Choosing where to study law (Jurisprudence) at the University of Oxford can be a difficult decision. With 31 colleges to pick from, it’s important to consider factors like prestige, location, facilities, and student satisfaction when deciding which college is the best fit for you.
We will break down the best Oxford colleges for law studies and provide an overview of the law admissions process, acceptance rate, advantages and more. So make sure to continue reading.
Note: The official law course at Oxford is “Jurisprudence”, but for a better common understanding further in the guide we will use “law”.
The Best Oxford Colleges For Law
You can make a mistake if you study at any of Oxford colleges, but if your goal is to maximise chances for a successful legal career you need to find the best colleges for law.
So, what are the best Oxford colleges for law? Find below the top 5.
Founded in 1458, Magdalen College is one of the oldest and most prestigious colleges at Oxford University. It has a fantastic reputation for law, with many influential law lords and legal scholars having graduated from Magdalen.
That makes Magdalen the best Oxford college for law according to our studies and research. The acceptance rate for Law courses at Oxford is around 6.8%.
Located in the heart of the city on the banks of the River Cherwell, Magdalen offers gorgeous grounds and excellent facilities including the C.S. Lewis Auditorium and the Grade I listed Chapel.
Accommodation is mixed, with some rooms located on the main site and others at the St Clement’s and Longwall Street annexes just a short walk away.
Magdalen is known for its lively and sociable atmosphere. The interconnected rooms in the main quad are ideal for entertaining friends or studying in groups.
The college also has an excellent Law Society that organises social events, and speaker events with leading practitioners, and provides support for applications to law firms and chambers.
With strong traditions in both academics and extracurricular activities, Magdalen is undoubtedly one of the best options for prospective law students at Oxford.
Brasenose College, known as “the law college”, has an outstanding reputation for law and boasts excellent facilities for aspiring lawyers. It was very hard to put it in second place on the list of best Oxford colleges for the law since it’s on the same level as Magdalen.
Brasenose acceptance rate for law is around 5%. That means it is hardest to get into law among all the other colleges of Oxford.
Brasenose it’s not only one of the best colleges for law, but its central location right on Radcliffe Square it’s one of the most famous in England. That puts the Oxford University Faculty of Law and the Bodleian Law Library within easy reach.
As one of the larger Oxford colleges with over 330 undergraduate students, Brasenose combines strong academic performance with a lively social scene.
Accommodation is provided on-site for all years in the intimate setting of Radcliffe Quad and nearby Frewin Annexe.
Brasenose has produced many leading jurists and lawyers over its distinguished 500-year history. Law greats like Sir Matthew Hale, Jeremy Bentham, and Sir Robert Walpole studied there.
Today, Brasenose remains devoted to excellence in legal education through small tutorial sizes, abundant resources, and dedicated law tutors.
With its storied history and collegial atmosphere, Brasenose is one of the top choices for aspiring lawyers in Oxford.
Read also the complete guide: Oxford Colleges pros and cons
Distinguished by its 750-year history, Merton College is renowned for producing outstanding lawyers. Merton students consistently achieve exceptional results in law, with the college reporting some of the highest percentages of firsts and 2:1s in the subject across Oxford.
Merton is ranked the number 1 college according to the Norrington Table college rankings.
Centrally located between Christ Church and Corpus Christi College, Merton offers excellent facilities including one of the best college libraries in Oxford as well as attractive accommodation in Mob Quads and Holywell Manor.
Merton fosters a vibrant scholarly community with events hosted by the active Law Society. Alumni praise the close-knit group of lawyers who work hard but also enjoy Merton’s famously raucous law parties together.
With its excellent tutors, abundant resources, and camaraderie amongst law students, Merton deserves its reputation as one of the finest Oxford colleges for aspiring barristers and solicitors.
Known for its excellent academic reputation, St John’s is a great choice for students interested in studying law at Oxford.
As a top Oxford college for law, it is easier to get into than Magdalen od Brasenose. St John’s acceptance rate for the law is around 9%.
St John’s impressive facilities include its spacious law library open 24/7, abundant computing facilities, and generous grants to cover academic expenses.
Conveniently located on St Giles’ near the Ashmolean Museum, St John’s offers accommodation on-site for all undergraduates as well as excellent food and amenities. Its inclusive atmosphere and active student organizations make college life enjoyable.
St John’s has produced leading jurists like Lord Denning, making it highly respected in legal circles. It consistently ranks near the top of the Norrington Table measuring academic performance.
With its exceptional resources and pedigree in law, St John’s is one of the best Oxford colleges for law.
Balliol College has among the lowest acceptance rates for law. They only admit around 5.7% of law applicants.
Balliol College is Oxford’s oldest college, full of tradition and one of its most prestigious, especially for law.
Many eminent judges, barristers, and solicitors have studied at Balliol, including Harish Salve and Lord Bingham. Ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson graduated at Balliol.
