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Course Finder

BA Law and Human Rights

Course code: M1M9
Location: Colchester Campus
Qualification: Bachelor of Arts
Mode of study: Full-time
Duration: 36 months
Tuition Fee: Home/EU, Overseas
Funding available: Find out using our scholarship finder Department: Law (School of)
Facebook: University of Essex
Further information: For more information, please e-mail us or see for yourself by booking a place at one of our open days.

About the course

Our BA Law and Human Rights provides you with a rigorous academic training in the discipline of law, with a detailed focus on human rights. We enable you to engage in a discourse on human rights law, informed by thinking from political, sociological, philosophical, economic and historical perspectives.

Why study BA Law and Human Rights at Essex?

Our School of Law has an international reputation for providing a legal education of the highest quality. In particular, in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE, December 2008) 90 per cent of our research was rated as of ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘internationally recognised’ quality.

Why study this subject?

Although a law course may be the first step towards a career in law, it is not a purely vocational programme and many graduates pursue non-law careers. Law is an enjoyable and stimulating subject in its own right, whether or not you decide to become a lawyer. As well as giving you a knowledge and understanding of the law, a law course will develop your intellectual and critical faculties, encourage you to think independently and teach you to present rational, coherent and accurate arguments orally and in writing. A law course will equip you with skills which will be useful in all walks of life and which will be valued by any employer. It will provide you with an excellent foundation for any career.

As a law student, not only will you learn legal rules, but you will also consider the function of law in society, the philosophy of law, policy issues and law reform. You will, for instance, have to address the rights of consumers, family members, prisoners, householders, workers and children. You will have to consider not just domestic law, but the law of the European Union and international law, in particular the impact of the European Convention on Human Rights.

You will be taught how to reason, how to communicate precisely and accurately and how to carry out research. If you are taking the three-year LLB Law course, during your second and final years you will also have an opportunity, if you wish, to follow modules in other schools, departments and centres in the University. We are looking for applicants with a critical interest in the world around them. You do not need to have A-level Law to study at Essex.

Our facilities

Our School of Law, and our student Law Society, run a number of activities throughout the year that you may wish to be involved in. Mooting is an important skill, particularly if you hope to become a barrister, but you can join in just for fun and to improve your skills of argumentation. We run a number of mooting competitions, our own internal competition plus national competitions, and even specialised ones in the subject of public international law.

Skills training in advocacy is provided in your first year in our legal skills module and you learn invaluable skills of mediation and negotiation in your second year of our legal skills module, and test these in our Client Interviewing Competition (sponsored by Birkett Long Solicitors) and the national Negotiation and Mediation Competitions. These competitions also serve as vital experience for professional practice. You can participate in our Model United Nations which can improve your negotiation skills, as well as skills of argumentation, oral presentation and research.

In addition, our Essex Street Law project is one of the first of its kind and is the primary pro-bono project provided by our Law Society. Our programme aims to increase social awareness of legal issues by providing a legal literacy programme, particularly in local schools. From its many activities, our Street Law students will gain invaluable experience in organising mock trials, negotiations, mediations and debating.

Study abroad/placement opportunities

From 2011 onwards, our School of Law is introducing 15 credit modules to enable our final-year students to study abroad or have placement opportunities for one term.

For our courses with a compulsory period of study abroad, your third and fourth years are spent at one of three partner institutions in France, where modules are taken to permit you to obtain the Licence en Droit and Maîtrise/Master 1.

Hear what our students have to say

Graduate profile

Catherine Dunmore, LLB Law ’10, United Kingdom

“When I first visited the Colchester Campus, I knew straight away this was somewhere I could spend three years studying for my degree. Essex offered a wide range of law modules, the people I met during my visit were very friendly and the campus environment suited me perfectly!

“The School of Law was excellent and the lecturers were all experts in their own areas of research, which definitely inspired me as I was learning from the best! My favourite module was English Legal History, but I also thoroughly enjoyed Land Law and Commercial Property Law. I had excellent lecturers who made the course interesting, amusing and applicable to real life, due to the examples they gave.

“Immediately after graduating, I went travelling for five months, which was a well-deserved break from studying! I then completed an accelerated LPC (Legal Practice Course) and have now begun my training contract with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. Without my degree, this job would not have been possible and I think that, without the exceptional lecturers and incredible opportunities at Essex, I would not be where I am today.”


