Oxford BCL v Cambridge LLM


bells
I have offers to commence the Oxford BCL and Cambridge LLM later this year. From what I have read, people in most countries either perceive these courses to be on par, or the BCL to be superior.

I am interested to know, if the BCL is, in general, considered to be superior, HOW superior is it? In particular, due to scholarships, different tuition fees and living expenses, it would cost me approximately 10,000 pounds more to undertake the BCL as opposed the LLM. Any comments, advice or thoughts about whether the BCL is worth that much more (in terms of future employment, briefs at the bar, and academic respect generally) would be much appreciated. Do people think that the BCL (if superior at all) is worth spending / borrowing 10,000 pounds more to undertake than the LLM?
I have offers to commence the Oxford BCL and Cambridge LLM later this year. From what I have read, people in most countries either perceive these courses to be on par, or the BCL to be superior.

I am interested to know, if the BCL is, in general, considered to be superior, HOW superior is it? In particular, due to scholarships, different tuition fees and living expenses, it would cost me approximately 10,000 pounds more to undertake the BCL as opposed the LLM. Any comments, advice or thoughts about whether the BCL is worth that much more (in terms of future employment, briefs at the bar, and academic respect generally) would be much appreciated. Do people think that the BCL (if superior at all) is worth spending / borrowing 10,000 pounds more to undertake than the LLM?
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The answer depends upon where you intend to end up after earning the degree. From an American perspective, the schools are viewed as nearly equal -- i.e., the equivalent of Harvard/Yale or Yale/Harvard. Can't go wrong with either. Obviously, I do not practice law in England, so I cannot advise you of their relative merit outside of the US.
The answer depends upon where you intend to end up after earning the degree. From an American perspective, the schools are viewed as nearly equal -- i.e., the equivalent of Harvard/Yale or Yale/Harvard. Can't go wrong with either. Obviously, I do not practice law in England, so I cannot advise you of their relative merit outside of the US.
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bells
Thank you both for your helpful insights! It does seem that, in Europe and the US, at least, the degrees are considered to be equal, or Cambridge perhaps slightly superior. If anyone from the UK or other countries is reading this post, I would also be interested in their views as to which degree is to be preferred, and if Oxford, whether that preference could ever be worth 10,000.
Thank you both for your helpful insights! It does seem that, in Europe and the US, at least, the degrees are considered to be equal, or Cambridge perhaps slightly superior. If anyone from the UK or other countries is reading this post, I would also be interested in their views as to which degree is to be preferred, and if Oxford, whether that preference could ever be worth 10,000.
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PublicBCL
Private Equity 1 sounds like a Cambridge LLM graduate to me!

Do the BCL. Tougher, more intense teaching and learning, supervised teaching by Professors.

The degree is well-known by lawyers where it matters. The whole "the name is confusing thing" is a somewhat silly basis for decision-making.

Take the quality product if finances allow.
Private Equity 1 sounds like a Cambridge LLM graduate to me!

Do the BCL. Tougher, more intense teaching and learning, supervised teaching by Professors.

The degree is well-known by lawyers where it matters. The whole "the name is confusing thing" is a somewhat silly basis for decision-making.

Take the quality product if finances allow.
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bells
PublicBCL, thanks for your insights. Have you studied the BCL, or do you intend to? I am interested in what gives you this perspective on the BCL v LLM.

Either way, I am interested in your response to this question: Assume the BCL is superior to the LLM for the reasons you have identified, what practical benefit does this give a prospective student, and is it possible to quanitfy that benefit as worth 10,000? One of the issues taxing my mind is that, even amongst those people who perceive the BCL to be superior, they cannot identify any tangible "read world" benefit (in terms of increased job prospects, increased likelihood of being briefed at the bar, increased academic prospects) of undertaking the BCL. The only "benefit" that some people have suggested to me is that the BC: has a better reputation in some circles. But if that does not translate into something more tangible, I fail to see how that is a benefit per se.
PublicBCL, thanks for your insights. Have you studied the BCL, or do you intend to? I am interested in what gives you this perspective on the BCL v LLM.

