Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

Subject area: Law

Why choose Law at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We're ranked in the world's top 25 universities for law in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.

  • Studying in Scotland’s capital, you will be at the heart of Edinburgh’s legal centre, with the highest courts in Scotland a five-minute walk away. You will also benefit from access to some of the best academic law materials in Europe in our law library.

  • You will join a supportive law community and be assigned to a LawPALS group – our peer assisted learning scheme, which is designed to help you adapt to the study of law.

  • Edinburgh Law School has been educating and training some of the world’s finest legal minds for more than 300 years.

  • In Year 3, you will have the opportunity to go to one of our partner universities in Europe, the Far East or the USA.

  • You will have the opportunity to contribute to the Edinburgh Student Law Review. Managed and written by students, the Review aims to provide a forum for law students to engage with current legal issues and debates.

Study abroad

The programme is very challenging and prospective employers in my field are aware of that. If I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere!

Julita Burgess 2nd year LLB Law (Graduate Entry)
Julita Burgess 2nd year LLB Law (Graduate Entry)

Our Law School has a strong international reputation for research and our teaching staff offer expertise across a wide range of legal fields. There is a vibrant law student community, which organises many social, careers and other law-related events.

Our Bachelor of Laws (LLB) programmes will teach you the general principles of law and how to apply them to specific situations and cases. You will develop analytical skills and legal research skills and learn how to present an argument clearly, accurately and persuasively.

There are two facets to the study of law. Firstly, it is an academic discipline, which is studied with a view to furthering modern understanding of its origins and growth, and its interaction with related disciplines including those such as economics, politics, sociology and history. Concepts such as the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession, and access to justice for all, are at the heart of legal study.

Secondly, law has a practical aspect which is studied with a view to enabling you to become a practising solicitor or advocate. Accurate problem solving and understanding of the structures of our society, which result from the study of law, are highly valued skills.

As a law student, you will learn about the formal structures of our society and the role of law in shaping society.


Our LLB programmes are accredited by the Law Society of Scotland. You will be required to study certain courses to graduate with a fully qualifying degree.

Scots law

At Edinburgh you will study Scots law. Students interested in practising law in England or Wales may not benefit from studying law in Scotland as there are significant differences between Scots and English law.

International students who wish to undertake the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, with a view to qualifying as a solicitor in Scotland, should be aware of the need to meet the appropriate visa requirements. The salary threshold for a Scottish law firm to sponsor a tier 2 visa for a trainee/solicitor was £24,700 in 2016, which is significantly more than a first year trainee’s recommended salary.

For further advice, please see the Law Society of Scotland’s guidance.

Applying for the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice

Joint honours

Law is offered with a range of other subjects. If you intend to proceed to qualification as a lawyer in Scotland, please contact the School to check if your chosen joint honours programme allows you to cover all required fields for progression.

Year 1

You will be introduced to general legal principles and legal techniques and will study compulsory courses including Scottish Legal System, Critical Legal Thinking, Contract Law, Family Law, Public Law of the UK and Scotland, and European Union Law.

Year 2

Your courses will include Property Law, Jurisprudence, Public Law and Individual Rights, Delict, and Criminal Law. Business Entities, Commercial Law, Evidence and Succession and Trust Law are required for professional purposes.

Year 3

You will have the opportunity to specialise in further law subjects, chosen from a wide range of courses, including Commercial Law, International Law, Property Law, Family Law and Criminology. You will receive legal skills training during your honours study.

If you are studying law with a language you will spend Year 3 abroad. For other students, study abroad is an option.

Year 3 is the final stage of the LLB (Ordinary) programme.

Year 4

You choose further courses to expand your specialist knowledge, and normally write a dissertation. This will help you develop your legal research and writing skills. This is the final year of the LLB (Hons) programme.

If you are planning to enter the Scottish legal profession, you will need to complete the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice after you graduate. You can apply for the diploma during the final year of the LLB programme.

Are there additional costs?


Our facilities

Teaching mostly takes place within the University's Central Area.

Study abroad

We have a wide range of international links and there are many opportunities for study abroad in Year 3. We run exchange schemes with partner universities in Europe, the Far East and North and South America.

Some of our programmes require a degree of language ability as you will be taught in the language of the host country. This includes France, Germany, Spain and Chile.

However, we also operate several exchanges in Europe (including Austria, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands), North America (the USA and Canada), Australasia and the Far East (Singapore and Hong Kong), where your study abroad will be taught in English.

How will I learn?

Large group lectures are complemented by small study groups in Years 1 and 2, while classes are taught by way of round-table seminars in Years 3 and 4. All Year 1 students have access to Edinburgh's Law Peer-Assisted Learning Scheme (Law PALS) and the Mooting Society provides you with opportunities to learn and practise courtroom skills.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by a combination of coursework and exams.

After graduating you can progress to the legal profession in Scotland by completing the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, followed by a traineeship with a legal firm, to qualify as a solicitor.

You can then opt to go to the Bar, to qualify as an advocate. There are also opportunities for Scottish-qualified lawyers to practise in other jurisdictions, including other member states of the European Union.

Graduates who do not choose a legal career often use their skills and experience for employment in finance, management or journalism or with international organisations such as the European Union and the United Nations.