Entry Requirements for a Law and Politics Degree in the UK
- British students take A-level exams aged 18. Each A-level consists of a single subject (e.g. math, English literature), and most students take up to four separate subjects. A student who wishes to focus on science might take math, chemistry and physics, while combinations such as English, history and politics are also popular. They are marked on a scale of A,B,C,D,E, U (unmarked).
Top universities such as Oxford or Bristol generally require three A-level exams. Students apply in March for entry the next year, and universities make an offer of a place based on a student's expected results. Thus a student might be offered a place provided they achieve two Bs and a C on A-levels. A top university might only accept three As, while others will accept three Cs.
The Universities and Careers Admissions Service (UCAS) translates A-level results into points. A university may offer a student a place if he gains 360 points, for example. It doesn't matter how students achieve this total, as long as their results add up.
For law and politics, A-levels in humanities subjects are generally required, such as history or English literature. However, most offers aren't specific; students can be accepted with science A-levels or even A-levels such as drama, provided they can prove their relevance to the course.
National Admission Test
- Some universities in the United Kingdom require prospective law students to take a Legal National Admission Test (LNAT). This is an online aptitude test assessing verbal reasoning skills and essay-writing ability. Scores can range up to 30 for performance; top law schools demand 25 points or more.
- All students apply through UCAS. Part of the process involves writing a personal statement, in which the student sets out her reasons for wanting to study law or politics and supports her application with evidence of involvement in political or debating societies, for example. Admissions staff members pay close attention to the personal statement and much care must be put into writing it.
Oxford and Cambridge have additional admission processes, including a separate personal statement and an interview.
Other qualifications are also accepted by most universities. These include the International Baccalaureate (a French qualification test often taken at international schools), Scottish Highers (the Scottish equivalent of A-levels), or National Vocational Qualifications (a practical certificate gained after experience in an industry).