The number of law students graduating with first or upper second class degrees has rocketed by over 100 per cent during the last 20 years, according to a new survey published this month.
Southampton Solent university topped the survey with the number of LLB students achieving firsts and 2:1s jumping by an astonishing 496.4 per cent between 1987 and 2007. The University of Exeter came in second place with an increase of 196.1 per cent followed by Manchester Metropolitan University, which saw the number of firsts and 2:1s awarded to law students rise by 148.1 per cent during the same period.
The head of Exeter’s school of law Professor John Usher said: “I don’t think standards have gone down, we’re just attracting better students and our teaching has significantly improved.”
The minimum entrance requirements for Exeter’s law degree is 400 UCAS points, which is the equivalent of three A grades at A-Level under the old ranking system.
London Metropolitan University, meanwhile, bucked the trend with the number of its law students achieving top marks during the last 20 years dropping by 22.3 per cent. In contrast to Exeter, London Met’s entrance requirements are 200 UCAS points.
Of the universities that participated in the research, Oxford had the highest number of students (93.1 per cent) graduating with a first or 2:1 last year. Buckinghamshire New University came bottom of the rankings with no students achieving a first or 2:1. Just ahead of Buckinghamshire was London Met, which has 20.9 per cent of its law students graduating with top marks.
London Met was unavailable for comment.
The research was conducted by Norman Baird and Clive Campbell Smith, the authors of the legal blog QED law. They collected the information by submitting requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act.