Student research ranks Oxford ahead of Cambridge as top uni law faculty

3,700 polled: LW report finds Oxford, Cambridge, UCL best rated

The University of Oxford has emerged as the top-ranked university law faculty according to a major study of student perceptions carried out by Legal Week’s research arm, with the institution ranked ‘excellent’ by significantly more of its students than its nearest rival, the University of Cambridge.

Legal Week Intelligence’s 2011 Law Student Report, which surveyed more than 3,700 law students at leading UK universities and Graduate Diploma in Law course providers, found 78% of Oxford students rated its teaching as ‘excellent’, with Cambridge University placing second, with 69.5%.

The flagship report into students’ perceptions of their universities’ teaching reveals wide disparities between different institutions with, on average, only 32.6% of students ranking their faculty as ‘excellent’.

University College London (UCL) came in third place, with 61% of its law students placing the institution in the top tier.

The trio were the only three institutions to receive a rank of ‘excellent’ from at least 60% of their students, with Newcastle University the next highest ranked with 55.5%, followed by Durham at 47%.

Below Durham, King’s College London and the University of Edinburgh were the only remaining university law departments to come in above the average ranking, but each were ranked ‘excellent’ by fewer than 35% of students.

University of Oxford law faculty dean Timothy Endicott said: “The difference at Oxford is the high level of attention given to each student, with only 10 students per faculty member, and tutors reading students’ essays weekly and discussing their work in tutorials.

“In addition to this, we have also been working on introducing innovative new elements to the course, including compulsory mooting.”

UCL law faculty tutor Olga Thomas said: “Our student programmes are designed to convey a broad, multidisciplinary and deep understanding of the law, with a particular emphasis on the global and social context in which law and lawyers operate.”

Looking at the rankings by those ranked both ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’, Cambridge leads the table, closely followed by Oxford, with Manchester, Durham and King’s making up the rest of the top five.

Simmons & Simmons graduate recruitment and development manager Anna King commented: “Oxford and Cambridge have a different tutorial style with much more one-on-one tutor time given, which I can imagine students are very pleased to be offered and benefit from.”