This post follows from the previous one that I posted here: http://gurume.co.uk/en/blogs/30. That post had a greater focus on the admission process while this one is more on what the law course entails. This is therefore useful for applicants who cannot decide whether to apply to the University of Oxford or Cambridge.
As usual if there are any queries, feel free to message me on my tutor profile or e-mail me at khleslie@gmail (I'm sometimes too busy to check the GuruMe platform).
Oxford/Cambridge law course outline
In the first 2 terms, students take Roman Law, Criminal Law and Constitutional Law. Thereafter, the compulsory modules take for the 2nd and 3rd year include Contract, Tort, Land Law, EU Law, Jurisprudence, Trusts Law, Administrative Law.
In the third year, students can also choose 2 optional modules from many choices. These choices include IP Law, Commercial Law, Family Law, Medical Law and Ethics, Roman Law, Public International Law, Moral and Political Philosophy and others.
Oxford students are also required to research, complete and submit a paper on Jurisprudence which counts towards the final mark.
In Part IA, students take the same courses which are compulsory, namely Tort Law, Criminal Law, Civil Law, Constitutional Law, and Freshfields Legal Skills and Methodology – a half paper providing training in legal methodology and research.
In Part IB, students can now pick and choose which areas of law to study form a variety of options. Some of these options include: 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 Part II, there are once again options which may include: Equity, EU Law, Commercial Law, Public Law, Labour Law, Jurisprudence. Cambridge students 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, Law and Ethics of Medicine, Public Law, and Select Issues in International Law. Seminar classes consist of approximately ten to twelve people, with two tutors usually supervising them. Students are expected to make a presentation based on their dissertation subject to the group.
Additionally, Cambridge students can also choose to study for two half-papers. Half-papers tend to be in more specialist subjects, and these have ranged in recent years from Taxation and Landlord and Tenant Law through European Human Rights Law, Medical Law, Media Law, and English Legal History 1500–1700. Two half-papers make up one full paper. In these smaller subjects you have one lecture a week and no supervision.
Interview with a Cambridge student
Here is what a Cambridge student had to say about studying law at Cambridge:
The BA was a three-year course, which gives a very full overview of most areas of law. Whilst a four-year course could have allowed more content, I felt that I had sufficient time to do as many options as I wished. A longer course may actually have meant that I ended up studying more papers than interested me. Many of my friends were doing four-year courses, and since terms at Cambridge are only eight weeks long, it does pass very quickly, which was part of the reason that I applied to do an LLM for my “fourth” year.
I had four to five supervisions every two weeks, so almost one every other day. Moreover, my supervisors were always accessible via email, and work was returned to me promptly. I could always go and talk to one of my supervisors if I had a problem with an aspect of the course. Some subjects are “unsupervised”, such as half-papers and some less popular subjects in third year. However, seminars are still offered, and the lecturers are contactable by email.
My supervisors and lecturers were all highly qualified, most having written some of the leading textbooks and articles in the area. Supervisions were enormously helpful, as my supervisors provided a framework of the basic topics in each area. The lecture hand-outs were all available online as well. Occasionally, due to understaffing, some supervisors were recent graduates who did not necessarily have sufficient knowledge or expertise in their area.
All my topics were lectured on as I was being supervised. The libraries are well stocked with all of the textbooks that you need, and the reading lists are clear. Past exam papers and examiner reports are also online. Since supervisors and lecturers are not always identical, there was sometimes a mismatch between the content and the structure of lectures and supervisions.