England.  Change location
Barrister going to court

Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (LLB)

Studying law is stimulating in its own right and knowing how laws are made, legal rights and duties and how law impacts upon society will help you to understand society and your own role within it. By the end of your degree, you’ll have the legal knowledge to understand and apply the law, together with skills of legal analysis. This law degree will be valuable preparation to enable you to acquire the knowledge and skills needed for a legal career. You’ll have the flexibility to tailor your study to gain a law degree as an academic degree, a degree which includes the seven Foundations of Legal Knowledge to become a barrister in England and Wales, a solicitor or barrister in Northern Ireland, or provides a foundation to take the national Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) in England and Wales, specfically SQE1.

Key features of the course

  • Gives you an understanding of the role and place of law in today’s society.
  • Offers the opportunity to cover all the ‘Foundations of Legal Knowledge’ which can be the starting point in preparations for SQE1.
  • Provides specific routes to suit different career aspirations.
  • Offers practical experience through an online law clinic and other online projects.

If you want to become a barrister in England and Wales, or either a barrister or solicitor in Northern Ireland, you will need to complete this degree within six years. Please note, this degree is not suitable for qualification as a lawyer in Scotland.

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course



  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3-3.5 years*
Time limit – 6 or 16 years (depending on career choice)
*See How much time do I need? for more details
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll start Stage 1 with an introduction to criminal law and the criminal justice system, followed by tort law and civil justice.
  • At Stage 2, you’ll build your knowledge of contract law and public law then choose two modules to focus on aspects of law that are of particular interest.
  • Finally, in Stage 3, your modules will be determined by whether you choose the Academic law degree route, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination route or the Foundations of Legal Knowledge route. 

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module.See Entry requirements for more details.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll begin by focusing on a range of criminal offences as well as addressing themes of law reform, human rights and issues relevant to the Criminal Justice System of England and Wales. You’ll then develop an understanding of the range of civil laws, as well as the operation of the civil justice system and explore various torts including negligence, nuisance and defamation.

You should not study W111 and W112 at the same time. If you wish to study on a full-time basis you can start with W111 in October and then start W112 in the following February. 

You'll study both of the following:
Criminal law and the courts (W111)60
Civil justice and tort law (W112)60

Stage 2 (120 credits)

You’ll begin this stage by the studying law of relations between individuals and the state in Public law. You’ll also learn how contracts are formed, their contractual terms and how they end, and you'll choose two further modules that focus on particular aspects of law that are of the most interest or relevance to your career.

You'll study both of the following:
Public law (W211)30
Contract law (W212)30
You’ll also study two from the following:
Business and employment law (W240)30
Evidence law (W250)30
Family law (W230)30
International, environmental and space law (W260)30
Students who intend to progress to an LLB and aim to be a solicitor or barrister in Northern Ireland will need to study Evidence law (W250).

Stage 3 (120 credits)

To conclude your degree you’ll have the flexibility to tailor your study to gain a law degree to suit your career aspirations. This could be as an academic law degree, to complete the foundations of legal knowledge needed to become a barrister in England and Wales or a solicitor or barrister in Northern Ireland, or to study a range of the law and practice areas prescribed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority for SQE1 in an authentic simulated practice context, designed to develop professional legal skills and behaviours.

Foundations of Legal Knowledge route
You’ll study all of the following:
European Union law (W330)30
Land law (W312)30
Trusts law (W311)30
You’ll also study one of the following:
Exploring legal boundaries (W350)30
Justice in action (W360)30
Law, society and culture (W340)30
Academic Law Degree route
You’ll study the following:
Trusts law (W311)30
You’ll also study three of the following:
European Union law (W330)30
Exploring legal boundaries (W350)30
Justice in action (W360)30
Law, society and culture (W340)30
Land law (W312)30

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 16 January 2023.


We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. This Bachelor of Laws uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • studying online – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • face-to-face tutorials/day schools/workshops and/or online tutorials
  • working with specialist reading material
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and/or producing diagrams
  • using specialist software
  • finding external/third party material online
  • using technology for research purposes involving access to catalogues and databases online
  • continuous and end-of-module assessment
  • using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance
  • engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your degree.

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding.
  • Cognitive skills.
  • Practical and professional skills.
  • Key skills.

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you’ve already completed some university-level study somewhere else, you may be able to count it towards this qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.

It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. For more details and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (LLB).

The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

International recognition

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you'll need to succeed. If you're not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.

Answer a few quick questions to check whether you're ready for study success

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
  • If you wish to study full time, it will take you a minimum of 3 years if you start in October or 3.5 years if you start in February. This is to separate studying the two modules at Stage 1.

Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner

Preparing for study with an Access module

Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
  • support from a dedicated team throughout your study
  • detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.

View full details of People, work and society Access module

Fees and funding in England

80% of our students pay nothing upfront by financing their studies with a student loan.

In this section:
Tuition fee
What are my funding options?
Other costs to think about
Additional support

Tuition fee

Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (LLB)

Years of  study

3 years 6 years

Current fee per year in England

£6,456* £3,228*

How we worked out the cost

A degree is worth 360 credits. The fee per year is based on studying 60 credits per year for 6 years. A degree is worth 360 credits. The fee per year is based on studying 120 credits per year for 3 years.

Total fee for qualification at current prices


You’ll fund your modules as you study them – you won’t have to pay for your whole qualification up front

That’s 1/3 less than the cost of an equivalent qualification offered at most other universities in England.

See comparison table

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2023. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

What are my funding options?

There are several ways to fund your study, often without paying anything upfront.

Student loan

The most common way for our students to fund their study

  • A student loan is used by 80% of our students.
  • Open to everyone – it’s not means-tested and there’s no age limit.
  • You don’t pay anything upfront. Student Finance England pay your fees directly to the OU for you.
  • You won’t pay back a penny until you earn over £27,295.
  • The amount you repay is tied to how much you earn. For example, if you earn £29,000 you’ll pay just £12.79 per month.

Other options

Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA)

Repay in monthly instalments while you study.

Credit/debit card or bank transfer

Pay before each module starts. You can also combine card or bank transfer payments with other payment methods.

Employer sponsorship

More than 1 in 10 OU students are sponsored by their employer.

Enhanced Learning Credits (ELCs)

If you’re a serving member of the British Armed Forces (or you’ve recently left), you may be eligible to use ELCs to cover up to 100% of your course fees.

Which funding options could I be eligible for?

Other costs to think about

Your course fees cover your tuition, assessment and study materials, but there are still a few additional costs that can come with studying. If your income is less than £25,000 or you receive a qualifying benefit, you could get help with some of these costs after you start studying.

  • You’ll need a computer and internet access for online resources and tutorials.
  • You may need to pay for travel to face to face tutorials if you choose to attend these during your course.

Additional support

You may be eligible for:

  • help with study-related costs like travel to tutorials, set books, and internet access
  • a free introductory Access module to build your confidence and skills
  • funding to study an OU qualification for free from our Carers’ Scholarships Fund if you are, or have recently been, an unpaid carer
  • a Carers’ Bursary towards study-related costs if you provide unpaid care to a friend or family member
  • a Care Experienced Bursary of £250 towards study-related costs if you’ve previously been, or are currently, in care
  • a Sanctuary Scholarship to study an OU qualification for free if you’ve been displaced from your homeland for political, economic, ethnic, environmental, or human rights pressures
  • funding from our Scholarship for Black Students to study an OU qualification for free if you identify as being from a Black background

If you have a disability

  • The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is a government grant to cover study support costs if you have a disability. It’s not means-tested, and there’s no age limit. Visit our Supporting students with disabilities page to find out more.
  • If your disability is a result of being injured in, or due to, military service, you could be eligible for our Disabled Veterans’ Scholarship Fund.

Need more information?

Talk through your funding options with one of our advisors

Contact us

How will I study this course?

With our unique approach to distance learning, you can study from home, work, or on the move.

You’ll have some assessment deadlines to meet, but otherwise you’ll be free to study at the times that suit you, fitting your learning around work, family, and social life.

For each of your modules, you’ll use either just online resources or a mix of online and printed materials.

Each module you study will have a module website, with:

  • a week-by-week study planner, giving you a step-by-step guide through your studies
  • course materials such as reading, videos, recordings, and self-assessed activities
  • module forums for discussions and collaborative activities with other students
  • details of each assignment and their due dates
  • a tutorial booking system, online tutorial rooms, and your tutor’s contact details
  • online versions of some printed module materials and resources.

If you have additional needs, we can also provide most module materials in alternative formats. Find out more about materials on our accessibility webpage.

Tutor support

You’ll have a tutor for each module, who will introduce themselves before the module begins.

Throughout the module, they will:

  • mark your assignments and give feedback to help you improve
  • guide you to learning resources
  • support you, whether with general study skills or help with a specific topic.


Tutorials throughout the course could be online, face-to-face or a mixture of the two, and they’re always optional.

Online tutorials are live presentations with module tutors in dedicated online tutorial rooms, and are sometimes recorded.


Our assessments are all designed to reinforce your learning and help you show your understanding of the topics. The mix of assessment methods will vary between modules.

Computer-Marked Assignments

  • Usually a series of online, multiple-choice questions.

