Why I'm choosing UCL over LSE and points you should also consider.


draemon

Hey everyone,

My name is Zack and I have a very strong first from a lower table local University that really went above and beyond for me. They let me take classes, work in research, write on the student journal - truly treated me like an equal. I was inspired to work in academia above legal practice. I applied in my late second year to (only) UCL, LSE, KCL, Cam and Oxford. I was rejected from Oxbridge and accepted everywhere else.

I really did my research and these were my reasons for choosing UCL:

1. You can avoid examinations altogether at UCL, but not at LSE. There is a min requirement at LSE of exams for 2 credits with a default of exam in every course module. My worst grade was an exam where I had 30% less than my second lowest score. My other exams were all firsts. I had a bad day. If you have a bad day on coursework, timed courseworks, speeches or projects then you re-schedule, hit backspace or make up for it in the other portions of the assignment.

2. UCL actions over words for student wellbeing. They really do offer you a lot of lee-way to schedule classes, take fewer timed hour classes, avoid exams, attend when it suits you, move around timetables. The number of total courses at UCL is also lesser with a greater emphasis on those you do take being larger credit courses. I read lots of student feedback at LSE/UCL and frequently saw horror stories come out of LSE and outrage at lack of feedback, proper instruction, admin errors etc. I don't care about socialising at University, frankly, but I do want free time to read, write and publish.

3. The research component at UCL is a quarter of your grade which allows you to really hone in on your area of research and carry it forward to your PHD.

3.5. You can also take another quarter of your degree in scholarship on Bentham and this really suits me. It's basically a "philosophy" quarter in my eyes owing to Bentham's wide scholarship and learning how to learn about him could help me better understand other great figures. I read a LOT of books and I've always been extremely glad to have been able to take such a rigorous literature course at my sixth form, and I expect UCL's Bentham module to be another eye opener for the way I read.

4. UCL is the #1 research University in the UK, and is increasingly scoring higher and higher on various methodology rankings for academia as they make inroads. They would be #3 behind Oxbridge in every poll if it wasn't for a bad student feedback year (they are #3 in many still), and frankly they would be above Oxbridge in many rankings if Oxbridge undertook the national student survey. In years to come, therefore, I anticipate the value of a UCL/LSE degree to appreciate and keep me in good stead. I don't want my degree to lose value for at least 10 years and I think UCL's emphasis on great research, student wellbeing, and fair examination will lead to it maintaining respect for itself and my resume.

5. Yes LSE has many more module options but UCL had all the ones I needed. If you have a niche area of speciality or something like finance which you'd like to have all perfect fits for, then LSE would make a lot more sense for you.

6. The Professors at UCL in my eyes were second only to Oxford for all the areas of interest I hold. All the top Unis have great professors, with the very best one for me being at Kings, but the UCL faculty seems to have truly modern research perspectives.

Hey everyone,

My name is Zack and I have a very strong first from a lower table local University that really went above and beyond for me. They let me take classes, work in research, write on the student journal - truly treated me like an equal. I was inspired to work in academia above legal practice. I applied in my late second year to (only) UCL, LSE, KCL, Cam and Oxford. I was rejected from Oxbridge and accepted everywhere else.

I really did my research and these were my reasons for choosing UCL:

1. You can avoid examinations altogether at UCL, but not at LSE. There is a min requirement at LSE of exams for 2 credits with a default of exam in every course module. My worst grade was an exam where I had 30% less than my second lowest score. My other exams were all firsts. I had a bad day. If you have a bad day on coursework, timed courseworks, speeches or projects then you re-schedule, hit backspace or make up for it in the other portions of the assignment.

2. UCL actions over words for student wellbeing. They really do offer you a lot of lee-way to schedule classes, take fewer timed hour classes, avoid exams, attend when it suits you, move around timetables. The number of total courses at UCL is also lesser with a greater emphasis on those you do take being larger credit courses. I read lots of student feedback at LSE/UCL and frequently saw horror stories come out of LSE and outrage at lack of feedback, proper instruction, admin errors etc. I don't care about socialising at University, frankly, but I do want free time to read, write and publish.

3. The research component at UCL is a quarter of your grade which allows you to really hone in on your area of research and carry it forward to your PHD.

