been pursuing formal academic qualifications, colleges will generally require strong and convincing evidence, at an equivalent level to a first class degree, of the candidate’s achievements and future promise. So, if you do not have any certified examination results, it is very important to include on your UCAS form detailed information on your academic achievements. It will also be helpful if your referee can give a detailed account of your academic achievement. All graduate applicants are required to send their degree transcripts to the college to which they have applied (if making an Open Application, you must send such transcripts to the University Undergraduate Admissions Office).