Whether you want to argue for human rights in the international courts, or help families closer to home, studying law means you can make a difference to people’s lives.

If you choose a law degree, you’ll acquire a broad set of transferable skills and a greater understanding of the world we live in. Studying law helps you better understand how we interact as humans, and how we create the frameworks of a civilised society. You’ll learn to analyse and problem solve, articulate yourself in the written and spoken word, use your initiative, bond with other people, and likely become a passionate advocate on issues you care about.

You could become an advice worker, trading standards officer or even a coroner. Roles as barristers and solicitors are expected to grow by around 3.5% over the next eight years, so there are plenty of places your law career could take you.

What’s the difference between a solicitor and a barrister?

As a solicitor, you’ll work as a ‘lawyer’, providing legal advice to clients in a range of legal practice areas, like property, corporate, criminal or family law.

As a barrister, you’ll represent your client in court, and might also be asked to provide specialist advice. Unlike solicitors, barristers are usually self-employed and work in chambers. They also wear gowns and wigs in court. 

The impact you could make
  • Look after the rights of children in the family courts.
  • Hold governments and international bodies to account over environmental legislation.
  • Become a human rights lawyer and advocate for imprisoned journalists or victims of war.
What you could study
  • Criminal law
  • Law of Contract
  • Public and European Law
  • Foundations of Law and Social Justice
  • Law of Tort
  • Land Use and Regulation

Study options

Options to study in this field include:

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Example module
"Criminal and EU Law have definitely become an interest of mine, and pushed my boundaries, which made them extremely exciting to learn."
Second year law student, University of Westminster, London
Example assignment
"I am currently doing an assignment on the death penalty, which is really interesting to research about, especially when it still exists in this present time."
Second year law with criminology student, University of Surrey

Subjects it's useful to have studied first

Some law courses or apprenticeships will have requirements for previous qualifications in certain subjects. Entry requirements vary, so always check with the provider. 

Hard skills you'll develop
  • Lawsuits
  • Business development
  • Conveyancing
  • Finance
  • Concise writing and legal research skills
  • Commercial awareness
Soft skills you'll develop
  • Communications
  • Listening skills and empathy
  • Sales
  • Critical thinking
  • Attention to detail

Careers: Where it can take you

Find out more about your career prospects from studying law. The following information is based on a typical solicitor’s role.

Average salary
Up to £91,724
Available jobs
166,485 vacancies in the past year
5.75% growth over next eight years

Career options

What is a… special agent?

With a law degree, you could apply to work for the UK Security service, MI5, helping to protect the UK against threats to national security. It might not quite be James Bond, but being security service personnel is not just a 9-5 job either. You might help protect state secrets, take on criminals in court, or be part of thwarting a cyberattack. It’s a fast-paced, pressured environment where you could really feel you’re making a difference to life in the UK.

Getting in: Entry requirements

Find out more about what you'll need to study law at university or as an apprenticeship.

Average requirements for undergraduate degrees

Entry requirements differ between university and course, but this should give you a guide to what is usually expected from law applicants.

A levels
Scottish Highers
BTEC D*D*D* (Level 3 National Extended Diploma in specific subjects)
Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma or SQCF Level 6) may be accepted as an alternative

The expert view

Emma King, Partner and Training Principal, Eversheds Sutherland
Law is a highly regarded degree – it will help you hone your powers of analysis and your communication skills. It will stand you in good stead whatever career path you ultimately pursue. If you choose to work in the legal sector you will be joining a prestigious profession that provides the opportunity to enjoy an intellectually stimulating, interesting and varied career.

Other subjects you may be interested in

Considering an apprenticeship?

Applying for an apprenticeship is just like applying for a normal job. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Deadline

    Apprenticeships don't follow the same deadlines as applying to uni, the deadline is down to the employer.
  2. Where to apply

    You apply directly through the employer.
  3. No limits!

    You're not restricted to one apprenticeship application; you can do as many as you like.
  4. Apply to university and apprenticeships

    There's nothing stopping you applying to university through UCAS, while also applying for apprenticeship vacancies.

Let's talk about... law apprenticeships

Not sure if a traditional degree is for you? Listen to our new podcast to learn more about studying degree apprenticeships in law.

Explore further

Go deeper into topics around law with the following.

  1. Nothing But The Truth with Elizabeth Bowden

    A fun insight podcast into the ‘secret’ language of barristers, hosted by civil and family barrister Elizabeth Bowden and podcaster Zoe Hanson. 
  2. Talking Law with Dr Sally Penni MBE

    Presented by the Chair of Women in Law UK, barrister Sally Penni, this podcast features leading figures in UK law discussing their careers, as well as some of the challenges and realities of the legal profession.
  3. The UK Supreme Court’s YouTube channel

    As well as easy-to-understand explainers about what the UK Supreme Court does, you can watch videos of real-life cases that appear in the court. Great for swotting up on what’s been going on recently at the highest court in the land!
  4. The law in 60 seconds

    Useful for quick recaps on particular aspects of the law, like the human rights act and our right to privacy.

Second year law student, SOAS University of London

I love how multifaceted it is, whereby one learns about the word of the law, but also philosophical analysis on why such a law exists, and distinctions between morality and law.

Application advice

Whether it's personal statement tips or what to write in a cover letter for an apprenticeship application, our application advice will help you get ahead in your law journey.
Skills, experiences, and interests to mention
  • Think about persuasive writing. Have you ever written a letter to an MP, or even your parents, asking them for something? How might that help you as a future solicitor?
  • Do you enjoy public speaking? Did you join the debating club at school? What other clubs did you enjoy at school that might lend themselves to a role as a barrister or judge?
  • Are you passionate about reading? What kind of books do you enjoy? Are there any books you've read that had a legal dimension to them?
  • Or maybe you like scrolling through the news online, keeping up-to-date with current affairs? What are the legal implications of some of the stories you've read?
  • What work experience, or volunteering, have you done or could you do? Have you worked at your local solicitor’s firm, or done charity work - for example, helping a refugees charity with asylum applications?
  • Is there a local solicitor’s firm where you could get some work experience? Have you been to your local magistrates’ court, or what buildings have you visited that represent our legal system? How can you demonstrate your interest in the subject?

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