3.5. You can also take another quarter of your degree in scholarship on Bentham and this really suits me. It's basically a "philosophy" quarter in my eyes owing to Bentham's wide scholarship and learning how to learn about him could help me better understand other great figures. I read a LOT of books and I've always been extremely glad to have been able to take such a rigorous literature course at my sixth form, and I expect UCL's Bentham module to be another eye opener for the way I read.

4. UCL is the #1 research University in the UK, and is increasingly scoring higher and higher on various methodology rankings for academia as they make inroads. They would be #3 behind Oxbridge in every poll if it wasn't for a bad student feedback year (they are #3 in many still), and frankly they would be above Oxbridge in many rankings if Oxbridge undertook the national student survey. In years to come, therefore, I anticipate the value of a UCL/LSE degree to appreciate and keep me in good stead. I don't want my degree to lose value for at least 10 years and I think UCL's emphasis on great research, student wellbeing, and fair examination will lead to it maintaining respect for itself and my resume.

5. Yes LSE has many more module options but UCL had all the ones I needed. If you have a niche area of speciality or something like finance which you'd like to have all perfect fits for, then LSE would make a lot more sense for you.

6. The Professors at UCL in my eyes were second only to Oxford for all the areas of interest I hold. All the top Unis have great professors, with the very best one for me being at Kings, but the UCL faculty seems to have truly modern research perspectives.
quote

Hi Zack, 

I am a current UCL LLM. Just want to say that I agree fully with everything you have said. Here are some of my views to support your reasons:

1. UCL is moving away from exams and assessing students ACTUAL legal reasoning, critical thinking etc. rather than our memory. It is also a LOT less stressful. BUT, make sure to write your essays throughout the year as the deadline are very close to each-other.  

2. The student welfare and disability support is phenomenal from individual professors, to programme heads, and wider university support. They have been really amazing support. 

The general freedom to fully design your own LLM based on assessment type, subject, timings etc. was a really attractive feature and a large reason why I preferred UCL over even Oxford. Try not to have more than two sessions a day as that will be tough. Try to space them out throughout the week. Mine are all on Thursday and Friday which hurts!

3. The research essay is really good. You’re given lots of training on research and writing. The IRE supervisor is  selected FOR you, not BY you, so you will be paired with the best person in the uni (and probably Country) for your topics, with unparalleled expertise.

4. Covid caused an explosion of students number as unis are obligated to admit anyone who meets their offer; teachers were just giving students the grades they needed for their offers, so UCL was unexpectedly hit with way too many students. This means a smaller staff-student ratio which I think is the reason for a lower student satisfaction score. EVERYONE I have met in UCL Laws has had only great things to say about UCL. My only issue is that the course is 10 months, rather than the typical 12 months. 

UCL’s world super elite ranking and top position on the UK rankings isn’t going anywhere. 

5. UCL modules are designed by the teachers, and, being UCL Professors, they are THE leaders in their fields. UCL doesn’t do generic modules… they are modules covering your convenors expertise. I’d rather than over a generic course any day. HOWEVER, when undergrad numbers exploded, LLM numbers had to be hugely reduced as resources were sent to LLBs. Now cohort sizes are stabilising, LLM module options are growing. There were also a lot of staff on research leave this year, so that also explained the low number of modules recently. 

6. Connected to point 5, the professors at UCL are THE preeminent experts of their modules’s material. still, 8 months into my course, I still find myself just staring in awe at my professors. They are the best in the country. UCL’s quality is on par with oxford; All Oxford has over UCL is the tutorial system. 



IF you are looking to pursue a PHD at UCL, write your PhD proposal/application over the summer. The deadline is VERY early (I have moaned to the faculty about this), and you won’t have enough time to write a top-quality proposal. You can get in touch with faculty members who you would like to have supervise your PhD; they can give you good advice. I am fortunate that my IRE supervisor is the same person I want to have supervise my PhD (word your IRE title intentionally to target your dream supervisor, if you are SURE they are the best fit). 


It seems like UCL is going to be a really good fit for you. I hope you have a great time there!