The special characteristics of our courses are flexibility and choice. In your first year, you usually take four or five modules that include pre-requisite(s) for your course but, in many cases, mean you can try subjects you have not come across before. If you are taking a humanities or social science, then you have the greatest choice, as most of our first-year modules do not assume any specialist knowledge.

With a small number of exceptions, if you successfully complete the first year of your BA, then you are qualified to enter the second year of that course and a range of other courses: for example, if you take economics, politics, philosophy and sociology, then you have a choice of at least nine possible single or joint honours courses at the end of your first year. This means you can change your course, providing you have taken the appropriate pre-requisites and places are available. We offer a range of optional modules in your second- and final-years and most courses allow you to undertake a final-year project, an individual piece of research on a topic that interests you.

We operate a credit framework for our awards, which is based on principles widely used across the UK university sector. Each module has a credit rating attached and our standard three-year course consists of 360 credits (120 credits in your first year, and 240 credits across your second and final years).

Please note that module information on our course finder provides a guide to course content and may be subject to review on an annual basis.

Year 1

Foundations of Human Rights;
Public Law 1;
Legal Skills;
Foundations of the Law of Property; and
Criminal Law.

Year 2

Issues and Methods in Human Rights:
Public Law 2;
Jurisprudence 1;
Introduction to Public International Law;
Selected Issues in Public International Law; and
European Human Rights Law or Protection of Human Rights and Issues in UK Human Rights Law.

Year 3

Human Rights Colloquium; and
a combination of three full-year optional modules or six half-year optional modules.


As a new undergraduate, you may find university-level learning, assessment and studying differs to school or college. Here at Essex, we understand and recognise this by having support in place, particularly during your first year when you may notice the change more.

If you are studying a non-science subject, then your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes, the latter involving about 20 students. A typical timetable includes a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your four modules every week. Any language classes involve language laboratory sessions.

First-year assessment is a combination of written coursework, end-of-term tests, practical and laboratory work (where appropriate) and end-of-year exams.

Teaching methods and styles

Within our School of Law, you are taught principally by lectures and tutorials. For most modules, you attend two lectures a week and one fortnightly tutorial. During tutorials, you have an opportunity to discuss the law, apply the law to factual problems, and develop legal arguments. Legal skills (eg legal research, legal writing and oral presentation) are considered to be an important part of all our teaching. During your first year, in addition to your core modules, you take a Legal Skills module, including an intensive induction week at the start of your year, to give you a grounding in the basic techniques for studying law. In addition, basic IT skills training is available and training in the use of LEXIS and WESTLAW (legal research tools) is also given.

Alongside this, you are encouraged to take part in moots (mock trials), negotiation competitions and other practical exercises, as this helps develop your oral and legal reasoning skills. You are able to participate in national and international mooting competitions and in the annual mooting competition organised by our University of Essex Law Society.

Methods of assessment

Within our School of Law, assessment in virtually all modules is by a combination of written examination and coursework. Your examinations are held at the end of each academic year. You must pass your first-year qualifying examinations to proceed into your second year. The examinations at the end of your second and third years (and your fourth year in the case of our four-year courses) count towards your final degree classification.

Career destinations

Our School maintains close, well-established links with the legal profession. Our graduates have secured positions across the spectrum of the legal profession: from multi-national city firms, through to large national and regional firms, to local high street solicitors. Some of our other graduates have gone on to train for the Bar. Equally, there are opportunities for you to pursue a legal career in companies who have their own in-house legal teams or in the public sector.

While many of our graduates do pursue a career in the law, there are some who choose to take the desirable key skills developed whilst studying law into different sectors. These sectors are wide ranging and include: business and commerce, accountancy, insurance, banking, central and local government, teaching, social work or the police force. For example, recent graduates of our BA Law and Human Rights have found employment as a Bangladeshi women’s project worker for the Bangladeshi Support Centre, as an editor for an online blog/news site on Africa, as a case worker for the ABC project, as a technical product developer for Suffolk Life and as a legal secretary for a local county council.

We offer careers advice and support, alongside the Employability and Careers Centre, for our students and graduates. For example, we hold an annual law fair, attended by a wide variety of solicitors’ firms and barristers’ chambers, as well as vocational qualification providers. Additionally, careers talks are given on various topics including effective applications and life in the profession.

