Will my law degree be recognised if I study abroad?

If you study law in the European Union then your degree will be recognised. If you study at a good university elsewhere, your degree will be recognised. BUT, if you study law abroad it is unlikely that you will study English law. If you wish to practise law in this country you will probably need to do a conversion course on your return.

Does it make sense to study law abroad?

Yes and No. As mentioned above, if you go abroad and want to work in the United Kingdom you will be committing to extra years of study. It therefore depends on which branch of the law you want to end up working in.

If you are looking at law which is predominantly local or national in scope it may not make much sense to study abroad.

If you are interested in commercial law you would be well advised to consider international experience as an integral part of your education. Understanding more than one legal system will stand you in good stead as you will be competing in an international job market when you graduate whether you like it or not.

If you are interested in international criminal law or human rights law, for example, then you are well advised to go abroad to study. These branches of the law are international by their very nature and most of the institutions and organisations operating in these spheres are located outside this country.

If you are interested in studying law but do not intend to work as lawyer then an understanding of comparative law will be very useful if you intend to work for a multinational organisation.

What else should I bear in mind?

For the reasons mentioned above, British universities have started to offer a number of law degrees that incorporate international experience. These might be viable alternatives to taking your full degree abroad.

Where should I look for law degrees abroad?

International law is taught in many countries in English. Local law rarely is (except in English-speaking countries, obviously).

If you are looking to study law in the USA (by far the most attractive destination for UK law students), be aware that you will need to complete a Bachelor's degree first. Law is not offered at Bachelor's level in the USA.  You may be able to major in pre-law (preparation for law), but this is likely to be different to studying law in other countries and may not appeal to you.

Most students go to the US to study law at postgraduate level to achieve a JD (Juris Doctor) qualification. This is usually a very expensive way to study.

For students who would like to work as lawyers in the USA, IE University in Spain offers a pathway with Northwestern University that would take a total of five years to reach the JD level of qualification. It combines an LLB in Global Law with the US JD qualfication. This will be expensive but then a good law school in the USA is always going to be very expensive.

In Canada, the situation is similar to the US but some universities do offer LLB level qualifications.

Australia is also a good alternative for studying law. The legal system there is based on the British system meaning that transferability of skills is less of an issue but recognition cannot be taken for granted.

In Europe there are currently limited options for studying law in English. (around 20 in total). There is one option for BA in International Law at Vesalius College in Brussels. There are some in central and eastern Europe but probably the best country to consider is The Netherlands. Here you will find options at:

If you are interested in studying English law abroad, this currently is not possible. The Irish law degree offered by Griffith College in Dublin is probably the closest course you will find as there are many areas of similarity between UK and Irish law. Griffith College Dublin is the largest law school in Ireland.

Several European universities now offer degrees that include law as part of a broader curriculum. Examples include Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics at University of Amsterdam, International Politics, Law and Economics at University of Milan and Globalisation, Governance and Law at Karlshochschule in Germany.

Some thoughts from law students at overseas universities...

Caitlin Bones

Christian Garrard


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About A Star Future

A Star Future provides information and guidance to British students looking to pursue their undergraduate studies abroad.

Through our presentations in schools and our websites we aim to ensure that British-educated students are well informed about their choices.