MSc in Law and Finance | University of Oxford
Students sitting on concrete steps
The amphitheatre at the Saïd Business School

MSc in Law and Finance

About the course

The MSc in Law and Finance (MLF) 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.

Course structure

Students studying the MLF take two core courses and then choose either to take the law or finance stream. There are also pre-sessional courses in maths and financial reporting.

Core courses

There are two core finance courses, Finance and First Principles of Financial Economics, and a core interdisciplinary course, Law and Economics of Corporate Transactions. Finance, is taught during the first and second terms. First Principles of Financial Economics is taught during the first term and Law and Economics of Corporate Transactions is taught through lectures and seminars during the second and third terms. 

Law stream

In addition to the 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). Students may choose to select two half options in law in place of a law elective, thereby allowing students to study a wider range of subjects. 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). These electives 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.

Finance stream

Currently, as an alternative to taking two law electives, MLF students can select the Finance Stream, which is taught by interactive classes at the Saïd Business School during the second and third terms. By selecting the Finance Stream, 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 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.

Supervision

The allocation of graduate supervision for this course 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.

Assessment

MLF students undertake assessment and/or examinations in each of the three terms of the programme. The core course of Finance, Law and Economics of Corporate Transactions and First Principles of Financial Economics use a range of assessment methods which may include group work exercises, timed examinations and formal coursework.

Most law elective subjects are assessed by means of timed examinations at the end of the course but a number use assessed essays written over a longer period. Further information about forms of assessment is provided on the Law Faculty Admissions page. Those taking the dissertation option are required to submit a 10,000 to 12,500 word dissertation in the third term.

Finance Stream courses are assessed by formal coursework and/or practical work and/or a timed examination during the second and third terms.

Graduate destinations

Typically, over 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 dedicated MLF careers support as you consider your career strategy and move into the application and interview processes. 

Additional speaker events are run to complement 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.

Changes to this course and your supervision

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. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic (including Covid-19), epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.

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 illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information please see our page on changes to courses and the provisions of the student contract regarding changes to courses.

Other courses you may wish to consider

If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.

Courses suggested by the lead faculty

Bachelor of Civil Law BCL
Magister Juris MJur
Master of Business Adminstration MBA
Financial Economics MSc

Oxford 1+1 MBA programme

This course can be studied as a part of the Oxford 1+1 MBA programme. The Oxford 1+1 MBA programme is a unique, two-year graduate experience that combines the depth of a specialised, one-year master’s degree with the breadth of a top-ranking, one-year MBA.

Entry requirements for entry in 2021-22

Proven and potential academic excellence

Degree-level qualifications

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:

  • a first-class or a very strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours 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 your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

  • Work experience in a relevant field may be an advantage but is not a requirement.
  • The longer it is since you have been in full-time education, the more attention will be paid to any relevant professional experience. 
  • 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.

Extenuating circumstances

If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.

English language requirement

This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement. The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are detailed in the table below.

Minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level requirement
TestMinimum overall scoreMinimum score per component
IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713) 7.57.0
TOEFL iBT (Institution code: 0490)110Listening: 22
Reading: 24
Speaking: 25
Writing: 24
C1 Advanced*191185
C2 Proficiency191185

*Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. Our Application Guide provides further information about the English language test requirement.

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

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

Supervision

Any offer of a place is dependent on the University’s ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.

How your application is assessed

Your application will be assessed purely on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course. 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. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.

Admissions panels and assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).

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

After an offer is made

If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, you will be required to meet the following requirements: 

Financial Declaration

If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.

Disclosure of criminal convictions

In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.

Resources

The Law Faculty is fortunate to have outstanding library facilities provided by the Bodleian Law Library. As part of the Bodleian, the Law Library shares in all the advantages of being part of the largest university library in the country, including the receipt, under legal deposit legislation, of legal material published in the UK and Ireland. 

The Law Library offers the vast majority of its holdings - some 550,000 items - on open shelves across four floors. Selected low-use material is housed in a book storage facility and is retrievable within half a day. The library serves a large community of graduate readers and academics in their research requirements. The strength of the collection lies in the depth of its UK holdings, combined with extensive holdings for European and Commonwealth jurisdictions. The international law collection is exceptional, as are the collections for Roman law, jurisprudence and official papers. Other significant fields include the US and comparative law. To complement the paper collection, the Law Library provides a remarkable range of online legal resources.

The library has 40 reader workstations, which provide access to the internet, legal databases, Microsoft Office applications and Endnote. There is a Graduate Reading Room, a large seminar room, two IT rooms and three small ‘discussion rooms’ for private study or group work. The wireless network extends throughout the library. The law librarians offer a range of classes and one-to-one sessions to support the specific research needs of graduate students.

Funding

The University expects to be able to offer up to 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2021-22. You will be automatically considered for the majority of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. 

For further details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information about how to apply for Oxford scholarships requiring an additional application, details of external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources. Please ensure that you visit individual college websites for details of college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages.

Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the following faculty websites: 

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2021-22

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home (UK, Republic of Ireland,
Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
£40,500
Overseas (including EU)£40,500

Course 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 course fees). 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.

Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.

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/ROI
(including Islands)
£6,075 Approximately 8 weeks after an offer is made
Overseas £6,075

For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our detailed fee status information and the Oxford and the EU webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s exit from the EU.

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

For the 2021-22 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,175 and £1,710 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. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2021-22, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.

College preference

All graduate students at Oxford belong to a department or faculty and a college or hall (except those taking non-matriculated courses). If you apply for a place on this course you will have the option to express a preference for one of the colleges listed below, or you can ask us to find a college for you. The Colleges section of this website provides information about the college system at Oxford, as well as factors you may wish to consider when deciding whether to express a college preference. Please note that ‘college’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 45 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as Permanent Private Halls (PPHs). 

For some courses, the department or faculty may have provided some additional advice below to help you to decide. Whatever you decide, it won’t affect how the academic department assesses your application and whether they decide to make you an offer. If your department makes you an offer of a place, you’re guaranteed a place at one of our colleges. 

The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Law and Finance:

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:
A maximum of 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.

If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.

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, a maximum 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 an 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.

If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.

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 the 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.

Start or continue an application

Step 1: Read our guide to getting started, which explains how to prepare for and start an application.

Step 2: Check that you meet the Entry requirements and read the How to apply information on this page.

Step 3: Check the deadlines on this page and plan your time to submit your application well in advance.

Step 4: Our Application Guide will help you complete the form. It contains links to FAQs and further help.

Step 5: Submit your application as soon as possible (you can read more information about our deadlines).

Application GuideApply

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