What made me want to study Law? Honestly I woke up when I was fourteen and thought "hey, I think I want to study Law"… for me, that feeling never went away! I came on a summer school in Oxford and I realised that Law, to me at least, felt like a big puzzle that needed solving. That really suits my way of learning! The prospect of studying something new, that would draw on skills and knowledge I already had, felt like a challenge but a really good one. What I enjoy most about Law is how varied it is! One day I can be reading about ownership of property and the next about challenging the government when you’re falsely imprisoned – the only thing all of my modules have in common is that they can all affect anyone at any point. I find law and its effects on how we live to be so exciting. It’s hard to pick a best experience of studying (however clichéd that sounds) but I think mooting has been a real highlight. It’s effectively a mock appeal case, and I love researching an area of law, forming an argument, and getting to pretend to be a real lawyer. It’s really fun, but doesn’t feel like hard work.
I’ve really enjoyed studying Law at Oxford. I like the fact that we’re not examined until the end of the course; I know that it will give me the chance to do the best I can do (although, ask me again at the end of my final year!) Throughout school, I was never a fan of coursework and preferred exams, so the Oxford Law course really suits me. There isn’t a lot of choice in what modules you take until final year, which gives you more time to think properly about which ones you do choose.
In the final term of the first year, we were taken on two days out in London; the first day we got to visit a solicitors’ firm, the judicial office and a barrister’s chambers for drinks in the evening, and, on the second day, our tutor took us to the Court of Appeal to see a child-trafficking case.
Reading law at university often can be challenging, but studying a subject that encompasses such a wide range of material makes it a very useful and rewarding degree. If you enjoy problem-solving and logical thinking, then law might be right up your street. Law is not simply about studying cases and memorising statutes: the course includes analysing arguments from a wide range of subjects such as sociology, politics, and economics, making it a varied and interesting degree.
You will study three subjects for your first year exams: Criminal law, Constitutional law, and Roman law. The next two years will include seven compulsory subjects, as well as two optional subjects.
Oxford’s law degree stands out as one which truly engages with subject material. There is a greater emphasis on philosophy within the course, as after all, the degree is in fact called Jurisprudence which is the philosophy of law! Furthermore, the resources that Oxford offers are second to none, only really competing with Cambridge, which, let’s be honest, isn’t as fun a place to be.
"What about law?" is a great book written by Cambridge academics which I bought second-hand on Amazon for about £3. It takes you through each core area of law and describes an interesting case. I found it super useful in helping me decide that Law was for me and I think anyone who didn't enjoy it probably wouldn't like the course. I genuinely think anyone considering applying for Law should read this as it also shows you the kind of thinking involved in a Law degree, and will help you prepare for the interview.
Do some work experience, or even just go and sit in a court - you can learn a lot about the law in practice!
“The Concept of Law” by H.L.A. Hart is a classic work in the field of jurisprudence. Its concept of law as a social construction helped me to redefine my understanding of Soviet legal history and sparked my academic interests.
The books "Learning the Law" and "Letters to a Law Student" are good introductions to Law, and what it will be like to study it.
In my first interview a situation was explained to me and I was asked to write out a rule that would convict the person involved of murder. They kept changing the situation and I had to adapt my rule to cover the new elements.
In my second interview I was given a legal rule and told a situation and then asked to apply that rule and come up with an outcome. No legal knowledge was required you just had to think carefully and listen to the exact words of every question asked.
Applicants that might be offered a place are invited for interview in December. See Law interviews for more information.
Make sure you read the official prospectus entry for the course which contains entry requirements, full course structure, additional interesting resources and full details of the application process.
If you're going to apply, you'll want to check which Oxford colleges offer this course.
You might also find it helpful to hear from students studying Law with Law Studies in Europe (or even consider applying for those courses!).