University of York vs University of Sheffield
York feature image taken by Mark Beech

Every university experience is different; therefore, I have done a comparison with a student studying law at the University of York. We have both just completed our first year and both entered into university having studied A-Levels. We both answered the same set of questions describing our experience.

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University of York

Application Process

What grades did you need to get on the course?

AAA, EPQ did not lower the grades

Did you have to take the LNAT?

No

Did you have an interview before you got an offer?

Yes

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About the University

City or campus university?

Campus

What is the relationship like between students and lecturers? (informal/formal)

Informal

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Studying Law

What subjects did you do in first year?

Criminal Law, Tort Law, EU Law, Public Law, Property Law, Law and Society, Legal Skills, Legal Concepts

How is the course taught?

It is Problem Based Learning- we are assigned to a group of 10-12 people for the year and each week we are given two scenarios to research. Each scenario contains two areas of law (e.g. a criminal issue and a property issue). With the help of the tutor in the session, we discuss the scenarios and form research questions. The lectures usually link to the scenarios for that week which can point you in the right direction.

The Legal Skills unit is similar, with the same groups being given scenarios and being expected to undertake more practical activities, such as mooting or negotiation.

How many contact hours do you have a week on average?

20 hours

What is your workload like?

The workload at York is quite intensive as the weekly research can often take a long time. This will mostly consist of reading and analysing cases and journal articles, as well as reading from text books.

How are you assessed? (coursework/exam/do you get any materials before the exam?)

First year was 85% coursework. Mostly consisting of around 2000-word essays. For the exams we are given a scenario, similar to those we look at in group sessions. We then have 2 days to analyse the legal issues in the scenario before the exams.

Do you feel you can get help easily if you do not understand something?

Most tutors are very helpful and will provide contact information in lectures etc.

Are there placements or study abroad options?

Yes, but I do not know a lot about them (sorry).

What is the best and worst thing about studying law at your university so far?

Best: the group work is interesting, and the scenarios are varied which means it never gets boring. Other than lectures, most sessions are in small groups of 12 meaning it is easier to speak and participate.

Worst: some weeks there has felt like there is too much to research to understand it all at a high level, however there is a mid-term break in week 5 of each term to allow time to go back over anything you do not understand.

Going into second year do you get to choose any of the modules you take/how many if you do?

We can choose 1 unit. This year’s options were: history of law, healthcare law, finance, the supreme court, human rights law (and I think a few others, but I can’t remember).

Are there any law societies? What are they?

There is a law society which runs talks, socials and provides information on placements and how to get experience.

Overall a positive or negative experience?

Overall positive

One thing you think someone should know before they study law at York University:

There is a very large amount of group work. Activities may also push you outside of your comfort zone, for example mooting and negotiation in first year Legal Skills. It is very rewarding but may not be for everyone.

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University of Sheffield

Application Process

What grades did you need to get on the course?

AAA, if I got an A in my EPQ they would lower the grades to AAB

Did you have to take the LNAT?

No

Did you have an interview before you got an offer?

No

. . . . . . . . .

About the University

City or campus university?

City

What is the relationship like between students and lecturers? (informal/formal)

Generally informal. However, when writing an email to a tutor it has to be written formally.

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Studying Law

What subjects did you do in first year?

Criminal Law and Justice, Law of Obligations, Contemporary Issues in Law and Justice, Public Law in the UK and EU, Property Law (Land Law, Equity and Trusts), Remedies in Private Law, WiNS (a skills module that was not assessed)

How is the course taught?

We had a lecture for each module. Then every two weeks we would have a 2-hour seminar for each of the modules. 

Before the seminar we would be set work to do, based on the lectures had. We got set a list of reading and then questions to answer (some short, some problem questions and some essay type questions). You would then go through these questions with a tutor in a group of about 15 (the seminar).

For some modules you would have to present your findings in the seminar. 

How many contact hours do you have a week on average?

12 hours

What is your workload like?

The workload was manageable. There was often a lot of reading for seminars and sometimes the seminar preparation did take a while. However, we had very little contact hours which meant we generally had sufficient time to complete the tasks. 

How are you assessed? (coursework/exam/do you get any materials before the exam?)

Contemporary Issues in Law and Justice: 100% coursework (3000-word essay)

Criminal Law and Justice: 100% coursework (2400-word essay and a presentation with a group)

Law of Obligations: 100% exam

Public Law in the UK and EU: 100% coursework (essay and assessed group work)

Property Law (Land Law, Equity and Trusts): 100% exam

Remedies in Private Law: 100% exam

Before the Property Law exam, we were given the topics that the problem questions would be on and we were given the exact essay questions that would come up in the exam.

In the Property Law exam, you could take in a statute book and in both the Remedies in Private Law exam and the Property Law exam you were given a list of cases in the exam.

Do you feel you can get help easily if you do not understand something?

Most of the tutors are very helpful and have contact information. They also have office hours.

Are there placements or study abroad options?

Yes, you get the option to study abroad for a year.

What is the best and worst thing about studying law at your university so far?

Best: it never gets boring and there will always be a module you will really enjoy.

Worst: some of the lectures were not long enough so a large amount of information was thrown at you which meant there was no way of getting notes down. This made it very hard to understand what was going on. 

Going into second year do you get to choose any of the modules you take/how many if you do?

Going into second year I get to choose all my modules (6). 

Are there any law societies? What are they?

There are multiple societies to get involved in. There is the Edward Bramley Law Society, Bar Society, Criminology Society and the European Law Students Association.

Overall a positive or negative experience?

Overall positive

One thing you think someone should know before they study law at the University of Sheffield?

There is a lot of reading and a lot of work you will be expected to do individually as there are few contact hours. See my post ‘What I Wish I Knew Before Studying Law at University‘ for more tips!

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If you have any questions about either of the universities then comment down below or ask on my Instagram (@journeyinlaw).

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. This is such an informative post. Well done on getting through your first year, that sounds like an awful lot of work!

    1. Thank you! 🙂

  2. I didn’t go to university and always regret it. This is such an informative post!

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment! 🙂

  3. Thank you for an informative post, I’ll make sure to share it to those who might need it 🙂

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