Dec 18, 2022

Written By Emily Peyton

Can I do law as a joint honours degree?

Dec 18, 2022

Written By Emily Peyton

Joint honours degrees are becoming increasingly popular and are now offered at most universities, so are definitely worth considering if you want to pursue other interests alongside law or take a less conventional route.

What is a joint honours degree?

Studying a joint honours law degree, also known as a dual honours or ‘combined’ degree allows you to study two subjects at the same time. Many last four years rather than three years like a traditional law course, with your third year spent abroad or possibly on a work placement.

You may wonder if this means that there is twice as much work as a traditional law course. This is not at all the case! This misconception may stem from dual honours being mixed up with double degrees (where you earn two separate degrees simultaneously, often at different partner institutions) because of the crossover in the way they are both described.

What subjects can I study as part of a joint honours law degree?

There is a wide range of subjects that can be studied alongside law, with some of the most common being languages, both because of the practical benefits and the year abroad that usually comes with it. Other popular joint honours degrees include:

- Law with Business

- Law and Economics

- Law with Finance

- Law with International relations

-  Law with Politics

- Law and Sociology

- Law and Anthropology

- Law with Criminology

- Law and Psychology

- Law and History

- English Law and Spanish/American/French Law

Some Universities also offer less common pairings, such as Law with Computer Science, Law and Music, or Law and Linguistics to name a few.

While there are no specific A-Level (or equivalent) subjects for a traditional law degree, for joint honours with languages, universities often require an A-Level in that language, and even a specific grade, to ensure you are capable of successfully undertaking both subjects at the same time.

This is not the case everywhere, so you should check the entry requirements section on each university’s website for the course you are thinking about.

Make sure to look at universities’ websites to check what joint honours law courses it offers and what type of degree each course is, as it can differ depending on the university.

What should I look for in a joint honours law degree?

Beyond personal preference as to what subject you do with law and which university you want to go to; you will need to pay attention to whether the joint honours law course you are considering is a qualifying law degree. In practice this is typically an LLB (Bachelor of Laws), while a non-qualifying law degree is commonly a BA (Bachelor of Arts).

A qualifying law degree will allow you to embark on the next stage of becoming a barrister by starting a Bar course without needing to complete any extra stages like the law conversion course, also known as the Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL). It also means that aspiring solicitors won’t need as much additional preparation for the SQE exams.

There are seven compulsory modules that make up a qualifying law degree. This means that you will be limited when it comes to choosing modules for your degree and shaping your studies. This is even more so the case for dual honours courses, as they often come with compulsory units for whichever other subject you decide to study.

In this case, you may want to weigh up the straightforwardness of the LLB compared to the freedom that a BA may afford you when it comes to choosing a joint honours course.

Other things to consider

Joint honour law degrees can be more competitive than their single honours counterparts as they tend to be much smaller courses, so fewer spaces are offered by universities. Don’t let this discourage you though, as there is also a much smaller number of applicants.

Four-year joint honours degrees will be more expensive, as you’ll have to pay an additional year of university fees, living and travel expenses. However, this is not solely because it is a joint honours course, as all four-year courses or those with opportunities to study abroad will cost more than a standard three-year course.

Something you should also remember is that a ‘law with’ degree is different from a ‘law and’ degree. Law with xyz means the course content is 70% law, while law and xyz means the course content is split 50:50.


Is a joint honours law degree worth it?

Undoubtedly so! Many employers (within the legal profession and beyond) greatly value a joint honours degree, as it shows you are well-rounded and possess transferable skills. You may also find that law and your other subject choice overlap in an interesting way that creates a niche or specialisation you want to pursue.

For those who choose to study law with a foreign language, keeping that skill polished will always be beneficial but especially for larger, international law firms whose clients and work span multiple jurisdictions.

That being said, deciding whether to do a dual honours law degree should not be solely based on career prospects. You should also ask yourself whether you would enjoy moving between diverse topics and be able to divide your attention between different faculties, learning styles and even ways of thinking.


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