As well as being renowned for its’ Engineering and Medical schools, Southampton University is also one of the very top places in the UK to study Law. Government awards place it as having the highest possible ratings for both teaching (Quality Assurance Agency) and legal research (Research Assessment Rating).
However important awards are, it is about the whole package. For Southampton, the entry requirements for law are 3 As at A-level, a clear indication that the School commands a great amount of respect amongst other institutions.
The law faculty itself is housed in one single building, containing seminar and lecture rooms, as well as its own computer suite. This is extremely useful for any student, particularly early on in your 1st year; at least you can narrow down your search to the right building if you ever get lost!
The only exception is for some lectures they are housed in the Engineering building. Once you get inside you begin to understand why; the facilities are excellent for lecturing. The Common Room in the building itself houses pigeon holes for all students and is used by staff to post notices about each individual course.
As a result, it is very easy to find out if anything new is happening in any of your courses. The room is also used by students themselves, and the various law related societies to place information about anything, from events to books for sale.
The Law section of the library covers half of one whole floor, a truly vast area of books, so many in fact that the law section has its own separate codes so that students can track down the exact book that they need. Every book you could ever need is housed there, and the computer system will help you search for exactly the book you want if you are unable to track it down yourself.
Books themselves are updated regularly, and there are usually several copies of books that are popular with students, insuring that it is very unlikely that a particular book is out of stock. The library is also a great place for working; there are plentiful desks and private booths so that you can work silently and without distraction.
Southampton Law School has a wonderful array of teaching staff, always ready to help any student that knocks on their door. Each student has his or her own tutor to help with any issues that may arise on the course.
Any worries about a particular test or piece of work, or even if you simply want to talk something over, they will be glad to help. This is a very good system and it helps students to keep their heads if the course gets tough.
With regards to teaching, there are a myriad of staff that each have their own specialist areas. Usually for each subject there are 2-3 lectures each week, coupled with 1 seminar per week (in which the subjects arising in that weeks lectures are considered in more detail).
The staff that teach the various areas vary in quantity. For example, Constitutional Law has a specialist lecturer to deal with the often tricky issues relating the EU law, and then a separate seminar teacher to compliment it.
In terms of hours per week, compulsary attendance at lectures and tutorials takes up to around 12-15 hours per week depending on the semester. The 9am lectures being a particular challenge on occasions, 9am never looks good if you have been out enjoying yourself! On top of that, the course requires around 40 hours a week total to work, around 8 hours for each subject per week.
Although this may seem like a great deal, in reality it is the norm for any top law course. Although every subject is taught to a very high standard, Southampton has a fantastic Maritime Department that is possibly the best in the whole country.
The school is located on the main Highfield campus, which is extremely handy considering the library is only 1 min away. It is around 10 minutes bus journey from the city centre, or if your prefer a more scenic route, the campus also has links through Southampton Common, particularly nice in the summer.
Southampton itself is a great place to study and live, boasting a stunning amount of things to do and see, as well as keeping the feel of a city half its size. Leisure World, located in the centre of town, is a massive complex containing a cinema, restaurants and nightclubs, a great place for a night out.
Or if you fancy perhaps a cheaper film viewing then the Highfield campus has its own cinema and for only £3 per film. The massive West Quay shopping centre has every type of shop that you could ever want.
Southampton is a comparatively cheap city to live in, and this is reflected in the cost of living. In terms of accommodation for a top notch room with an en-suite the costs are around £3300 for the year; fairly good when you consider each accommodation block has its own bar and most are within walking distance of the Highfield campus.
Membership to clubs and societies are cheap, around £15 for the whole year for the law societies. Another example of the low monetary costs is the gym on campus. It includes a fully equipped weights and machine room, sports hall and 25m swimming pool, all for around £140 for the whole year. For gym membership, that is an excellent price.
In terms of careers advice and support, the law school is excellent. It gives students opportunities to meet and make contact with almost every important law firm in the country through various events and open days. If you add that to the society trips to solicitors and barrister inns, as well as a constant stream of information about career opportunities through university email, the school gives you every opportunity to meet people that may help you in your later career.
If you want to take a pupillage over holiday periods as well, then the careers service and the law school has excellent links both in Southampton and London, enabling you to get experience of the law in action on a day to day basis.
Times Law School ranking:
Guardian School Law ranking:
£3145 per year
University of Southampton
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