MSc in Law and Finance | University of Oxford
SBS
The amphitheatre at the Saïd Business School

MSc in Law and Finance

About the course

The MSc in Law and Finance is taught jointly by the Law Faculty and the Saïd Business School. It will provide you with an advanced interdisciplinary understanding of economic and financial concepts and their application to legal topics. The MSc combines a highly analytic academic core with tailor-made practical applications derived from collaboration with professional and regulatory organisations.

There are two core finance courses, Finance and First Principles of Financial Economics, a core interdisciplinary course, Law and Economics of Corporate Transactions, and one or more elective courses in law. There are also pre-sessional courses in maths and financial reporting.

In addition to these core MLF courses, students selecting the Law Stream will take two law electives from a tailored list of about 10 law courses that are available to students on the Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL). The list of law electives comprises courses that are business law-oriented and thus are intended to complement both each other and the MLF course as a whole. In taking these electives, you will be joined by students taking the Law Faculty's other taught graduate courses, the BCL and the Magister Juris (MJur).

MLF students can also select the Finance Stream. If you select this option, you will take only one law elective. In lieu of the second law elective, you will take a mandatory finance course, Corporate Valuation, in the second term and one finance elective in the third term. The short menu of finance electives has been selected from those offered by the Saïd Business School for the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and MSc in Financial Economics (MFE), comprising finance courses intended to complement the MLF programme. The electives are studied at the Saïd Business School alongside MBA and MFE students. It is anticipated that the Finance Stream will be available in future years, subject to notice.

Finance, a core MLF course, is taught during the first and second terms through twelve three-hour classes spread over the two terms and is assessed by a combination of a group work exercise that takes place during the second term and a timed examination at the end of the second term. 

First Principles of Financial Economics, another core course, is taught during the first term through weekly three-hour classes and is assessed by a combination of a group work exercise that takes place during the term, and an assessed essay and a timed examination at the end of the first term.

Law and Economics of Corporate Transactions, the MLF core interdisciplinary course, is taught through lectures and seminars during the second and third terms. It is assessed during the third term by means of a group work exercise involving the analysis of transactional case studies, including the preparation and presentation of proposals, and by an assessed essay submitted during the third term. 

Law electives from the BCL may be taught by a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials over the duration of the academic year, except for the dissertation option, which involves one-to-one sessions with an assigned supervisor. Outside of the seminars and tutorials you will be expected to read extensively in order to acquire the necessary knowledge to engage with course material at an appropriate level. 

Each law elective, except for the dissertation, is assessed through a timed, three-hour examination at the end of the third term. Those taking the dissertation option are instead required to submit a 10,000- to 12,500-word dissertation in the third term.

Finance Stream courses are taught by interactive classes at the Saïd Business School during the second and third terms, and assessed by formal coursework and/or practical work and/or a timed examination during and/or at the end of those terms. 

Graduate destinations

Typically, at least half of each class of MLF graduates go on to employment within the legal sector in London or internationally, usually at large, corporate law firms, at training contract or associate level, as well as in a variety of in-house roles. Others go on to work in fields such as investment banking, private equity, consulting and policymaking. Each year, a small number of students also embark on a career in academia.

As an MLF student, you will have access to the University Careers Services as well as to some relevant support from the Saïd Business School’s Careers Service, and to a dedicated MLF Careers Adviser to support you as you consider your career strategy and move into the application and interview processes. 

Additional speaker events are run to compliment the MLF programme, which facilitate contact with senior practitioners of law and finance, and MLF students will be a member of both the SBS and wider University alumni networks.

Related courses

Changes to the course

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Entry requirements for entry in 2017-18

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or a very strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications) in law. Equivalent qualifications may include a master’s in law or a postgraduate diploma in law or other law professional equivalent. 

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.7 out of 4.0.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

The longer it is since you have been in full-time education, the more attention will be paid to any relevant professional experience. 

Other appropriate indicators will include:

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview(s)

Interviews are not normally held as part of the admissions process. 

