Keele University is a campus university located near Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire, England. The University occupies a 617 acre rural campus close to the village of Keele and houses a Science Park and a conference centre. Founded in 1949, Keele is most notable for pioneering the dual honours degree in Britain. Keele’s reputation is certainly on the rise after being named O2’s campus of the year and being ranked 40th out of 109 institutions in the Times Good University Guide. The Law school was also ranked 25th out of 87 in the same survey.
The Law School itself has an international reputation and has a 5* A rating for research. Keele is best known for its dual honours programme where legal study can be combined with a wide range of subjects, enabling students to build a programme to match their needs and interests. But it offers the 'qualifying' Single Honours Law, Law with Criminology and Law with Politics LLB as well.
These were described as 'innovative and unique' by an external examiner in 2008. Students admitted to a Single Honours course can apply to study Dual Honours Law at the end of their first year if they wish. Equally, students admitted to the Dual Honours Law can transfer to the Single Honours pathway at the end of their first year and so gain professional exemption from Law Society exams provided they have fulfilled all other requirements.
The Law School is situated in The Chancellor's Building in the middle of campus. It has its own specialist Law library and the University has excellent online legal research facilities and online resources which enable staff and students to maintain the highest levels of scholarship.
In short loans, books are loaned for one day and must be returned by 11:30 the next day, but there are also one week and three week loans. Most of the time, books are easy to find and are in a good number, although during essay times, some books may be in high demand. There are some group study areas and private rooms, as well as large computer rooms and various clusters around the building.
There are around 36 members of academic staff in Keele Law School varying from seminar tutors completing their PhDs to senior lecturers and professors. The teaching is generally of a high quality and the staff are friendly and approachable. Some tutors are particularly helpful with revision, with specialised revision tutorials, checking sample answers and providing guide answers to practice questions.
Further learning support is provided through Keele's Virtual Learning Environment, with self-test quizzes generating feedback on a number of modules. Specific guidance in the form of additional workshops and one-on-one sessions are available across the Faculty.
The law course has recently undergone changes to provide greater flexibility in the choice of elective modules in the second and third years, in order to sustain Keele’s commitment to interdisciplinary study within a Single Honours LLB. These new modules are designed to further develop and broaden students’ methodology and theoretical and employability skills. They include ‘lawyers in society’, ‘law and ethics’ and ‘law in action’, which provides the opportunity to work with outside organisations like CABx.
There are four modules per semester. For each module in the first year, there are at least two hours of lectures a week and 8-10 hours of small group teaching per module per semester. This structure changes in the second and third years, with some modules consisting of a weekly in-depth two hour seminar. In addition to direct class contact some work is delivered online. There is roughly about 10-12 hours a week of formal teaching, but much more is needed during self-study.
The size of seminars can vary enormously, although they tend to have about 12-15 people in them. Teaching styles differ among tutors and although all seminars (and some lectures) require you to contribute as much as you are able to in class. There is always a supportive atmosphere in these seminars, with the emphasis on participation and students not criticised for the ‘wrong’ answer or ‘silly’ question.
Keele University is located within 600 acres of stunning parklands, woodlands, fields and lakes, making Keele probably one of the UK’s most beautiful campuses. Although, some of the architecture ranges from brand new buildings to an old hall, there are also some ageing 1960s buildings. Although this peaceful, quiet location may not suit those who hanker for city life, good transport links enable many students to strike the balance they are looking for.
The campus itself boasts good facilities for students including a number of shops and restaurants on campus. On the main part of campus there is a Newsagent, a Waterstones, the student union shop and a small supermarket.
Outside the University is the tiny village of Keele, an extremely quiet place that consists of no more than a few houses and a pub. However, Keele is situated close to the town of Newcastle-Under-Lyme and also the city of Stoke-On-Trent. Both of these can be easily reached via excellent bus links, which students can take advantage of at a reduced fare.
Newcastle–under-Lyme (10 minutes away) has the usual amenities of a modern cinema complex, diverse restaurants, cafes, a museum, parks and a theatre. There are also plenty of bars and clubs, which are particularly popular amongst Keele students due to the location. However, for better shopping and nightlife, venture to nearby Hanley.
Keele University is not an overly expensive university. Tutorial charges for UK and EU students are currently £3,145 for each year of study for all of its undergraduate degree courses. Course books are available in the library, although many people choose to buy their own (usually around £25). 'Many Law modules offer dedicated course packs compiled by staff and charged to students at cost (between £3 and £10). Increasingly, much of the core reading material is placed on the Virtual Learning Environment.
Prices for the Student Union vary on the night and are always changing. However, in general, the cost of admission is between £3-4.50 and drinks are reasonably priced. Joining societies usually costs around £3.
The cost of accommodation can vary a large amount depending on the type of room and halls of residence chosen. It is usually pretty easy to get accommodation on campus and is guaranteed for First year and Third year students. There are five halls of residence on the Keele campus. Barnes, Lindsay, Horwood, Holly Cross and the Oaks – all have their own facilities usually including a bar, shop and laundrette.
The careers centre is strong and is able to be used by graduates for up to five years after leaving. There are two careers advisers, one of them a specialist in law whom both operate on a drp-in and appointment basis. However, it can be difficult to get appointments due to the high demand for them.
There is help with CV writing, applying for the LPC/BVC/work experience and training contracts/pupillages. Furthermore, they always have plenty free copies of various useful legal careers books.
The Law School maintains strong links with the legal profession including Fiona Woolf, past president of the Law Society and a Keele graduate and regional high court judges. Regular events enable current students to meet key figures in the legal profession in order for them to develop their own understanding of practice and make connections with potential employers.
Times Law School ranking:
Guardian School Law ranking:
|340-360 UCAS points
£3145 per year
University of Keele
01782 621 111
01782 583 228
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