Located right in the heart of Oxford on Broad Street, Balliol provides traditional academic facilities including the great Millard and Sacher Law Libraries along with accommodation mainly in the Front and Holywell Quads.
Balliol fosters a stimulating, intellectual environment with regular visiting speakers and an esteemed reputation in mooting competitions.
The Jowett Walkway connecting the quads makes Balliol feel like a large, interconnected community despite many students. However, some of them consider Balliol as a more “posh” college than the rest colleges.
To conclude, you will not regard if apply to Balliol – it’s considered one of the best Oxford colleges for law.
As Oxford’s largest college for undergraduates with 450 students, Christ Church has a unique reputation across academic disciplines including law.
Located right next to the Bodleian Law Library, Christ Church puts the university’s excellent legal resources within easy reach.
Christ Church accommodation offers a unique combination of modern bedrooms and historic residences in Tom Quad and the Meadow Buildings overlooking Christ Church Meadow.
Excellent buildings like the renowned Christ Church Cathedral Choir and dining in the Great Hall from Harry Potter enhance student life.
Boasting alumni like King Edward VIII, William Penn, and John Locke, Christ Church has a rich legacy of educating influential statesmen and thinkers.
Today, its academic rigour, prime location, and active student organisations continue making Christ Church one of the best colleges to study law at Oxford.
The acceptance rate for the law is around 7.5%.
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The Best Oxford Colleges for Law for International Students
Many international students are studying law at Oxford. Some of the best Oxford colleges for law for international students are:
- Trinity College – Has a very international student body and offers specialised orientation programmes for overseas students. Known for extremely strong academic performance.
- Corpus Christi College – Centrally located with a friendly, tight-knit academic community. Offers an International Freshers’ Week to help new students acclimate.
- University College – Fosters a diverse, multicultural environment and provides dedicated international student support. Impressive history of international alumni.
Also, colleges like Brasenose, Merton, and Wadham have vibrant international student communities and cosmopolitan atmospheres that welcome students from all over the world.
Where can I study law at Oxford?
If you think any of the law colleges we suggested is not good enough for you or simply will not be a good match, check the full list of Oxford colleges where you can study law:
- Balliol College
- Brasenose College
- Christ Church
- Corpus Christi College
- Exeter College
- Harris Manchester College
- Hertford College
- Jesus College
- Keble College
- Lady Margaret Hall
- Lincoln College
- Magdalen College
- Mansfield College
- Merton College
- New College
- Oriel College
- Pembroke College
- The Queen’s College
- Regent’s Park College (but not Law with Law Studies in Europe)
- St Anne’s College
- St Catherine’s College
- St Edmund Hall
- St Hilda’s College
- St Hugh’s College
- St John’s College
- St Peter’s College
- Somerville College
- Trinity College
- University College
- Wadham College
- Worcester College
The advantage of being at the top Oxford colleges for Law
Getting into one of Oxford’s top colleges for studying law provides significant advantages that can benefit your academic experience and legal career.
Some of the key benefits are:
You are more likely to get a 1st/high 2.1
The best Oxford law colleges have excellent reputations for enabling students to achieve high results.
A 1st class or high 2.1-degree classification is essential for competitive legal careers, so being in an environment conducive to academic success is a major plus. Facilities, tutoring, and peer support tend to be superior at the leading colleges.
You get the most respected tutors
Oxford rotates its tutors between colleges for certain subjects. Attending a prestigious college helps ensure you will be taught by the most eminent law tutors respected across the university.
Their expertise and guidance can profoundly shape your intellectual development as a lawyer.
Enjoy an intellectually stimulating environment
The top colleges foster vibrant scholarly communities through speaker events, legal awards ceremonies, mooting competitions, and other activities.
Surrounding yourself with exceptionally smart and engaged students creates an atmosphere where you will be constantly inspired and challenged to grow academically.
Gain access to abundant resources
From extensive law libraries to grants covering academic expenses, the leading colleges provide exceptional resources to support your legal studies.
You’ll also benefit from small tutorial sizes, excellent IT facilities, and colleges investing heavily into services boosting academic performance.
Build a strong professional network
Graduating from the top Oxford College for Law gives you an invaluable alumni network as you embark on your legal career.
The connections you make with peers and tutors can lead to job opportunities, mentorship, and other professional support down the road.
Why Study Law at Oxford University?
Studying law at Oxford University offers students an intensive, world-class legal education. Ranked at 7 position on the Times Higher Education list for law in 2024.
The tutorial system provides small-group teaching with experts in their field, pushing students to think critically and develop strong legal reasoning skills. Students take on a heavy workload, studying two subjects at a time and writing an essay for tutorial each week.
This immersive approach teaches students to thoroughly analyze legal concepts. While lectures provide an overview of topics, the tutorial system is the core of an Oxford legal education.
