Number of students studying undergraduate law degrees has risen by 28% since 2007

Avatar photo

By Katie King on

LLBs are booming — and increasingly dominated by women


The number of people taking up places to study law at higher education institutions has increased sharply over the last few years.

Figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) show the amount of successful applicants to undergraduate law courses to have risen by 5,215 (28%) since 2007, and 600 (3%) since last year.

This means that there are over 5,000 more students enrolling on undergraduate law courses in 2015 than did so in 2007.

The new figures correspond with a 38% drop in applications for the postgraduate law conversion course, known as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). In 2008-09 there were 5,980 made for the GDL, but just 3,690 in 2014-15.

Interestingly, it’s women who are leading the way in the growth of law at undergraduate level. The difference in the number of men taking up law degrees compared to women reached its deepest divide in 2015.

Of the 23,825 students that accepted offers to study law last year, just over a third (34%) were male.

The UCAS stats reveal that the gender divide between law degree placeholders has steadily increased throughout the years, culminating in the biggest split ever in 2015.

In 2007, the successful applicants were 38% men and 62% women. Last year, 35% of accepted students were men and 65% women. Last year saw an even more polarised result, with the number of male freshers dipping below 35% for the first time.

The influx of female law students is part of an ongoing trend of women flourishing lower down in the ranks of the legal profession, but struggling to reach the top of the food chain.

With an increasing number of women going on to study law, it remains to be seen whether this will be reflected in the senior make-up of firms and chambers in years to come.