Do I need a Law Degree? Level 6 Options (Part 2)

Dec 15, 2022 - Legal, Industry Insights

In the first part of the ‘Do I need a Law Degree to Be a Lawyer?’ series, we covered the different routes into law. Part 2 will be covering the Level 6 qualifications you can take to get into law. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started!

Undergraduate Law Degree (LLB or BA Law)

This is potentially the most common option for wannabe lawyers. And that’s not without its reasons. A law degree can provide you with foundational knowledge, allowing you to gain a greater understanding of the industry you want to work in, as well as more in-depth knowledge. 

There are actually two types of law degrees; qualifying (LLB) and non-qualifying (BA). When the Legal Practice Course (LPC) was your only route into becoming a solicitor, this distinction mattered because taking the LLB meant you didn’t need a law conversion master's degree (LLM or MA Conversion) to continue on your path to becoming a lawyer. However, the plan is for the LPC to be phased out by 2032.

The introduction of the Solicitor’s Qualifying Exam (SQE) has created a more flexible route; whether you take a qualifying LLB degree or a non-qualifying BA degree is no longer relevant when becoming a solicitor or a chartered legal executive, as the SQE’s only entry requirement is a Level 6 qualification - the subject of that qualification doesn’t matter. Check out our ‘Do I need a Law Degree? Level 7 Options’ for more on the SQE - coming in the New Year!

As an added note, if you want to be a Barrister, you’ll still need a qualifying LLB or Law Conversion Master's degree, so bear that in mind when thinking through your options.

So let's start looking into a breakdown of what a Law Degree entails…

Professional Title upon Completion



UCAS Application Fees: £22.50 for a single university choice, or £27 for more than one choice for 2023 (Filling in Your UCAS Application)

LNAT Test Fees: £75 for 2022 (LNAT - Paying for Your Test

Tuition Fees: £6,450 - £11,100 per year with reduced fees for placements and study abroad (Fee Limits - Office for Students)

University Halls: £155 - £259 per week (Uni Accommodation Costs, The Complete University Guide)

Living Costs: £924 per month average (Student Living Costs 2022, Save The Student)

Cost Per Year

Assuming a 52 week contract for student halls (though most are between 40 and 46), 12 months of living costs, and that you are not attending The Open University which has lower than average tuition fees (at £6,450).

Upper Costs: £35,656

Lower Costs: £28,398

Length of Time
(Full Time Study)

Accelerated Degree: 2 years

Undergraduate Degree: 3 years

Degree with Foundation Year: 4 years

With a placement/study abroad: 4 years

With Foundation and industry/study abroad: 5 years

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs with grades 9 - 4 (A* - C) or equivalent, including English and Maths.

104 - 144 UCAS Tariff Points, with 128 points (or ABB grades at A-Level) being the average.

However, some universities don’t accept certain subjects, such as PE or photography, so be sure to look out for this before applying (UCAS Law).

Also, some universities may require you to complete the National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT for short).

Topics Studied

Optional modules will vary from university to university, but the compulsory modules will cover the following:

Criminal Law

Law of Torts

The Law of Contract

Land Law (Property Law)

Equity and Trusts

Constitutional and Administrative Law

EU Law

(The Lawyer Portal)

Where to Find One?

Most universities around the country offer a law degree

The best place to start is the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (AKA UCAS). You can use the UCAS Course Search to help you find the right course. The site also offers filters by start date, course length, and distance you’d be willing to travel from home.

From there, look into the university, the modules, and see if it would interest you.


Student Loans can cover a majority of the costs (however, living costs will likely need to be supplemented through part time work).

Most universities offer open days, which offers you the chance to find out more about the course before committing to it.

Gives you a look into different areas of law, to help you determine what area of law you’re passionate about.

Gives you the academic background of the law, whereas the SQE and the LPC focus on practical knowledge. This means you know not just how to do the transactions, but why the law works the way it does. 

You can tailor your degree to the areas of law you’re interested in through your optional modules, which gives you tangible knowledge in these areas, making it easier to find a job in these sectors later in your career.

Gives you in depth legal knowledge, which can be beneficial for the additional qualifications you’ll need (namely the SQE)

A year in industry offers valuable experience within the legal sector which can contribute towards your period of recognised training (PRT) for the SQE.

You get to experience student life. Whether that’s living in student halls with friends, hanging out at the students’ union, or buckling down in the library, some of the best things about going to university have nothing to do with the course, and everything to do with student life.

More traditional firms tend to favour Law degrees.


Law courses are extremely competitive, with UCAS recording a massive 155,150 applicants, 120,065 of these receiving an offer, and only 29,385 accepted into the course for 2021 - meaning only 18.9% of applicants were accepted onto the course. 

By comparison, UCAS’s 2021 End of Cycle data shows:

Business and Administrative degrees had an acceptance rate of 23.2%

Computer Science had a rate of 19.9%

Veterinary and Agricultural had a rate of 21.9%

Education had a rate of 21.1%

Medicine had a rate of 10.5%

You can get most of the way through a degree before discovering law isn’t for you, resulting in a specialised degree that may no longer be applicable to your career plan.

A degree costs £60,000 as a minimum (on a 2 year accelerated, with low accommodation costs).

You’ll have to study hard. That’s not to say other subjects are easy, but law is particularly intense due to the depth and breadth of knowledge you need to develop.

Undergraduate Degree (BA or BSc)

This is an option if you want to study any subject except law. Whether it’s Psychology, English Literature or Animation & Games, you can gain a degree in any subject and still become a lawyer!

A lot of the costs associated with a non-law degree are the same as a law degree and at least you don’t need to pay for the LNAT. However, there may still be similar tests you need to take in order to apply for other subjects.

