This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with an introductory law module followed by a module that builds your knowledge of the concepts of law, law making and legal skills.
- At Stage 2, you’ll study two modules covering contract and tort law, and public and criminal law.
- Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll study a module with a focus on equity, trusts and land law, plus a module covering European Union law. You’ll complete your degree by choosing one from a choice of three options.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
You’ll start with an introduction to the study of law – exploring why laws exist; how they’re applied and interpreted; key concepts such as legal personality, culpability and legal liability; and the role played by the legal system. You’ll then consider the nature of legal obligations; morality and justice; and the meaning of justice in a legal system.
Stage 2 covers four of the seven ‘Foundations of Legal Knowledge’: Contract and Restitution, Tort, Criminal law and Public law.
You’ll learn how contracts are formed, their terms and how they end. You’ll also examine a range of torts including negligence, nuisance and trespass and the growing range of commercial torts.
The second module explores the relationship between the state and its citizens and critically analyses the principles underpinning constitutional and criminal law.
Stage 3 covers the remaining three ‘Foundations of Legal Knowledge’.
You will critically engage with equity, trusts and land through consideration of their interactions with political, cultural, social and economic contexts now and in the future. This is added to by gaining knowledge and understanding of different areas of European Union law.
You'll also choose one from three optional law modules. You can either engage in an interdisciplinary exploration of the relationship between law, society and culture, research a legal topic of your own choice or work on pro bono legal projects.
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 21 March 2018.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Bachelor of Laws (Honours) uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying with a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- working in a group with other students
- using and producing diagrams or screenshots
- finding external/third party material online.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support with any of the elements above, visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.
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; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University 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.
To become a solicitor or barrister, you’ll need to complete this degree within six years. This includes any modules you may be wanting to add to this qualification through credit transfer.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the Bachelor of Laws (LLB). You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
If you are unable to complete all three stages of this qualification you will still be able to claim an exit qualification. For the successful completion of Stage 1 (120 credits) you will be able to claim a Certificate of Higher Education in Law (T31). For the successful completion of both Stages 1 and 2 (240 credits of study) you can claim a Diploma of Higher Education in Law (W56).
Recognition in your country
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. Read recognition in my country.
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.
There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.
Please note that whilst it is possible to study both Stage 1 modules at the same time, students who complete W101 before W102 acquire the legal knowledge, understanding of legal terminology and legal study skills needed for successful study of W102. If you choose to study the modules together, you may therefore find studying W102 to be more challenging initially. Studying the two modules together is the equivalent of full-time study and you'll need to be able to study for up to 35 hours each week. Also there may be some occasions when the face to face tutorials on W101 and W102 conflict by being on the same date.
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.
Counting previous study
You could save time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study towards this qualification, if you have:
- already studied at university level (even if you didn't finish your studies)
- other professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs
Find out more about credit transfer
Skills for career development
This degree course will give you the chance to develop yourself beyond the boundaries of your normal work environment. You'll gain skills and knowledge that you can readily put into practice on a daily basis in a wide range of professional contexts. The specialist legal and transferable skills that you'll develop includes:
- an in-depth knowledge of the foundation subjects of law and of the legal system of England and Wales
- an ability to apply legal principles to resolve issues
- an ability to present and make a reasoned choice between different opinions and solutions
- an ability to read and discuss complex and technical legal materials
- competence in the use of basic IT, databases and websites
- thinking critically about your own learning and performance and taking steps to improve them.
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.
Solicitors and barristers in England and Wales need to complete three stages of training:
- Academic – a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD)
- Vocational – a Legal Practice Course (LPC) for solicitors. Alternatively the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) for barristers.
- Professional – a training contract for solicitors or ‘pupillage’ for barristers.
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.
Further employability and careers information is available on The Open University Law School website.
The Bachelor of Laws (Honours) is recognised by The Solicitors Regulation Authority and The Bar Standards Board as a ‘Qualifying Law Degree’.
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.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any subject area, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.
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.
- barrister's clerk
- legal executive
- legal cashier
- legal secretary
- civil servant
- company secretary
- patent attorney
- tax adviser.