Jan 13, 2023

Written By Toby Clyde

What A-Levels are needed for law at Oxford?

Jan 13, 2023

Written By Toby Clyde

Applying to study law at Oxford is a long process. On top of your personal statement, a reference and the LNAT, you’ll also need good A-level grades. But, what are the best A-levels to study? And what if you don’t meet the admissions requirements? This article will take you through the basics, as well as a big new change to applying to read law (otherwise known as a BA in Jurisprudence) at Oxford.

The basics

No matter what you study at A-level, you’ll need to meet the entrance requirements. Currently, this is three As. However, there is now an important exception to these requirements, the Astrophoria Foundation Year, this is covered later in the article.

There are no required A-level subjects if you’re applying for the standard Course I. However, Oxford also offers a smaller number of places for Course II, Law with Law Studies in Europe. This is a four-year course with a third year abroad, so you’ll need to have studied a relevant language at A-level.

In either case, the university does suggest that at least one of your A-levels is an essay subject, like History or English Literature. Again, it’s not required but given that the course requires strong writing and verbal reasoning skills, you’ll find the essay practice very useful.

Studying law at A-level isn’t compulsory either, nor is it going to give you much of an edge over other students at the start of the course. If it’s something your school or college offers and you think you would enjoy it, then go ahead. Otherwise, there’s no need to worry.

A-levels aren’t the only option; other equivalent UK and international qualifications are also accepted. However, it’s best to check the Oxford University website directly for the exact details.

Should I do more than three A-levels?

Of course, while three As are the minimum grades required, you might be wondering if it’s actually necessary to do more than three A-levels, or to achieve (or be predicted to achieve) above this minimum. The short answer is no. You won’t be penalised for only meeting the basic requirements.

Part of why applying to study law at Oxford requires so much extra work, from the interview to the LNAT, is to allow colleges to assess more than just your grades. They’re looking for a broad range of verbal reasoning, logical thinking and essay writing skills, in addition to a genuine passion for the subject.

Your grades aren’t assessed in isolation either. Oxford looks at a range of contextual data to understand what those academic achievements mean in practice. This includes information about your school, neighbourhood, eligibility for Free School Meals since age 11, and, in particular, experience in care.

This means that applicants from the most disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to be shortlisted for an interview. However, this only applies if you are still predicted to meet the standard conditional offer (in this case, three As) and that you perform to ‘an appropriate standard’ on the LNAT.

With one new and significant exception.

Astrophoria Foundation Year

For the first time, Oxford is now offering a free Foundation Year in Law course. It is intended to give students a way into law at Oxford even if, because of personal or educational circumstances, they are unlikely to meet the course requirements.

As long as you meet the eligibility criteria, the academic standard is more forgiving: three Bs at A-level. The course is completely free, as is accommodation which will be provided by the college you are allocated to. A bursary is also provided to cover living costs.

The course is open to UK state school students normally resident in the UK who also meet the eligibility criteria. If you can, this is well worth applying to. Even better, applicants also have much more time to apply: the deadline is a few months later than the usual undergraduate one in October.


In summary, grades aren’t everything. Don’t stress too much about exactly which A-levels you pick and focus on getting those three As, or Bs if you’re eligible for the foundation year. If you are truly committed to law and suited to the unique demands of an Oxford degree, there is no need to worry.



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