Differences between studying in the UK and Canada

It is important to be aware of a number of differences between studying in the UK and studying in Canada. Some of these differences include:

Entry

In the UK, students do not require a prior degree before undertaking a law degree and can apply to an undergraduate law degree programme immediately after high school.

Canadian students who have met our entry requirements for the high school diploma can apply to study our three-year Law LLB programme immediately after high school. Students who already have an undergraduate degree can apply for the fast-track two-year Law (JD Pathway) LLB programme.

Applying

In the UK, applicants submit one online application to a central service (UCAS) and the application is then dispatched to the university (or universities) that the applicant selects. Applicants can apply to up to five universities. Applications are usually considered as soon as they arrive, and are not stored and assessed at a panel.

Grading scale

The grading scale that is used in UK universities is different to that which is used in Canada. Canadian students are given an official document that details these differences to send with applications for further study or to employers.

UK percentage UK classification Canadian percentage Canadian classification
70%  First class 80% A
60%  Upper second class (2:1) 70% B
50%  Lower second class (2:2) 60% C
40%  Third 50% D
39% and under  Fail 49% and under Fail

Transfers

In the UK, students tend to start and complete their degree at the same university and do not transfer between institutions. Additionally, it is often not possible to transfer into the second year of a degree programme or to use Canadian university credits towards your UK law degree.

Definitions: Courses

In Canada, the series of teaching sessions relating to a particular topic is called a ‘course’, whereas in the UK, ‘course’ will refer to the complete degree programme as a whole. In the UK, the series of teaching sessions relating to a particular topic is referred to as a ‘module’.

Structure of university degree programmes

In Canada, a student's degree programme may be made up of a major as well as a number of classes in different subject areas to earn a required number of credits per semester. 

At Leicester Law School, first-year students follow a set curriculum of purely law modules. This is also the case in the second year for students on the two-year Law (Graduate Entry) LLB programme. For those students on the three-year Law LLB programme, there are a number of core and option modules that students will study, all of which are law modules. This is the case at many other UK universities too.

Term dates

In the UK, semester dates run in a similar format to this:

  • Late September to mid-December - teaching
  • Mid-December to mid-January - Christmas vacation
  • Mid-January to the end of January - examination period
  • End of January to the end of March - teaching
  • End of March to early May - Easter vacation
  • Early May to mid-May - teaching
  • Mid-May to the end of June - examination period

For exact dates for the University of Leicester, see our term dates.

In order to comply with University and UK Border Agency visa regulations, students must be in Leicester during all teaching and examination periods.

Registration and module (‘course’) selection

Whereas in Canada registration and module (‘course’) selection occurs during the summer, in the UK this tends to occur during the last two weeks of September, and is done online. For law degree programmes, students are not required to select modules, as all first-year modules are compulsory. Information regarding registration is sent out in late August as part of a joining pack.

Reading lists and timetable

In the first year, reading lists and timetables are generally not provided until the first week of term.

The qualification

A law degree from a UK university is not the same as a law degree from Canada.