Questions of analysis and interpretation, logical reasoning, ethical judgement, political liberty and social control: Law at Cambridge allows undergraduates to see law in its historical and social contexts, and to examine its general principles and techniques.
|UCAS code||M100 BA/Law
|Colleges||Available at all Colleges
|2012 entry||Applications per place: 5
Number accepted: 214
|Open days and events 2013||Department open day - 3 July, booking required, see the Faculty website
College open days (arts)
Cambridge Open Days - 4 July, 5 July 2013
See the Faculty website for information regarding the three-day Sixth-Form Law Conference held each March
|Contact details||01223 330033
Law at Cambridge
Although our course is primarily concerned with English law, there are opportunities to study other legal systems, including civil (Roman) law, EU law, and international law. You can also study theoretical and sociological aspects of law such as jurisprudence or parts of criminology.
Facilities and resources
The present Faculty teaching staff has expertise across nearly every aspect of English law and its history, as well as European Union law, international law, civil law, legal philosophy and criminology.
The Faculty building houses lecture theatres, seminar rooms and a moot court, as well as the comprehensive Squire Law Library, offering over 180,000 volumes and excellent computing facilities.
The Faculty and University Law Society organise numerous activities including formal meetings, informal barristers' and solicitors' evenings, social events, lectures and moots (debates about hypothetical legal cases).
A Law degree alone is not a qualification for practice but 'qualifying law graduates' (who've passed the seven 'foundation' subjects) may proceed directly to the vocational training courses preparing them for the final professional examinations. The seven foundation subjects are: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Law of Tort, Law of Contract, Land Law, Law of Trusts (Equity), and Law of the European Union.
The Faculty has exchange agreements with universities in France, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain. About 20 undergraduates can spend their third year abroad studying the law of one of these European countries. See the Faculty website for details.
If you wish to combine law with another subject it's best to discuss this with your preferred College before submitting your application.
Students who wish to combine law with another subject usually study law after that subject rather than before. It's desirable to study law for two years wherever possible, since it's not possible to pass all seven 'foundation' subjects at Cambridge in less than two years.
If your first subject has a two-year Part I, you need to consider the implications – especially the financial implications – of four years as an undergraduate.
Most Law undergraduates intend to practise law as barristers or solicitors and our graduates are prominent in both branches of the legal profession, in the judiciary and in academic life.
Others seek careers in administration, management, politics or finance and find employment within the legal departments of the Civil Service, local government, industrial and commercial firms, banks, and international organisations.
For each subject, you attend lectures given by teaching members of the Faculty.
The typical number of lecture hours for each paper is 40 per year, mostly timetabled for the first two terms of each year, which equates to about eight hours of lectures a week. You normally have a fortnightly College supervision in each subject as well.
Those wishing to practise law also take the Freshfields Legal IT Research Skills Course, which gives a grounding in the use of IT in the Law, and includes valuable research and study skills required by the legal professions.
Each paper is assessed by a written examination at the end of the year. In the third year, you have the option of substituting one paper for a dissertation.
In the first year, all students take the same four papers:
- Criminal Law
- Constitutional Law
- Civil Law
- Law of Tort
In your second year, you choose five papers from a wide range of options. Most students take Contract Law and Land Law. Other options are:
- Family Law
- International Law
- Administrative Law
- Criminal Procedure and Evidence
- Legal History
- Civil Law II
- Criminology, Sentencing and the Penal System
- European Union Law
In the third year, you select and study five papers from an even more extensive range.
Most students take Equity and European Union Law but you can develop your interests in, for instance:
- commercial law
- public law subjects
- labour law
- more theoretical aspects of law, such as jurisprudence
You can take certain half-papers as well. In recent years, subjects available have included:
- Landlord and Tenant Law
- European Human Rights Law
- Medical Law
- Media Law
You can also participate in a seminar course, submitting a dissertation in place of one paper. Seminar courses vary each year but in the past have included Family in Society, Women and the Law, Ethics and Criminal Law, Public Law, and International Law.
Typical offers require
A Level: A*AA
IB: 40-41 points, with 776 at Higher Level
For other qualifications, see our main Entrance requirements pages.
Essential No specific subjects
Many A Level (or equivalent) subjects provide a good grounding for the study of Law at university, and Colleges have an open mind about the subjects that are a sound preparation.
Good applicants tend to have taken subjects at A Level (or equivalent) that develop a careful, analytical approach to reading and which require them to present information in a way which is well structured and thoughtfully argued. In our experience, applicants with backgrounds in Mathematics and science subjects perform as well as those whose background is in humanities subjects. Many Colleges are pleased to see applicants with a mixed background in these subjects.
Applicants are not required to have studied Law at GCSE or A Level. Those who have done so tend not to have any special advantage once they begin studying Law at university. Academic subjects other than Law will generally provide a solid foundation for the course, as well as giving a desirable breadth of experience.
Churchill College has particularly stringent entrance requirements for Law. See the Churchill College website for details.
