What Are the Best A-Levels for a Law Degree?
The majority of UK universities don’t require specific A-level subjects as an entry requirement onto a Law degree. However, it’s always a good idea to choose A-levels that will help you build a strong foundation for your future academic studies and professional career.
A-level qualifications are a great way of demonstrating valuable skill sets to help you thrive at university, and selecting the subjects that are right for you is the first step in making a truly outstanding application to study Law!
Factors to Consider When Choosing A-Level Subjects for a Law Degree
Choosing your A-Level subjects is always tricky, but if you know you’re interested in studying Law at university, then you’re starting from a great position! Most importantly, you should select subjects that you enjoy and that you can see yourself studying in-depth for two years.
Here are the main factors to take into account when choosing A-level subjects for a Law degree:
I. Meeting Law degree requirements
Firstly, you’ll be expected to meet your target university’s entry requirements for your chosen Law course. These are typically a prescribed spread of A-level results; for example, three As across three subjects (AAA) or two As and one B (AAB). Choosing A-level subjects you feel capable of achieving these results in can help to ease the pressure when exam season eventually rolls around!
Some UK universities also require you to pass the LNAT before you can be admitted, so be sure to carefully research your target university’s specific requirements as these can vary quite drastically.
II. Aligning your A-level subjects with personal interests
As most Law degrees don’t have specific subject requirements, you have the opportunity to play to your strengths and passions. A subject you feel excited about is much more likely to keep you engaged and motivated throughout your A-levels than one you have middling feelings for at best!
Consider also your long-term legal career goals. If you have a strong interest in a specific area of law, then you might consider choosing A-level subjects that provide a foundation in related fields, for example:
- Biology for environmental law
- Politics for human rights law
- Sociology for criminal law
- Mathematics for tax law
III. A-levels that promote important legal skills
To prepare you for your Law degree, it’s a good idea to opt for A-level subjects which nurture the skills you’ll need at university.
Core competencies like critical thinking, clear communication and analytical skills are essential in the legal field, so choosing a mix of essay-based and analytical subjects at A-level is a good way to develop the versatile skill set you’ll use as a Law student.
Essay-based subjects enhance written communication – important for drafting legal documents and presenting arguments – while analytical subjects foster problem-solving abilities and quantitative analysis.
Law students also work with a vast range of source material – from cases, statutes and international treaties to academic articles, statistics and reform proposals. Gaining solid experience across an assortment of subjects can equip you to manage a variety of material from different fields and sectors.
Best A-Level Subjects for a Law Degree
So, what are the best A-level subjects to prepare you for a Law degree?
1. English Literature
English Literature is a popular A-level subject for aspiring Law students. It enhances critical reading, interpretation and analytical skills, helping you to to construct well-reasoned arguments and to effectively articulate ideas.
Engaging with legal cases is central to the study of Law, and often involves interpreting complex, lengthy texts. A single judgement can be over fifty pages long, and if the case is from the 19th or early 20th century – as many landmark cases are! – you’ll also run into the older writing style of the period.
This makes English Literature skills invaluable for a Law degree, and gaining experience in interpreting texts both old and new will serve you well at university.
If your school offers A-level Law, it can be a good way to gain foundational knowledge of the legal system, like key concepts, principles and terminology – it’s an excellent starting point for a Law degree!
A-level Law involves lots of classroom debates and discussions, preparing students for the kind of critical thinking and argumentation required in law school and legal practice. Mooting (structured competitive debates mimicking the courtroom) is something that many Law students get involved with during university, and the debates and discussions of A-level Law provide a fantastic foundation for this extracurricular!
You’ll also gain important decision-making skills: how to evaluate evidence, weigh arguments and make well-informed decisions.
A-level History is a subject that nurtures research, analysis and contextual understanding, all central to engaging academically with the law. Studying historical events and their consequences allows you to evaluate evidence and construct logical narratives based on your findings.
Additionally, historical precedent is highly relevant to legal arguments and to the understanding of legal systems. A historically contextual approach to engaging with the law allows us to critique it with nuance, understand why certain rules have come about, and interpret reform proposals.
Economics is a subject that fosters analytical thinking, quantitative skills and an understanding of societal dynamics. A strong basis of economic knowledge will help you understand why certain legal rules apply to contract-making, property transfer, establishing trusts and more.
Law is used as a tool of the state to regulate commercial and corporate practices, so it’s important to appreciate the connection between economics and law – especially in fields like competition law and corporate governance.
Mathematics is another frequent A-level choice for aspiring Law students, as a subject that sharpens logical reasoning, problem-solving and attention to detail.
Legal analysis often involves interpreting complex data and making precise data-driven arguments. A-level Mathematics helps you sharpen your quantitative skills, which are highly valuable in areas like forensic evidence, tax law and intellectual property disputes.
A-level Politics explores governance, institutions and political ideologies. Gaining an understanding of these types of political systems provides prospective Law students with varied insights into the legal framework, as well as the role of law in society.
Legal and political considerations are central in areas such as constitutional law and human rights law. Law and politics closely interact, and beginning a Law degree with an appreciation of this is most definitely an advantage!
A-level Psychology develops skills in understanding human behaviour, cognition and motivation. These types of psychological insights are valuable across different legal areas including criminal law, family law and mental health law.
Studying Psychology can also foster personal growth in the way you relate to others through empathy and interpersonal communication – a skill that cannot be understated in the legal profession.
A-level Sociology examines social structures, inequalities and cultural influences. This is particularly relevant to a Law degree and understanding how the law interacts with different individuals and communities.
Sociological perspectives are key in areas such as family law, social justice and human rights. A sociological background will give you nuance in discussions, and a fresh perspective when it comes to law reform and societal organisation.
Preparing for a Law Degree Beyond A-Levels
Of course, you’re more than just your A-level choices! Getting involved in relevant extracurricular activities, legal work experience and volunteering will invariably strengthen your Law application.
Participating in debating, mock trials or legal workshops will familiarise you with applicable legal principles and skills. Crucially, universities are drawn to applicants who have been able to demonstrate a genuine interest in law through relevant experiences, so make sure to nurture this outside of school.
It’s also a great way to discover the parts of law that excite you!
When making your A-level choices, try to consider your strengths, interests and long-term goals. If you’re struggling to decide, you can always seek advice from people you trust – family, friends, teachers, career advisors or law school representatives.
There’s no perfect combination, and the decision is a personal one, so make sure you’re happy with your choices!
By Lisa Muttonen
Lisa Muttonen worked as a Head of House at Oxford Scholastica Academy’s summer school in 2023. She recently completed a BA in Jurisprudence and French Law at the University of Oxford. Her interests lie in feminist legal theory, particularly in the international law context, and she hopes to pursue a career applying her skills and education to the international women’s aid effort. Lisa currently lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark, with a view to undertaking a Master’s there in International Relations.
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