Students are mentored by leading experts, many of whom are pioneers in their subjects. This direct access to distinguished faculty helps students gain a deeper understanding of law.
An Oxford law degree opens doors to a wide range of legal careers. About 75% of graduates pursue legal professions, enabled by their qualifying law degree.
Oxford teaches the fundamentals of English law but the principles studied are applicable globally. Graduates are prepared to practice law not just in England and Wales but around the world.
Oxford’s prestigious reputation gives graduates an advantage in securing competitive pupillages and training contracts. The Oxford University Law Society also helps students gain insights into the legal profession through events, networking and internships.
An Oxford law education provides a strong foundation for diverse legal careers from barrister to solicitor and beyond.
What admission test does Oxford use for Law?
Applicants to Oxford’s Law and Law with Law Studies in Europe programmes are required to take the Law National Admissions Test (LNAT).
The 2-hour 15-minute exam consists of a multiple-choice section testing reading comprehension and an essay section assessing argument construction skills.
The LNAT score does not test subject knowledge but rather aptitude for legal study.
Do I need to take the LNAT test?
Yes, you will need to sit the LNAT test if you want to get into any of Oxford colleges for law.
After analysing LNAT data from Oxford, we concluded that LNAT scores for admission to Oxford would be around 25+ on the multiple choice section and 63+ on the essay section.
Scoring in this range would indicate you have the aptitude necessary to handle Oxford’s demanding law programme. The essay is especially vital, so devote time to crafting a thoughtful response to have the best shot at receiving an offer.
Why do I have to take a test?
Oxford’s admission tutors receive around 3500 applications for law. They are all great applicants with good grades and law personal statements. Since it’s not easy to evaluate candidates only based on grades and Oxbridge personal statements, they require an LNAT exam.
However, sitting in the LNAT provides an additional opportunity to showcase your legal aptitude beyond grades and interviews.
Entry Requirements for Law at Oxford Colleges
To get into the best Oxford colleges for law undergraduates programme, you will need a competitive application that meets both the general Oxford entry requirements along subject-specific criteria.
- Strong GCSEs including minimum B grade in English and Maths
- Minimum AAA or A*AA grades predicted at A-Level
- Passing scores on admissions tests like LNAT
- Strong personal statement and reference letter
- Good interview performance
- Evidence of strong critical thinking, reading, and analysis skills
- Clear interest in and aptitude for studying law
Oxford law attracts exceptional applicants, so admission is highly competitive. Have excellent academic credentials, display your intellectual curiosity about law, and perform well on all aspects of the application to stand out.
Learn more about how to submit a successful application: Applying To Oxbridge
Oxford Law Colleges Acceptance Rates
The acceptance rate for law at Oxford Colleges is around 14.8% for 2022.
This is above the overall acceptance rate for Oxford University (just 13.8%), but the admit rate for the best Oxford colleges for law is significantly below the average.
This means ONLY the best candidates will be able to study law at Magdalen, Brasenose, Merton, St John’s, Balliol, and Christ Church College.
Choosing The Best Oxford College For Law
With so many excellent Oxford colleges for law, these are some factors to consider when selecting or choosing an Oxbridge college if you are doing your own research:
- Prestige & Reputation – Check rankings and college history in law. Top options have outstanding reputations that can open doors.
- Location – Central colleges allow easy access to law facilities. Compare annexe accommodation distance.
- Academic Performance – Consider exam results, tutor quality, and graduate prospects.
- Facilities & Resources – Libraries, study spaces, grants, and IT resources affect your experience.
- Accommodation – Review room options, costs, catering, social spaces, and community feel.
- Extracurriculars – Compare academic and legal societies, sports, arts, student publications, and events.
- Size & Atmosphere – Bigger colleges offer more activities but smaller ones foster community.
- Admissions Statistics – College size and competitiveness affect your chances.
Read our full guide: How to choose Oxbridge College
The University of Oxford provides a world-leading environment for studying law across its exceptional colleges.
By understanding key factors like prestige, location, academic rigour, facilities, and student experience, you can choose some of the best Oxford colleges for law: Magdalen, Brasenose, Merton, St John’s, Balliol and Christ Church.
Gaining admission to Oxford Law is highly competitive, so be sure to excel academically, secure strong LNAT exam scores, and demonstrate your genuine passion for law in your personal statement.
Yes, Oxford is globally respected as one of the world’s elite universities for studying law. It is renowned for its rigorous academics, excellent faculty, intimate tutorials, mooting opportunities, and outstanding alumni network.
Getting into Oxford law course is highly competitive with strict entry requirements and acceptance rates under 14.8%. You need near-perfect grades, high admission LNAT scores, a stellar personal statement, and a convincing interview performance.
Oxford and Cambridge are both exceptional for law, typically ranking as the top two law schools in the UK. However, they have different law courses and approaches to the law. Read: The Best Cambridge Colleges For Law