Law at Cambridge is taught via a combination of lectures and supervisions.
Law students at Cambridge typically attend between eight and twelve lectures per week, depending on their subject choices. Lectures are given by experts in the field and aim to provide both a synopsis of the relevant legal rules, and also to encourage students to engage with the law critically – for example, by examining how clear the rules are, what social objectives they should serve, and whether they are in need of reform.
Law students at Cambridge can expect to receive fortnightly one-hour supervisions in each of the subjects they are studying – so ten supervisions in each subject over the course of a year.
A student will be set some reading on a particular topic or issue for the supervision, and will be expected to do that reading over the two weeks before the supervision. The student will then meet with their supervisor – along with two or three other students – to discuss what they have read, deal with any problems arising out of their reading, and apply what they have learned from their reading to some sample exam questions.
The supervisor will often have written books or articles on the area of law in which he or she supervises students. So supervisions provide a great opportunity for a student to get to know personally academics who are researching and thinking about the areas of law that the student is studying, and to take advantage of their knowledge and experience to enhance the student’s understanding of the law.
A student will also be expected to submit two pieces of written work every term to their supervisor for marking. The regular feedback a student gets from their supervisor about their written work – which will take the form of an essay or problem answer – helps them further develop their abilities to discuss and apply the law intelligently.
The individual attention and help with their studies that students receive at Cambridge through supervisions is one of the primary reasons why students love studying Law at Cambridge.