Either way, I am interested in your response to this question: Assume the BCL is superior to the LLM for the reasons you have identified, what practical benefit does this give a prospective student, and is it possible to quanitfy that benefit as worth 10,000? One of the issues taxing my mind is that, even amongst those people who perceive the BCL to be superior, they cannot identify any tangible "read world" benefit (in terms of increased job prospects, increased likelihood of being briefed at the bar, increased academic prospects) of undertaking the BCL. The only "benefit" that some people have suggested to me is that the BC: has a better reputation in some circles. But if that does not translate into something more tangible, I fail to see how that is a benefit per se.
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bells
PS, PublicBCL, would your view change if I was to say that I have been accepted into a highly respected Cambridge College, whereas I have not yet been offered a College place at Oxford? This seems to be important to me for two reasons: (1) securing accomodation, (2) from everything I have read, which College you are in greatly influences your experience at either Cambridge or Oxford.
PS, PublicBCL, would your view change if I was to say that I have been accepted into a highly respected Cambridge College, whereas I have not yet been offered a College place at Oxford? This seems to be important to me for two reasons: (1) securing accomodation, (2) from everything I have read, which College you are in greatly influences your experience at either Cambridge or Oxford.
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Wookie
PE1 appears to be coming at it from a finance/City perspective I answer as someone who's only studied law and is going to the Bar (so that may account for differences.) I completed my undergrad at Cambridge and am currently in the final hours of my BCL year.

In England, certainly at the Bar, the BCL (despite perhaps because of the odd name) is more respected, particularly in the Commercial & Chancery fields. Look at new tenants at the top chambers and the BCL/LLM ratio. The recruiters (even non-barristers) in Chambers know the degree. That said, they're both pretty damn good. I know two people (one Cambridge u/grad, one Oxford) who chose the LLM because they wanted a less intense year than the BCL both got good pupillages.

I agree with PublicBCL on the teaching - particularly, the BCL has tutorials as well as seminars. The LLM has just seminars. First, tuts are the quintessential Oxbridge experience where your essays and ideas are scrutinised by leading academics; secondly, some of the stuff is pretty complex and it is an excellent pedagogical tool to take it in during seminars before going over the ideas again.

Whether these two advantages tutorial teaching and Bar reputation are worth the extra money is up to you. Possibly, I would tend to "not quite" if you're looking to stay in academia, but if you intend to practice commercially the repayment situation would be different.

Colleges are relevant to your personal experience, but as so much of the teaching is seminar- and therefore University-based it matters less academically. I would also say reputation is less important when you're there for a single Masters year than for undergrad your course rather than your college is the passport to first round interviews. Oxford colleges may just be later in making the offers.
PE1 appears to be coming at it from a finance/City perspective – I answer as someone who's only studied law and is going to the Bar (so that may account for differences.) I completed my undergrad at Cambridge and am currently in the final hours of my BCL year.

In England, certainly at the Bar, the BCL (despite – perhaps because of – the odd name) is more respected, particularly in the Commercial & Chancery fields. Look at new tenants at the top chambers and the BCL/LLM ratio. The recruiters (even non-barristers) in Chambers know the degree. That said, they're both pretty damn good. I know two people (one Cambridge u/grad, one Oxford) who chose the LLM because they wanted a less intense year than the BCL – both got good pupillages.

I agree with PublicBCL on the teaching - particularly, the BCL has tutorials as well as seminars. The LLM has just seminars. First, tuts are the quintessential Oxbridge experience where your essays and ideas are scrutinised by leading academics; secondly, some of the stuff is pretty complex and it is an excellent pedagogical tool to take it in during seminars before going over the ideas again.

Whether these two advantages – tutorial teaching and Bar reputation – are worth the extra money is up to you. Possibly, I would tend to "not quite" if you're looking to stay in academia, but if you intend to practice commercially the repayment situation would be different.

Colleges are relevant to your personal experience, but as so much of the teaching is seminar- and therefore University-based it matters less academically. I would also say reputation is less important when you're there for a single Masters year than for undergrad – your course rather than your college is the passport to first round interviews. Oxford colleges may just be later in making the offers.
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PublicBCL
(1) On me, I can now say I have finished the BCL.

(2) On college choice, the college choice does not really influence the quality of your BCL education (it is done somewhat differently to Oxbridge undergrad tutorial teaching). It is more influential on quality of life/enjoyment of time outside the classroom. The exception is somewhere like Magdalen which has slightly greater BCL infrastructural support.

The BCL may not be worth £10k's difference to the LLM, but you can only make that sort of call on a gut feeling. The LLM will certainly be an 'easier' year, based on all the friends I've had who've done one or the other.
(1) On me, I can now say I have finished the BCL.

(2) On college choice, the college choice does not really influence the quality of your BCL education (it is done somewhat differently to Oxbridge undergrad tutorial teaching). It is more influential on quality of life/enjoyment of time outside the classroom. The exception is somewhere like Magdalen which has slightly greater BCL infrastructural support.

The BCL may not be worth £10k's difference to the LLM, but you can only make that sort of call on a gut feeling. The LLM will certainly be an 'easier' year, based on all the friends I've had who've done one or the other.
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