There are around 45 students in total reading Law at Wadham. Normally about 10 students are admitted every year for the undergraduate degrees in Law and Law with Law Studies in Europe. We aim to have around 15 graduates in a given year reading for the BCL, MJur, MSt, MPhil and DPhil in Law; the MSc and DPhil in Criminology; and Erasmus students from other EU jurisdictions for the Diploma in Legal Studies. While we welcome applications from graduates to read Law as a second BA, we do not accept applications to take the degree in two years. We are unfortunately unable to accept visiting students.
BA (Hons) Law
BA (Hons) Law with Law Studies in Europe
With regard to undergraduate admissions, our policy regarding subjects studied at school—like that of the Law Faculty—is that you are free to choose your own subjects. We welcome both arts and science subjects. Strictly academic subjects are preferable as they provide the best preparation for the demands of reading Law in Oxford. Our offer is based on three A-levels or equivalent. Usually this offer will not include General Studies. Nor will it include a language which is the candidate's native language, even if it is examined as a foreign language. We may sometimes require an A in particular subject(s) you have studied as part of the offer.
We do not test candidates for prior knowledge of any aspect of the law, which in any case confers no advantage in admissions or in the degree. We consider the entire application to assess academic ability and potential for studying law at Oxford. In particular, we look for a candidate’s ability and potential to work hard, reason critically, and communicate effectively. We consider applications for deferred entry from candidates who have constructive plans for their gap year, which will keep their academic skills honed.
Information about funding support for your degree is available here.
Law is an unusual subject for a university degree in that the overwhelming majority of students have not previously studied it. The courses are therefore designed for those starting from scratch. The title of the Oxford undergraduate BA degree—Jurisprudence—is an old-fashioned word derived from Latin. However, Jurisprudence (or the philosophy of law) is one of the compulsory courses for the BA degree at Oxford.
Our primary method of teaching is in tutorials comprising groups of two or three students. The focus is on an in-depth and critical treatment of the topics studied. This sometimes means we cover a slightly smaller range of topics. Oxford law undergraduates have written examinations in three courses at the end of their second term and a further nine at the end of their final year. Students are also required to write an extended essay on a topic in Jurisprudence over the summer break after their second year as part of their overall evaluation. A full list of courses offered is available here.
Law students are expected to work hard at Oxford. Expect to read more than you have ever before, make good notes, write weekly tutorial essays, and moot occasionally. Although the workload is demanding, people seem to manage it.
Wadham's law library is very well stocked and is always open; electronic law databases can also be accessed from anywhere in College. The Law Faculty and Library are about a 5-minute walk away.
A student's perspective
Wadham has a strong presence in law at Oxford. It currently has four Tutorial Fellows (Dr. Tarun Khaitan, Dr. Sandy Steel, Mr. Samuel Williams and Mr. Oliver Butler), a Senior Research Fellow (Ms. Laura Hoyano), an Emeritus Fellow (Mr. Jeffrey Hackney) and an Honorary Fellow (Professor Sir Frank Berman).Undergraduate Prospectus Oxford Law
Dr. Khaitan teaches and publishes in jurisprudence, (British and Indian) public law and human rights, with a specialist focus on discrimination law. Sandy Steel teaches and researches in tort, contract and jurisprudence. Samuel Williams researches Trusts and Unjust Enrichment, and teaches Trusts, Land, Contract, Criminal law, and Commercial Remedies. Ms. Hoyano researches tort, human rights, evidence law and medical law and ethics, and has a specialist interest in child abuse and vulnerable witnesses. Mr. Hackney retired from his tutorial fellowship a few years ago, but continues to teach for us and to play an active role with our students. Sir Frank Berman is the Visiting Professor in International Law at the Law Faculty in Oxford. In addition, the Warden of the college, Lord Macdonald QC, is a prominent human rights barrister and former Director of Public Prosecutions.
Most of our law students become professional lawyers (barristers or solicitors), but law is a stepping stone to a very wide range of careers and our students take full advantage of that. Should you want to talk about potential careers in the law, your tutors and the former members in the College Law Society are always available to give advice. Each year some of our students go on to further study, often remaining at Wadham.
The Wadham Law Society
The College has an active Law Society run by our students. There is also a senior section of the society, run principally by the old members, which takes an active part in the organisation of trips and raises money to subsidise social activities and, for example, the law collection in the College Library. Many of these non-resident members are happy to advise them on careers in law. The current President of the Society is Master of Rolls, Lord Dyson.