Let’s begin the breakdown of a non-law degree…

Professional Title upon Completion



Same as a law degree (minus the cost of the LNAT).

Cost Per Year

Same as a law degree

Length of Time
(Full Time Study)

Same as a law degree

Entry Requirements

At least 2 GCSEs (or equivalent), usually in English and/or Maths. Some may ask for a grade 4 (or C) or higher

Varies by course and university.

However, some universities don’t accept certain subjects, with General Studies and Critical Thinking being the two most commonly not accepted. Some universities may also request an additional entrance test, such as the MAT or the BMAT. Others may ask you to present a portfolio or attend an interview or perform a piece - this is especially true for subjects that are arts focused such as photography, art, music, or drama.

Topics Studied

There’s no short answer for this!

You can study whatever your heart desires (or whatever your chosen university lets you). 

Some universities, such as The Open University, let you mix and match modules from a variety of disciplines.

Other universities may offer a slightly more American College approach, with a major and minor system. This is often called an elective or pathway system. This can allow you to study modules outside of your degree that interest you, whether that’s for a semester, a year, or the entirety of your degree.

Where to Find One?

A local city near you!

Honestly, you probably aren’t more than an hour away from your nearest university. 

But using the UCAS Course Search, and narrowing down the search by the subject you’re interested in, you can find the degree that’s right for you.


Student Loans can cover a majority of the costs.

Most universities offer open days

You can pursue what you’re passionate about. A degree in another subject can also be massively beneficial. As Mohsin Zaidi highlights on the Not All Lawyers Have Law Degrees podcast. A Business Degree would be beneficial to Commercial and Corporate law. Psychology and Sociology might give you insight that you wouldn’t have otherwise had in Family law. Social Care might help with Court of Protection or Child Care Law. English Literature and English Language can help when structuring a cohesive argument if you work in Litigation/Dispute Resolution.

You can develop transferable knowledge. If you’re not quite sure if law is for you after you study for three years, you’ve not spent three years working towards a degree you’ll not use.

You get to experience student life. And perhaps in a more relaxed way than if you’d studied law.


A degree costs £60,000 as a minimum (on a 2 year accelerated, with low accommodation costs).

You may struggle to break into the legal sector, as some law firms are still elitist regarding qualifications. Though this is changing over time, some law firms won’t hire for entry level positions (such as paralegal or legal assistant roles) unless you have a law degree or prior legal experience.

Level 6 Apprenticeships

Also called degrees or graduate apprenticeships, these are a combination of education and work. This means you get to learn hands-on while gaining a qualification. There are a lot of varying apprenticeships that can be included: from Legal specific apprenticeships, like the CILEx Level 6 Diploma in Law and Practice, to civil engineering, to environmental consultancy, to cyber security. The Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education (IfATE) offers some guidance on what a degree apprenticeship can involve with regard to entry requirements, learning, and integration of on- and off-the-job studies.

Time to look into what a degree apprenticeship can offer…

Professional Title upon Completion

Dependent on the Apprenticeship: For example, you may hold an Engineer title, an Accountant title, a Manager title, etc.


N/a - you get paid a salary instead.

Overall Cost of Course


Length of Time 

Minimum of one year, though no upper duration. However, most last between 1 to 3 years.

Entry Requirements

Like most things on this list, entry requirements will vary by apprenticeship and company offering it. However, most will require:

Five GCSEs at 9-4 (or A*-C) including English and Maths.

One Level 3 Qualification, such as A-Levels, BTEC or Access to Higher Education Diploma.

But apprenticeships tend to be more flexible on these requirements than a degree or the CPQ.

Topics Studied

Varies by apprenticeship. But the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education (IfATE) offers a search tool to see what apprenticeships and topics have been approved (and which are under review).

Where to Find One?

It can be hard to find an apprenticeship, but UCAS offers a Degree Apprenticeship Search tool, and the Gov Website offers an Apprenticeship Search tool but make sure you filter based on what you’re looking for.


More flexible on entry requirements than a degree.

You can earn a salary while gaining your qualification, which helps avoid student debt.


Relatively new, so many universities aren’t supporting this form of education (yet!). There’s currently only an estimated 87 universities offering degree apprenticeship education support.

There are limited subjects on offer, which limits your options. However, if your preferred subject can be an apprenticeship, it’s definitely worth looking into this.

They can be hard to find, since they are often only advertised directly on the company’s site, or directly on the university’s site.

They are extremely competitive to get on to. With so few apprenticeships on offer, and so few places on those apprenticeships, you’ll face a lot of competition when applying for one.

What option do I pick?

Sadly, this isn’t something anyone else can answer for you. But hopefully the information provided should give you a starting point to make this decision. It’s worth considering your priorities. Does the cost of the qualification influence you? Do you have any financial commitments that could impact which course you choose, or are there financing options or funding support, such as scholarships, that you can find? Does the length of the course impact your decision? Do you want to start your career sooner rather than later, or do you want to take the time to develop a specialism before you dive in? What do you want to get out of your course? Is it all about the knowledge and career opportunities, or does the experience of your studies play a factor.

Make sure to keep these questions in mind when making your decision. But before you decide, make sure to have a read through Part 3 (join us in the New Year) to find out about the SQE, and the Solicitor Apprenticeship. And just in case you missed it, check out part 1 of ‘Do I Need a Law Degree to Be a Lawyer?’.


Join us in the Recruitment Room for more help with interviews, CVs, and applications.

Alex Bull is the content writer for the legal division of Harvey John.

For expert advice on how to get the best out of your Legal career, contact Hayley Rose for recruitment of jobs within the legal sector, both in-house and private, across the South East and beyond. 

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