Your employability

At Essex we take your employability seriously, helping you become a rounded individual with the ability to succeed, whatever your plans. You’ll find your department works with our Employability and Careers Centre to inform you about options to study or work overseas, your Faculty Employability Coordinator finds degree-related work placements, and our Students’ Unions ensures that, annually, over 700 students volunteer and more than 4,000 get involved in sports, clubs and societies.

At Essex you can gain new skills that look good on your CV, like paid placements through our frontrunners scheme, graduate-level paid internships, and opportunities to develop discipline-specific skills as part of your studies.

We help you understand your skills, and how to demonstrate these to an employer. You can get our extra-curricular employability award – the Big Essex Award – recorded on your transcript, receive one-to-one advice on careers, use our Essex CV guides on applying for work, learn from famous entrepreneurs and take part in workshops, and meet employers through on-campus events.

We develop your employability through fantastic opportunities, and give you the tools to explore the meaning of your unique experiences, so you are ready for your future.

Global employability

Here at Essex, our students can undertake period of study or work abroad specifically tailored to his/her academic interests and future career plans. You are taught and assessed by your host university, so assessment may be in the form of written papers, oral or written exams, lab or project work, research, or work-based learning. All successfully completed pre-approved modules will be credited towards your Essex degree.

Study abroad is an excellent opportunity for personal development. It affords you the chance to become immersed in another culture over a sustained period, coming to know a country and its people in a way that you could not hope to as a tourist. It is also an opportunity to experience a different educational system and develop different skills. You learn to view the world (and your academic discipline) from another perspective, becoming more independent and confident.

Study abroad also enhances your employability. It helps your CV stand out from other candidates and signals to an employer that you have maturity, adaptability and organisational skills. As the world of business is becoming increasingly international, the experience of living abroad is, in itself, attractive to many employers. Depending upon your study abroad destination, you may also gain fluency in another language, which is a highly attractive skill to have as you enter the employment market.

If you are interested in learning another language then our Languages for All programme enables you to study a language, alongside your course, at no extra cost. You can take one of 50 taught language modules on a part-time day-time basis, or undertake flexible web-based learning, or opt for a language module taught in the evening. As employers can struggle to find graduates able to speak more than one language, Languages for All places Essex graduates in a very advantageous position.

Postgraduate opportunities

Within our School of Law, we offer taught Masters courses and research supervision for PhD and MPhil. Our taught Masters offer scope if you are interested in a career either in law or one of many related spheres, such as industry, commerce, financial services, the media, or governmental and non-governmental agencies.

We have an international reputation for excellence in research and teaching, and our academics are at the cutting edge of scholarship. We build on our areas of success to foster an environment conducive to the highest quality research founded in legal theory and practice including socio-legal studies.

Entry requirements for 2015


  • A-levels: ABB – BBB, including an essay-writing subject
  • GCSE English: C
  • IB: 32 - 30 points, including a Higher Level essay-based subject grade 5 (we consider IB certificates at the Higher level on a case-by-case basis)
  • Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 45 level three credits at merit (or above).
  • Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall with minimum 5.5 in each component (or equivalent). Different requirements apply for second year entry.

We accept a wide range of other qualifications from applicants studying in the UK, EU and other countries. For further details about the qualifications that we accept, please e-mail us with information about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

We welcome applications from mature students, students interested in direct entry to the second year and students wishing to defer entry.

Open Days

Come to one of our Open Days at our Colchester or Southend campuses and see for yourself what makes Essex an outstanding place to study. Our Open Days are your chance to attend general and subject-specific talks, tour our campus and accommodation, chat to current students about their experiences, and find out more about what Essex has to offer.

Campus Tours

If you can't make one of our Open Days then don’t worry, we offer regular Campus Tours at our Colchester and Southend campuses. Please let us know which campus you want to visit using the email addresses below and we’ll organise a tour with a current student for you.

Please try to give four working days' notice and if you or any of your guests have any specific individual needs. Please include details in your email and we can arrange to tailor your visit accordingly.

Colchester Campus

We offer campus tours from Monday to Friday at 12.30pm. Please email scl@essex.ac.uk letting us know when you would like to come.

Watch our Colchester Campus tour on Vimeo.

See our videos on our University of Essex Vimeo channel.

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.