[Edited by UCL LLM Student on Mar 20, 2023]

Hi Zack,&nbsp;<br><br>I am a current UCL LLM.&nbsp;Just want to say that I agree fully with everything you have said. Here are some of my views to support your reasons:<br><br>1. UCL is moving away from exams and assessing students ACTUAL legal reasoning, critical thinking etc. rather than our memory. It is also a LOT less stressful. BUT, make sure to write your essays throughout the year as the deadline are very close to each-other. &nbsp;<br><br>2. The student welfare and disability support is phenomenal from individual professors, to programme heads, and wider university support. They have been really amazing support.&nbsp;<br><br>The general freedom to fully design your own LLM based on assessment type, subject, timings etc. was a really attractive feature and a large reason why I preferred UCL over even Oxford. Try not to have more than two sessions a day as that will be tough. Try to space them out throughout the week. Mine are all on Thursday and Friday which hurts!<br><br>3. The research essay is really good. You’re given lots of training on research and writing. The IRE supervisor is &nbsp;selected FOR you, not BY you, so you will be paired with the best person in the uni (and probably Country) for your topics, with unparalleled expertise.<br><br>4. Covid caused an explosion of students number as unis are obligated to admit anyone who meets their offer; teachers were just giving students the grades they needed for their offers, so UCL was unexpectedly hit with way too many students. This means a smaller staff-student ratio which I think is the reason for a lower student satisfaction score. EVERYONE I have met in UCL Laws has had only great things to say about UCL. My only issue is that the course is 10 months, rather than the typical 12 months.&nbsp;<br><br>UCL’s world super elite ranking and top position on the UK rankings isn’t going anywhere.&nbsp;<br><br>5. UCL modules are designed by the teachers, and, being UCL Professors, they are THE leaders in their fields. UCL doesn’t do generic modules… they are modules covering your convenors expertise. I’d rather than over a generic course any day. HOWEVER, when undergrad numbers exploded, LLM numbers had to be hugely reduced as resources were sent to LLBs. Now cohort sizes are stabilising, LLM module options are growing. There were also a lot of staff on research leave this year, so that also explained the low number of modules recently.&nbsp;<br><br>6. Connected to point 5, the professors at UCL are THE preeminent experts of their modules’s material. still, 8 months into my course, I still find myself just staring in awe at my professors. They are the best in the country. UCL’s quality is on par with oxford; All Oxford has over UCL is the tutorial system.&nbsp;<br><br><br><br>IF you are looking to pursue a PHD at UCL, write your PhD proposal/application over the summer. The deadline is VERY early (I have moaned to the faculty about this), and you won’t have enough time to write a top-quality proposal. You can get in touch with faculty members who you would like to have supervise your PhD; they can give you good advice. I am fortunate that my IRE supervisor is the same person I want to have supervise my PhD (word your IRE title intentionally to target your dream supervisor, if you are SURE they are the best fit).&nbsp;<br><br><br>It seems like UCL is going to be a really good fit for you. I hope you have&nbsp;a great time there!
quote

Hi Zack, 

I am a current UCL LLM. Just want to say that I agree fully with everything you have said. Here are some of my views to support your reasons:

1. UCL is moving away from exams and assessing students ACTUAL legal reasoning, critical thinking etc. rather than our memory. It is also a LOT less stressful. BUT, make sure to write your essays throughout the year as the deadline are very close to each-other.  

2. The student welfare and disability support is phenomenal from individual professors, to programme heads, and wider university support. They have been really amazing support. 

The general freedom to fully design your own LLM based on assessment type, subject, timings etc. was a really attractive feature and a large reason why I preferred UCL over even Oxford. Try not to have more than two sessions a day as that will be tough. Try to space them out throughout the week. Mine are all on Thursday and Friday which hurts!

3. The research essay is really good. You’re given lots of training on research and writing. The IRE supervisor is  selected FOR you, not BY you, so you will be paired with the best person in the uni (and probably Country) for your topics, with unparalleled expertise.

4. Covid caused an explosion of students number as unis are obligated to admit anyone who meets their offer; teachers were just giving students the grades they needed for their offers, so UCL was unexpectedly hit with way too many students. This means a smaller staff-student ratio which I think is the reason for a lower student satisfaction score. EVERYONE I have met in UCL Laws has had only great things to say about UCL. My only issue is that the course is 10 months, rather than the typical 12 months. 

UCL’s world super elite ranking and top position on the UK rankings isn’t going anywhere. 

5. UCL modules are designed by the teachers, and, being UCL Professors, they are THE leaders in their fields. UCL doesn’t do generic modules… they are modules covering your convenors expertise. I’d rather than over a generic course any day. HOWEVER, when undergrad numbers exploded, LLM numbers had to be hugely reduced as resources were sent to LLBs. Now cohort sizes are stabilising, LLM module options are growing. There were also a lot of staff on research leave this year, so that also explained the low number of modules recently. 

