Lancaster University, founded in 1964, is a collegiate campus-based university about fifteen-minutes car journey out from the centre of Lancaster. With a student body of approximately 16,500, Lancaster is markedly smaller than other institutions in the region such as Manchester or the University of Central Lancashire, each with a student body of approximately 32,000.
The collegiate system at Lancaster helps to break the 16,500 down further, by providing centres for socialising in the nine colleges. Prospective students can consequently expect to socialise not only with those on their course, and in societies, but also other members of their college. The University campus is currently undergoing a £200 Million redevelopment of its accommodation, lecture theatres, teaching rooms and grounds. The campus enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in the country.
All major league tables record Lancaster University as one of the top 20 institutions in the country, and top in the Northwest. The Times Good University Guide 2009 places Lancaster eight places higher than in 2008, ranking 19th, ahead of Manchester University (27th), Liverpool University (34th), and The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) (63rd).
The department offices, housing academic and administrative staff, occupy one floor of a newly constructed building. Lectures take place across the University Campus, and are dependent upon the timetabling of other subjects. However, many seminars take place in newly refurbished rooms not far from the law offices.
Almost all course handbooks, lecture and seminar handouts are made available online, alongside announcements via LUVLE (Lancaster University Virtual Learning Environment). LUVLE can be accessed both on campus, by the large network of computers, and off campus by students’ computers.
The University Library houses a sizeable law section occupying approximately one-fifth of the entire selection of books available. Any books that are not available are accessible through the inter-library lending system from other institutions.
The department retains around 25 academic staff with specialisations ranging from commercial to human rights law, as well as being an outstanding centre of feminist and other socio-legal research. Members of the academic staff have won, and others have been short listed for, a variety of teaching awards. Prospective students should expect 8-10 hours of lectures, and 3-4 hours of seminars per week. Most modules conduct fortnightly seminars.
Lecture and seminar sizes for compulsory courses remain fairly constant year on year with the entire year attending lectures (160 students), and between 12-15 students in each seminar group. For optional modules numbers will obviously vary, although seminar sizes do not tend to exceed 15 students or drop below 5.
Students are expected to spend a minimum of 10 hours per module per week on individual study, although this number varies, normally upwards, particularly around coursework deadlines. Each year of study consists of four modules, or eight halves, or any combination thereof, balanced across the two teaching terms (summer term is primarily reserved for examinations).
Whilst Lancaster is not a large city, it still has many clubs and pubs targeted at students, each running their own student nights. The Student Union, the Sugarhouse, is based in the city centre and is regularly used by clubs and societies and are frequented by much of the student body.
Students will find most familiar high street shops in the city and can always travel to the nearby Trafford Shopping Centre if they are in need of something on a much larger scale.
The University campus and City Centre are easily accessible via the M6 Motorway. With access from Lancaster City Centre to Manchester Piccadilly by train in around 1 hour 15minutes, and London Euston in around 3hours, larger cities are within easy reach.
Lancaster University charges the standard maximum tuition fee (£3,145) for UK students. Whilst all course core textbooks will be available from the library in small numbers, to ensure ready and reliable availability of such books many students buy their own.
As for the cost of books, it would not be unreasonable to set aside £200 for the purpose of purchasing textbooks each year(assuming that each book costs around £35 and each student may purchase 6 books as a minimum). The Waterstones shop on campus will stock core textbooks, but students are advised to not risk the rush and buy early, or from another vendor.
A forty-week lease for accommodation on campus, where all first years will be staying, ranges from £88.20-£97.30 per week dependent on the accommodation and the college, with bills inclusive and many with en-suite facilities.
Off-campus accommodation is available from private landlords, and through the LUSU (Lancaster University Student Union) with prices ranging from £49.50 for a forty-week lease (bills exclusive) to £70 for a fifty-week lease (bills exclusive) per week depending on the landlord and the size of the accommodation.
A return bus ticket from campus will cost around £2.00. Bus passes are also available from the Stagecoach website and office at Lancaster’s main bus station. The passes are excellent value for money if you will be travelling in and out of campus on a daily basis. Passes are available for 1, 2 or 3 terms, or for the whole year (a 3-term pass excludes the summer break).
The 9 College Bars on campus, alongside several coffee shops, small restaurants, bakeries and a take-away cater for most tastes and provide affordable nights out. Students will also find prices in Lancaster’s many pubs and clubs quite cheap, especially if they go on a student night. The City Centre also has the many familiar restaurant chains and shops present.
Whilst the University Law Society provides careers packs and helps students augment their CV, a careers centre runs full-time on campus running workshops to improve CV construction, prepare for interviews, and apply for graduate jobs.
Aside from law society support and information given by the Law School office, students are left to fend for themselves when it comes to organising placements and mini-pupilages. The Law School and Society do have ties with the College of Law and several local and national firms but it is up to the individual student to attend any events organised.
Times Law School ranking:
Guardian School Law ranking:
£3175 per year
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