University College London, having been established in 1826, was the first university to accept undergraduates regardless of race, religion, gender or class. It is also the third oldest university in England, younger only than Oxbridge.
The law faculty at UCL has always been held in high regard. It always does exceptionally well in official rankings (e.g. Times Good University Guide, Guardian Guide) and its research scores the highest grade possible, 5*A, on many occasions.
As grading becomes more stringent and as more universities fight for top rankings, UCL does well every year and strives to keep its status and improve where possible, adapting and maintaining standards as it sees fit. Due to its reputation the faculty requires each applicant to sit the LNAT (National Admissions Test for Law).
The law faculty has its own building in the heart of Bloomsbury, aptly named Bentham House; it is a picturesque, historic and tall building. It is equipped with ramps and an elevator to accommodate disabled students. Although Bloomsbury is a very safe, quiet and relaxing place there are advanced, digital security barriers at the entrance of the faculty and a security guard is present at all times.
To cater for students’ needs there is a café in the faculty basement for exclusive use of Bentham House users. To further cater for students’ needs there are two large computer cluster rooms in the basement where law students may print off work and cases free of charge.
Regarding lecture theatres, the main lecture theatre is situated in the basement of Bentham House which can hold up to 100 students at a time. Seminars are usually held here. Lectures, which the entire year attend, are held in other UCL Buildings (not Bentham House), however due to UCL’s close-knit campus-style building arrangement, these buildings are never more than a 5 minute walk from Bentham House.
The law library is situated in the main UCL library, a stone’s throw from Bentham House. The law library has recently been moved to one of the grandest rooms within the very majestic UCL library and has ample and up-to-date law books, guides and law reports. Due to the importance of the law library in particular, its own specifically trained librarian who can help students if they have any issues.
Photocopying facilities are everywhere within the library as well as further computer cluster rooms. To further help students, each law student at UCL has access to two of the world’s best legal databases (Westlaw and LexisNexis) containing all the important cases, statutes, and reports, invaluable to today’s lawyer.
Like many other law faculties, UCL takes mooting (mock-court scenarios) very seriously. As such, UCL has its own moot court room in Bentham House, a literal model of a modern court room, a great place to argue with your peers.
UCL always ranks very highly regarding student:staff ratio in official rankings and the law faculty reflects this. Each student has their own personal tutor, assigned to them at the start of their degree and who remains their personal tutor throughout their time at UCL.
Furthermore, UCL encourages personal interaction with lecturers with the adoption of the tutorial system explained above. The quality of the staff is absolutely outstanding, with many of the lecturers well renowned in their areas of teaching.
Those who study the 3 year LLB course will have about 15 hours of lectures/seminars and tutorials combined per week in the first year, rising to just under 20 in the second year; this is because they study 4 modules in the first year and 5 in the second.
The faculty is renowned for having a strong jurisprudence aspect, with the likes of Ronald Dworkin teaching within the faculty. There is a strong human rights support group within the faculty who hold regular lectures and invite eminent speakers and lecturers to the faculty on a regular basis.
The UCL law faculty is a very close-knit place to be. It is not like any other faculty in the university or even the world with much emphasis on so much small-group learning and achievement. With this work ethic, along with the personal tutor’s support, the level of support within the faculty is excellent.
UCL, along with Bentham House, is situated in the central London area of Bloomsbury. It may seem unbelievable but Bloomsbury is a very quiet, relaxing place, and due to UCL’s layout it feels more like a campus than a city. Obviously with London on your doorstep the opportunities are endless regarding things to do; there is the West End, numerous free museums, theatres, opera, ballet, countless shops and cinemas.
One of the best things about London is that its transport system runs 24 hours a day, and furthermore some shops are open around the clock so you never feel cut off, even if you crave a sandwich at 4am. 80% of the student accommodation is within 5 minutes walking distance of UCL.
Although central London is, in parts, very fast paced (e.g. in the City, Oxford Street, Camden Town) Bloomsbury is, on the contrary, a haven for students to work and socialise in relative peace and quiet.
The cost of London usually puts many people off studying here. However, you do get a higher maintenance loan per annum than anywhere else in England, see http://www.slc.co.uk. Accommodation does cost a fair bit more than anywhere else in England, usually between 100 and 130 pounds per week.
However, if you weigh up the pros and cons of the situation you should see that a qualification from UCL opens innumerable doors, you have first-hand contact with solicitors and barristers in London (which is priceless) on a regular basis and your degree carries with it a great amount of prestige.
Although you may be in slightly more debt after your degree, the pros of living in London, with what it has to offer, arguably outweigh the cons.
Other costs in London are similar to the rest of Britain, transport is relatively cheap (90p for a bus ride anywhere in London, and £1.50 to use the tube) and food isn’t extortionate. Just like all students you do need to budget, but that’s the all part of the student experience.
There are loads of opportunities to have a cheap, fun night out. The union offers reduced priced drinks (usually just under £2 a pint) and there are student nights nearly every night (either in the union or elsewhere in different clubs) where drinks are incredibly cheap. There are some very expensive clubs in London but students don’t tend to mingle there unless they want to see famous people.
The Careers Secretary organises career-centric nights held every week, usually a different law firm comes in every week to promote their firm and area of work. This is usually solicitor-based careers (including a bit of investment banking).
For those who are interested in becoming a barrister, the Bar Vocational Officer organises events where barristers come in to speak and mingle, including a barristers’ cocktail party. Furthermore there is a law fair held every year where law firms set up stalls in the UCL main building to promote their firms.
Times Law School ranking:
Guardian School Law ranking:
£3145 per year
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