6. Connected to point 5, the professors at UCL are THE preeminent experts of their modules’s material. still, 8 months into my course, I still find myself just staring in awe at my professors. They are the best in the country. UCL’s quality is on par with oxford; All Oxford has over UCL is the tutorial system. 



IF you are looking to pursue a PHD at UCL, write your PhD proposal/application over the summer. The deadline is VERY early (I have moaned to the faculty about this), and you won’t have enough time to write a top-quality proposal. You can get in touch with faculty members who you would like to have supervise your PhD; they can give you good advice. I am fortunate that my IRE supervisor is the same person I want to have supervise my PhD (word your IRE title intentionally to target your dream supervisor, if you are SURE they are the best fit). 


It seems like UCL is going to be a really good fit for you. I hope you have a great time there!

[quote]Hi Zack,&nbsp;<br><br>I am a current UCL LLM.&nbsp;Just want to say that I agree fully with everything you have said. Here are some of my views to support your reasons:<br><br>1. UCL is moving away from exams and assessing students ACTUAL legal reasoning, critical thinking etc. rather than our memory. It is also a LOT less stressful. BUT, make sure to write your essays throughout the year as the deadline are very close to each-other. &nbsp;<br><br>2. The student welfare and disability support is phenomenal from individual professors, to programme heads, and wider university support. They have been really amazing support.&nbsp;<br><br>The general freedom to fully design your own LLM based on assessment type, subject, timings etc. was a really attractive feature and a large reason why I preferred UCL over even Oxford. Try not to have more than two sessions a day as that will be tough. Try to space them out throughout the week. Mine are all on Thursday and Friday which hurts!<br><br>3. The research essay is really good. You’re given lots of training on research and writing. The IRE supervisor is &nbsp;selected FOR you, not BY you, so you will be paired with the best person in the uni (and probably Country) for your topics, with unparalleled expertise.<br><br>4. Covid caused an explosion of students number as unis are obligated to admit anyone who meets their offer; teachers were just giving students the grades they needed for their offers, so UCL was unexpectedly hit with way too many students. This means a smaller staff-student ratio which I think is the reason for a lower student satisfaction score. EVERYONE I have met in UCL Laws has had only great things to say about UCL. My only issue is that the course is 10 months, rather than the typical 12 months.&nbsp;<br><br>UCL’s world super elite ranking and top position on the UK rankings isn’t going anywhere.&nbsp;<br><br>5. UCL modules are designed by the teachers, and, being UCL Professors, they are THE leaders in their fields. UCL doesn’t do generic modules… they are modules covering your convenors expertise. I’d rather than over a generic course any day. HOWEVER, when undergrad numbers exploded, LLM numbers had to be hugely reduced as resources were sent to LLBs. Now cohort sizes are stabilising, LLM module options are growing. There were also a lot of staff on research leave this year, so that also explained the low number of modules recently.&nbsp;<br><br>6. Connected to point 5, the professors at UCL are THE preeminent experts of their modules’s material. still, 8 months into my course, I still find myself just staring in awe at my professors. They are the best in the country. UCL’s quality is on par with oxford; All Oxford has over UCL is the tutorial system.&nbsp;<br><br><br><br>IF you are looking to pursue a PHD at UCL, write your PhD proposal/application over the summer. The deadline is VERY early (I have moaned to the faculty about this), and you won’t have enough time to write a top-quality proposal. You can get in touch with faculty members who you would like to have supervise your PhD; they can give you good advice. I am fortunate that my IRE supervisor is the same person I want to have supervise my PhD (word your IRE title intentionally to target your dream supervisor, if you are SURE they are the best fit).&nbsp;<br><br><br>It seems like UCL is going to be a really good fit for you. I hope you have&nbsp;a great time there! [/quote]
quote

Regarding your pont #1, I'm afraid this is incorrect - UCL is very much moving back to in-person exams from 2023/24, including on the LLM.

[Edited by Android Bango on Sep 23, 2023]

Regarding your pont #1, I'm afraid this is incorrect - UCL is very much moving back to in-person exams from 2023/24, including on the LLM.<br>
quote

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