Check College websites for College specific requirements. See also Entrance requirements and our Subject Matters leaflet for additional advice about general requirements for entry, qualifications and offers.
The table below sets out the ways in which each College assesses applicants for this subject. For more information about these methods of assessment and why we use them, see the main Admissions tests and written work page.
|College||Assessment of applicant for this subject|
|Christ's||Cambridge Law Test; Reading preparation before interview|
|Churchill||Test at interview|
|Clare||Test at interview|
|Corpus Christi||Cambridge Law Test; Preparatory study before and at interview|
|Downing||Cambridge Law Test|
|Emmanuel||Cambridge Law Test; School/college essay; Preparatory study at interview|
|Fitzwilliam||Cambridge Law Test|
|Girton||Cambridge Law Test|
|Gonville & Caius||Cambridge Law Test; Preparatory study at interview|
|Homerton||Cambridge Law Test; Preparatory study at interview|
|Hughes Hall||Test at interview|
|Jesus||Cambridge Law Test; Preparatory study at interview|
|King's||Cambridge Law Test; Preparatory study at interview|
|Lucy Cavendish||Cambridge Law Test; Test at interview; Pre-interview reading|
|Magdalene||Cambridge Law Test; School/college essay; Preparatory study at interview|
|Murray Edwards||Cambridge Law Test|
|Newnham||Cambridge Law Test; Preparatory study at interview|
|Pembroke||Cambridge Law Test; Reading preparation before interview|
|Peterhouse||Cambridge Law Test; School/college essays; Reading preparation before interview|
|Queens'||Cambridge Law Test|
|Robinson||Cambridge Law Test; Preparatory study at interview|
|St Catharine's||Cambridge Law Test|
|St Edmund's||Test at interview|
|St John's||Cambridge Law Test; Preparatory study at interview|
|Selwyn||Cambridge Law Test; Preparatory study at interview|
|Sidney Sussex||Cambridge Law Test; Preparatory study at interview|
|Trinity||Cambridge Law Test; Preparatory study at interview|
|Trinity Hall||Cambridge Law Test; Preparatory study at interview|
|Wolfson||Cambridge Law Test; School/college essay|
Find out more about Law at Cambridge
- Course introduction - An introduction to the Law degree.
- Course guide - A detailed guide to the Law degree.
Improve your knowledge of Law
- Preparatory reading - Guidance on preparatory reading for applicants interested in Law is available on page four of the Law Faculty's prospectus.
Tools to help you with your Law application
From September 2012, every undergraduate course of more than one year's duration will have a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS allows you to compare 17 pieces of information about individual courses at different higher education institutions.
However, please note that superficially similar courses often have very different structures and objectives, and that the teaching, support and learning environment that best suits you can only be determined by identifying your own interests, needs, expectations and goals, and comparing them with detailed institution- and course-specific information.
We recommend that you look thoroughly at the course and University information contained on these webpages and consider coming to visit us on an Open Day, rather than relying solely on statistical comparison.
You may find the following notes helpful when considering information presented by the KIS.
- The KIS relies on superficially similar courses being coded in the same way. Whilst this works on one level, it leads to some anomalies. For example, Music courses and Music Technology courses can have exactly the same code despite being very different programmes with quite distinct educational and career outcomes.
Any course which combines several disciplines (as many courses at Cambridge do) tends to be compared nationally with courses in just one of those disciplines, and in such cases a KIS comparison may not be an accurate or fair reflection of the reality of either. For example, you may find that when considering a degree which embraces a range of disciplines such as biology, physics, chemistry and geology (for instance, Natural Sciences at Cambridge), the comparison provided is with courses at other institutions that primarily focus on just one (or a smaller combination) of those subjects.
- Whilst the KIS makes reference to some broad types of financial support offered by institutions, it cannot compare packages offered by different institutions. Different students have different circumstances and requirements, and you should weigh up what matters to you most: level of fee; fee waivers; means-tested support such as bursaries; non-means-tested support such as academic scholarships and study grants; and living costs such as accommodation, travel.
- The KIS provides a typical cost of private (ie non-university) accommodation. This is very difficult to estimate as prices and properties vary. University accommodation can be substantially cheaper, and if you are likely to live in College for much or all of the duration of your course (as is the case at Cambridge), then the cost of private accommodation will be of less or no relevance for you. The KIS also provides the typical annual cost of university accommodation and the number of beds available. Note that since most universities offer a range of residential accommodation, you should check with institutions about the likelihood of securing a room at a price that suits your budget. Knowing the number of beds available is not necessarily useful: it may be much more important to find out if all students are guaranteed accommodation.
- Time in lectures, seminars and similar can vary enormously by institution depending on the structure of the course, and the quality of such contact time should be the primary consideration.
- Whilst starting salaries can be a useful measure, they do not give any sense of career trajectory or take account of the voluntary/low paid work that many graduates undertake initially in order to gain valuable experience necessary/advantageous for later career progression.
The above list is not exhaustive and there may be other important factors that are relevant to the choices that you are making, but we hope that this will be a useful starting point to help you delve deeper than the face value of the KIS data.