Tutor-Marked Assignments

  • You’ll have a number of these throughout each module, each with a submission deadline.
  • They can be made up of essays, questions, experiments or something else to test your understanding of what you have learned.
  • Your tutor will mark and return them to you with detailed feedback.

End-of-Module Assessments

  • The final, marked piece of work on most modules.
  • Modules with an end of module assessment won’t usually have an exam.


  • Some modules end with an exam. You’ll be given time to revise and prepare.
  • You’ll be given your exam date at least 5 months in advance.
  • Most exams take place remotely, and you will complete them at home or at an alternative location.
  • If a module requires you to take a face-to-face exam, this will be made clear in the module description, and you will be required to take your exam in person at one of our exam centres.

Progressing to a point where I felt more comfortable writing my assignments, and having my scores reflecting that, made me quite happy because it showed the hard work was being rewarded.

Patrick ‘Ricky’ Skene, BSc (Hons) Sport, Fitness and Coaching

Other support and resources

Throughout your studies, you’ll have access to our subject-specific Student Support Teams.

They’ll help you with any general questions about your study and updates to your OU account.

To help with your studies, you’ll also have access to:

  • our online library, with high-quality online resources to support your study
  • other university libraries in the UK and Ireland
  • the online Help Centre, which has general information about OU study and support, along with study skills advice
  • free Microsoft Office 365 software
  • IT and computing support from our Computing Helpdesk.

Find out more about student support and being a part of the OU community.

Skills for career development

As independent learners, law graduates have developed literacy, communication, presentation, numeracy, cognitive and organisational skills, and can apply an academically coherent methodology to current debates in law. This is excellent preparation for a career as a legal professional and is also an asset for many careers such as roles in finance, commerce, human resources, education, local and central government, the voluntary sector or management.

Career relevance

Studying law opens up many career options, whether in law or law-related fields, including solicitor, barrister, legal executive and paralegal. Solicitors and barristers usually work in private practice, in central or local government, commerce, industry, the armed forces or in professional bodies.

In England and Wales

Becoming a Barrister

If you wish to become a barrister, you require a degree which covers the seven Foundations of Legal Knowledge (contract law, tort law, public law, criminal law, trusts law, land law and European Union law). This will exempt you from the academic stage of training and you can progress to the required professional training. However, for intending barristers, a minimum honours degree classification of 2:2 is required.

There are strict time limits for those wishing to become a barrister and you must complete your law degree within six years.

If you are claiming credit that is not a complete degree then this will impact on the time limit, because you must complete all study towards your law degree within six years and that includes your credit transfer study.  If exceptional circumstances prevent you from completing the degree within these timescales you can apply for an extension, which is typically one further year. If you don’t intend to become a barrister, the six-year time limit does not apply.

There is a further period of professional training required, followed by practical work experience, before becoming qualified to practice as a barrister.

Becoming a Solicitor

If you wish to become a solicitor, you do not require a law degree. Your degree can be in any subject. You’ll have to pass both parts of the national Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) and pass the Solicitors Regulation Authority character and suitability requirements. You'll also need to have two years’ qualifying work experience.

In Northern Ireland

If you wish to become a barrister or solicitor, you will require a degree which covers the seven Foundations of Legal Knowledge and evidence law. This will exempt you from the academic stage of training and you can progress to the required professional training. For intending barristers, a minimum honours degree classification of 2:1 is required.

There are strict time limits for those wishing to become a barrister or solicitor. Please see the Application Booklet for the Institute of Professional Legal Practice at The Queens University of Belfast. If you don’t intend to become a barrister or solicitor, the six-year time limit does not apply.

There is a further period of professional training required, followed by practical work experience, before admission as a solicitor.

Other careers

The knowledge and skills you will gain from studying this degree are recognised and highly respected by employers outside the legal profession. Roles in finance, human resources, local government or general management all benefit from a legal background and from the discipline of studying law.

Other relevant jobs include Citizens Advice Bureau caseworker, Crown Prosecution Service caseworker, magistrates’ court legal adviser, court reporter or administrator, licensed conveyancer, patent attorney, trademark agent, teacher, or lecturer in law.

Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice. This includes online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience.

  • solicitor
  • barrister
  • barrister's clerk
  • legal executive
  • paralegal
  • judge
  • usher
  • researcher
  • legal cashier
  • legal secretary
  • civil servant
  • company secretary
  • teacher
  • patent attorney
  • tax adviser.

Thinking of studying this course?

Registration will open in March. If you would like to be kept updated, register your interest.

Request your Law prospectus

Our prospectuses help you choose your course, understand what it's like to be an OU student and register for study.

Request prospectus