At Birmingham Law School the staff who teach you are frequent participants in legal debates and contribute regularly to the policy-making process. You will draw on their vast expertise to acquire essential skills that are highly valued in the competitive employment sector, from creativity and independence to team-working, goal-setting and problem-solving.
Critical enquiry, debate and self-motivation, which we call enquiry-based learning, is central to learning and teaching here. This places you at the centre of your own learning process so that you learn through engagement and ownership and not simply by listening.
Respondents to the National Student Survey have acknowledged the enthusiasm of our staff and their ability to explain things clearly and make material intellectually stimulating. We encourage all our students to challenge us and draw their own conclusions.
What you can expect…
Throughout your Law degree you can expect about 13 hours of contact time per week made up of approximately ten hours of lectures and three hours of seminars.
Lectures are an important method of teaching used in the School, intended to provide a structured framework for learning and dispensing essential knowledge. They won't tell you all you need to know, but they should help you to navigate the reading you're expected to undertake to pursue your studies effectively.
Seminars are smaller group classes, which involve the development and testing of ideas in discussion, with a high degree of student input.
Providing a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas, in all seminars you are expected to be prepared and to participate. This is tremendously important at university level and will help you to clarify and extend your understanding of the topics you are studying, as well as develop confidence in expressing yourself orally.
Seminars in Law also provide an opportunity to learn the difficult but vital skill of applying the law to factual situations. This is assessed in exams through ‘problem questions’. For some seminars you will be given the facts of problem questions in advance, and you devote time to working out your own answers beforehand, then testing those answers in argument during the seminar.
Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.
You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.
All Birmingham degrees are set within a credit framework designed to measure your academic achievements. We expect all students to accumulate 120 credits in each full year of study which is equivalent to 40 hours of learning a week. Learning is considered to include contact learning (lectures and seminars), private study, revision and assessment.
For this programme, those 40 hours are estimated to be broken down and split into lectures, seminars and other guided teaching opportunities and independent study. This is a general rule across the entire academic year and may change week by week.
Year 1: 20% Lectures, Seminars or similar, 80% Independent study
Year 2: 20% Lectures, Seminars or similar, 80% Independent study
Birmingham Law School uses a variety of methods to assess student performance, this includes exams, essays and dissertations. At the beginning of each module, you'll be given information on how and when you'll be assessed for that particular programme of study.
- Examinations take place at the end of each semester and exam-based modules are typically assessed by a 2 or 3-hour exam.
- Essays vary in length (1000-4000 words) depending on whether the essay is only part of the assessment for the subject or whether the subject is assessed 100% by essay.
- The dissertation is an optional module in the final year of the LLB which is an individual research project into a specific topic which varies in length (up to 10,000 words).
Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.
Developing skills and enhancing academic performance is a key part of a university education and the Law School provide feedback on your work throughout your degree.
- You'll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done
- Individual feedback on academic performance is provided during progress review meetings with your personal tutor throughout the year.
- All academic members of staff will have office hours during which you can see them without prior appointment and speak to them on a 1-1 basis to discuss feedback or other academic support you may require.
Legal Skills Academic Support (LSAS)
In addition to the feedback you will receive from academic staff, our Legal Skills Academic Support team will help you to develop skills which are crucial to legal study. We run daily drop-in sessions and weekly workshops open to all undergraduate Law students. Workshops include:
- How to prepare for seminars and lectures
- How to answer essay and problem questions
- How to read cases and articles
- How to learn from feedback and tackling common mistakes
- How to manage your time effectively
- How to prepare for exams
You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to higher education when you start at Birmingham:
Personal tutors – You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
Wellbeing Officers – Alongside your personal tutor, you will also have access to dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond if you need it.
Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They offer research opportunities, study skills support, and help you prepare for your post-university career. They also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.