Publications

Publications are not expected. They may, in certain circumstances, advantage an application but it is appreciated that the opportunity to publish may vary considerably depending on factors such as the stage the student has reached in their academic career and the structure of the course(s) they have studied. Consequently, a lack of publications will not be assessed negatively.   

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

Work experience in a relevant field may be an advantage but is not a requirement.

2. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.

3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places

The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • The ability of the Law Faculty and/or the Saïd Business School to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work.
  • Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.

The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:

  • The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Law Faculty and/or the Saïd Business School and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff.
  • Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Law Faculty and/or the Saïd Business School.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, maternity leave or change in employment.

4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties

Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.

Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

5. Assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

6. Other information

Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.

Resources

The Law Faculty is fortunate to have outstanding library facilities provided by the Bodleian Law Library, which benefits from the deposit of legal materials published in Great Britain, and shares in the advantages of being part of the largest university library in the country. The law library has undergone an extensive refurbishment which has resulted in upgraded facilities for all students.

Currently, the Law Library offers the vast majority of its holdings - some 550,000 items - on open shelves across four floors. Older legislation is housed in the Book storage facility and is retrievable within half a day. The library serves a large community of postgraduate readers and academics in their research requirements. In particular, it has excellent UK, US, French, German, Italian and Spanish resources, extensive Commonwealth materials, strong European Union and international law collections. It also has extensive holdings in the philosophy and sociology of law, legal history, comparative law, criminology and Roman law. To complement the paper collection, the law library provides extensive online legal resources, with databases from many jurisdictions and covering many legal topics.

The library has over 50 workstations for the use of readers, each providing access to the internet, legal databases, Microsoft Office applications and Endnote. There is a Graduate Reading Room with network connections and a wireless network which covers most of the library. Three small discussion rooms, and a larger seminar room, can be booked for small group work. The law librarians offer a range of research classes to support specific research needs of graduate students, and provide one-on-one advisory research support for researchers.

Funding

There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.

A number of Research Council awards are available each year from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (further details will be announced in October 2016), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2017-18

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£28,855£3,021£31,876
Overseas£28,855£3,021£31,876

The fees shown above are the annual tuition and college fees for this course for entry in the stated academic year; for courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

Tuition and college fees are payable each year for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay tuition and college fees).

Deposits

If your application is successful, you will be asked to pay a deposit against your course fees at the application stage as a condition of your offer. The deposit amount and date by which payment must be made are shown below.

Fee status

Amount of deposit

Date by which deposit must be paid

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£4,320Within 30 days of acceptance of an offer
Overseas£4,320

The department's website provides further information about deposits for this course.

For more information about tuition fees, college fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details on the impact of the result of the UK referendum on its membership of the European Union.

Additional information

There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees and living costs.  However, as part of your course requirements, you may need to choose a dissertation, a project or a thesis topic. Please note that, depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Living costs

In addition to your tuition and college fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2017-18 academic year, the range of likely living costs is between £1,002 and £1,471 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our Living costs page.

How to apply

You do not need to make contact with academic staff before you apply.

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Statement of purpose/personal statement:
Around 300 words

Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas that interest you and/or you intend to specialise in.

The personal statement generally plays a less important role in the Law Faculty's assessment of applications than the references, written work, and academic qualifications.

This will be assessed for your reasons for applying, evidence of motivation for, and understanding of, the proposed area of study, your ability to present a reasoned case in English, and your commitment to the area of law and finance.

Written work:
One essay of 2,000 words

The work must be written in English and on a legal topic. Academic work from your most recent qualification is preferred, but work written in a professional context may be submitted if academic work is not readily available.

Your written work may be a extract of the required length from a longer piece - in such cases, the work should be prefaced by a note which puts it in context.

The word count does not need to include any bibliography or brief footnotes.

This will be assessed for a comprehensive understanding of the subject area, an understanding of problems in the area, an ability to construct and defend an argument, your powers of analysis and your powers of expression.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, of which at least two must be academic

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

You should select referees who can provide an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for your chosen course. One professional reference is acceptable if this is relevant to the course. Please note that personal references, such as those from family and friends, are not acceptable.

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement and motivation.