About us

"All the best schools of law have been situated at places favourable for study rather than for business." Professor Thomas Levi, Head of the Department of Law 1924.

Choose to come here to study, and you will find a stimulating, supportive and rewarding environment within a dynamic, forward-looking department that has a distinctive identity, a wealth of experience, excellent teaching and dynamic research activity, backed up by superb library and IT provisions.

You will be taught and guided by a community of scholars whose main focus will be to help you to succeed and fulfil your potential. It is not by accident that Aberystwyth University was placed Top in Wales and 2nd in the UK for Student Experience, and Top in Wales and 3rd in the UK for Teaching Quality (Good University Guide, The Times and Sunday Times 2024). This is in addition to being Top in England and Wales for Student Satisfaction (NSS 2022).

Having been a legal practitioner for over thirty years, I understand the value of students acquiring practical skills and hands-on experience during their time at university. As well as excellent academic learning, the department offers many opportunities to do this. These include our Family Law Clinic, where students can do casework under the guidance of a qualified solicitor, our very active mooting society where students can acquire and practise advocacy and case preparation skills, and the opportunities to volunteer at our ground-breaking Dewis/Choice research project, which is focused on addressing the increasingly high-profile issue of abuse of elderly people. The Veterans Legal Link Project also provides opportunities to volunteer. For example, in conjunction with ‘Both Parents Matter’ the project recruited over 30 students to participate in bespoke training sessions to enable them to participate in both online support and casework allocation.

Choosing a University can be a perplexing experience. There is a wide choice, and it’s not always easy to select the one that’s right for you. However, if you are interested in studying Law or Criminology at an established University in a beautiful and unique part of the world, look no further than Aberystwyth. Take the opportunity to visit us on one of our Open Days. I look forward to welcoming you here.

Professor Emyr Lewis, Head of Department

Our history

Law has been taught at Aberystwyth since 1901. The Department has a proud tradition of scholarship and research, and has prepared generations of people from all over the world for professional careers and for life in general.

We have educated Ministers of State, politicians and leaders. But we have also educated people who have become solicitors in small, medium and large multi-national firms, barristers, teachers, police officers, university lecturers, journalists, television presenters, social workers, and probation officers - all making their own contribution to changing society for the greater good.

The Department's long history is a testament to its teaching acumen.

A few of our distinguished alumni

Iris de Freitas graduated from the then Department of Law in 1927 and became the first woman to practise Law in the Caribbean. Aberystwyth University has named part of the university after her. The Iris de Freitas Room provides study spaces for students.

Professor Carwyn Jones was the First Minister of the National Assembly for Wales from 2009-2018. He joined the Department of Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University as Professor of Law in 2020 .

Our courses

Our undergraduate programmes of study are diverse in the range of subjects offered. You can study law or criminology as a single subject or together, or in combination with other subjects. We also offer specialist degrees such as Human Rights Law and Criminology and Criminal Psychology.

All our undergraduate law degrees offer a good foundation for entry into the legal professions. These degrees as they stand will provide an excellent platform for those wishing to prepare for the new Solicitors’ Qualifying Examination, and we are planning to introduce both undergraduate and postgraduate courses that are aimed at preparing students fully for this new route to qualification as a solicitor.

Our graduates have gone on to pursue careers as solicitors and barristers, police officers, social workers, journalists, investment bankers, teachers, probation officers and many others.

At postgraduate level, we offer degrees in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, International Business Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Youth Justice and also MPhil, LLM and PhD degrees as research opportunities.

Our staff

The interests and expertise of our staff cover a wide range of subjects. Many participate in debate and policymaking at both domestic and international level. This includes working with the European Union, United Nations, Council of Europe, central and devolved governments and corporations.

Human Rights and diversity are a strong focus, and we offer courses in human rights at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Issues of gender, culture, language, youth, military veterans and their families, ageing, and migration are important themes in the department’s work. Business and commercial law are also strong components of our teaching, including a specialist LLB course in business law.

Our facilities

Our facilities include:

  • Hugh Owen Library – containing a large and varied collection of legal materials, books, journals and law reports, with significant holdings in International Law; 200 study spaces, bookable individual and group study rooms, public computer work-stations, wireless internet access, ICT and library inquiry desks and a specialist Law librarian.
  • Computing facilities – located in 26 different areas, 13 of which are always available for individual academic work as well as over 40,000 electronic journals for Law and Criminology and specialist legal databases such as Lexis and Westlaw: used commercially in the legal profession throughout the world.
  • The National Library of Wales – one of only five copyright libraries in the UK, receiving one copy of every publication printed n Britain and Ireland. The library's collections include film, video, books and newspapers, manuscripts, maps, sound, photographs, art and archives.   


Our reputation

Top 5 in the UK for Teaching Quality in Criminology (Good University Guide 2024, The Times and Sunday Times).

Top 10 in the UK for Student Experience in Criminology (Good University Guide 2024, The Times and Sunday Times).

Top 10 in the UK for Student Experience for the subject of Law (The Times & Sunday Times, Good University Guide 2021).

100% of students on M900 Criminology agreed that staff made the subject interesting (NSS 2022).

100% of students on M900 Criminology agreed that staff are good at explaining things (NSS 2022).

From campus to a career – 77% of our graduates have entered professional level employment or graduate level further study within 6 months of graduating according to the latest results (HESA 2018).

Student life at Aberystwyth

Aberystwyth is a small town with a large personality and kind community feel. As a campus university, whether you choose to live in University or private accommodation, everything is within walking distance.

Our university isn't lacking in entertainment despite its relatively small size. Student events, societies, comedy nights and so much more is what you can expect when you study here. If you have a hobby, there is probably a society. If not, create one - it is easy and such a great way to make friends.

You will also have plenty of opportunity to get involved in societies and projects that will enhance your learning.

Aberystwyth University Law Society is a student led community that is open to any students who are interested in the study and practice of law, improving employability skills, or simply to learn about how the law affects our every day lives. The society prides itself on having a welcoming and inclusive community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about all things legal.

The Mooting Society provides a great opportunity to take part in mock trial competitions called moots. This is not only an opportunity to develop your understanding of the law and presenting legal arguments, but also gives you a chance to develop your research and presentation skills. It is open to all students of the Department of Law and Criminology.

Why not volunteer at our ground-breaking Dewis/Choice research project, which is focused on addressing the increasingly high-profile issue of abuse of elderly people. See Our Projects for further information.