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How long is a law degree in the UK?

A law degree typically runs for three years in the UK if studied full-time. Of course, there are exceptions to this. The University of Law also offers a two-year accelerated Law LLB (Batchelor of Laws) degree for students who can dedicate extra time to their studies. Additionally, our online Law LLB’s allow students to complete their studies over three, four or six years, depending on what suits their circumstances best.

By Grant Longstaff. Published 28 September 2022.

Having an undergraduate degree is one of the necessary steps to becoming a lawyer, though the degree doesn’t have to be a law degree. However, a degree in law will certainly help. If you choose to study with us, all of our undergraduate LLB courses will leave you with a Qualifying Law Degree and provide a solid foundation for pursuing a career in law.

What A Levels do I need to study law?

Before you study for a degree, you'll need a Level 3 qualification, such as A Levels or a BTEC. Whilst you don’t need particular A Levels to pursue a law degree, academic subjects could help. Subjects such as English, Maths, History or Science would be beneficial as you’ll develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, vital throughout a law degree. It’s also worth simply considering subjects you enjoy and excel in, as you’re more likely to achieve a higher grade. The higher your grade, the more likely you'll meet university entry requirements.

What are the different stages of a law degree?

Generally, in the first year of a law degree, students will gain an insight into the fundamental aspects of the legal world. This knowledge will then be honed and developed during the following two years, with students choosing modules which specifically interest them.

Once you have completed your law degree you will be ready to move onto the next stage of becoming a qualified lawyer.

If you’re looking to become a solicitor then your next step after completing a degree will be to take the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). This is a centralised assessment made up of two exams. Once the SQE has been passed, and you have completed a minimum of two years Qualifying Work Experience (QWE), you can apply to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to be admitted as a solicitor.

To become a barrister you’ll need to follow your law degree with the Bar Practice Course (BPC). The BPC is the vocational stage of your training undertaken before a pupillage; the work-based element required before you can qualify for the Bar.

However, a law degree won’t just provide the foundational knowledge for those wishing to progress into a career as a solicitor or barrister. There are many other careers, within the legal sector and beyond, where a law degree could be beneficial. Read about the value of a law degree on our blog, and explore some of the options which might be open to you.

How long is a law degree valid for?

If you are wishing to become a barrister then your BPC must be started within five years of finishing your law degree. Otherwise, your qualification will remain valid regardless of how long ago you completed the course.

Do I have to do a placement year?

No, a placement year is not a requirement in order to complete a law degree.

Do I have to do a master’s degree to become a lawyer?

You don’t need to complete a master’s degree to become a lawyer. Nevertheless, many students may consider a master’s, or other postgraduate qualification, to further enhance their study of the law. Alternatively, non-law graduates may choose to study a conversion course, like the MA (Master of Arts) in Law, to better prepare them for a career within the legal field.

Is a UK law degree worth it?

With a law degree in the UK, you’ll have many career options to choose from. For example, you could look to become a paralegal, solicitor, arbitrator, barrister, licensed conveyancer, or a chartered legal executive. Of course, this list is far from extensive. For more options take a look at our Career Finder pages to see where else a law degree could lead.

It’s worth noting a law degree could also be beneficial for careers beyond the field of law. The many skills you’ll gain during your studies will be desirable to employers in a wide range of sectors, so you won’t be limited to the legal sector if you choose to study law.


There are a variety of study modes for gaining a law degree, and holding a degree is necessary in order to become a lawyer. Depending on the career you’re looking to enter, further study and assessment may be required after completing your law degree, for example the SQE or BPC. Finally, non-law graduates may choose to complete a law conversion course before qualifying as a solicitor or barrister.


Have a look at our careers pages to find out more about where a ULaw degree could take you.