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A Guide to Studying Law in Europe

Did you know that, as an international student, you can get a degree in Law at a top-ranked European university? Best of all, it's taught entirely in English and costs less than 1 year of tuition at a US college.

What are my options?

European Bachelor's programs taught entirely in English.
European Master's programs taught entirely in English.

About this area of study.

People enter the law for diverse reasons: a desire to see justice done, the daily intellectual challenge, and the temptation of sky-high salaries for top performers are all valid reasons. Whatever your motives, if you have an excellent memory, an analytical mind, a great work ethic, and good verbal and written communication skills, your talents will not be wasted in a legal career.

You should know, however, that the daily grind of a lawyer is nothing like what is shown on TV. To be slightly flippant, the chief responsibility for worldwide deforestation is probably a tie between the palm oil industry and the legal profession. Lawyers handle an immense amount of paperwork and typically spend long hours at the office. If you're not prepared for this aspect of the job, a different career path will probably suit you much better.

The normal route to becoming a lawyer in the United States is to first get a bachelor's degree. Virtually any four-year degree will do, but most aspiring lawyers choose a field that hones the research and critical thinking abilities they will need in their professional life. Philosophy, history, political science, and of course undergraduate criminal law are all popular choices. A person who hopes to specialize in a particular kind of law will generally take a related major, for example ecology for environmental law or engineering for patent law.

After or shortly before graduating, you're entitled to take the notorious LSAT for admission to law school. This is more of an aptitude test than one verifying your knowledge of specific subjects. If you do well, you'll be admitted to one or more law schools to earn your Juris Doctor degree, which generally takes 3 years to complete. You can then take the bar exam in your state and, assuming you pass, begin to practice law.

Can you earn a law degree in Europe and return to work in the United States? The short answer, which happens to be a phrase lawyers have to use a lot, is "it depends". Specifically, lawyers are generally licensed at the state level. Each state's Bar Association has different rules on who may take their tests.

Some require you to complete a certain number and types of courses at an American university, others don't really recognize foreign credentials, and a few don't even need you to have a formal degree of any sort (though passing the bar without one is of course rare). These rules are listed on the website of the Bar Association of whichever state you hope to practice in.

In short, being admitted to the bar with a European degree is significantly more difficult than with an American LL.M or J.D. The reason many students continue to earn their law degrees in Europe so comes down to cost (and perhaps the adventure of living in a foreign country). The average cost of tuition for a law degree in Germany, for instance, is only about €10,000.

Careers options in this area of study.

Aside from your actual knowledge of the law, your level of commitment determines the amount of professional success you will have as a lawyer. Some are content to handle simple cases and contracts on a 9-to-5 basis. 

Joining and rising in a top law firm, on the other hand, requires exceptional dedication starting during your undergraduate studies. It also involves working very long hours under demanding conditions once you've passed the bar. The average lawyer earns $128,000 per year, with the wealthiest 25% raking in over $189,500.

Admissions information.

The college admissions process in the US has become a race to the bottom as students compete with their peers for a single spot in a liberal arts college, convinced by parents and guidance counselors that their survival rests on playing a musical instrument or varsity sport. Many smart kids don’t do well on standardized tests. This doesn’t limit them as much when looking outside of the US, as many colleges in Europe do not require standardized tests. Many countries see entry into universities as a right, rather than a privilege, so admission standards are not as stringent.

How to study in Europe.

When you also factor in the many problems with US higher education, it is imprudent not to consider other possibilities. It is true there are many excellent schools in the United States—I don’t think anyone would argue that. There are some that have managed to look at applicants as people, and not just a checklist of achievements. Some even have reasonable tuition rates, and/or professors that actively teach and have highly engaged students. Despite this, I have yet to find a school in the United States that addresses all of these issues: allows students to opt out of the rat race the admissions process has become, have reasonable tuition, AND have positive results around the educational experience and post-graduation outcomes. Not every school in Europe provides all this either, but the schools listed in our database do.

How to find English-taught degrees.

Finding these programs is burdensome, difficult, and confusing, especially with institutional websites in foreign languages... We know that making the decision to study abroad can be difficult, so we want to make it easy for you. We scoured the continent for vetted programs and made them available to thousands of families looking to leave the US and find a better life in Europe. We found over 11,200 degrees, 870 universities, 550 cities, and 32 European countries to choose from. Europe offers an impressive range of educational opportunities!

We have gathered all of the information you need to know about studying in Europe – from the different types of schools available to how to get housing and everything in between. Our database helps you find these programs quickly and easily, helping you contextualize the many benefits and options around higher education in Europe.

You will be able to find programs and courses that suit your interests and needs, taught in English by experienced professors in state-of-the-art facilities. Search our database of English-taught European bachelor's and master's programs and get started on your journey to Europe today.

Travel the world while you get your degree.

Travel opportunities abound when attending college in Europe. For example, Lille, a city in northern France with multiple universities, is close to major cities such as Brussels, London, and Paris via high-speed rail. Air travel, especially with the rise of affordable airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet, and Transavia, can be comparable in price to rail travel, so many more destinations open up for short-term travel.

Feeling overwhelmed?

You shouldn't be! We're here to help in any way we can... and if it means running extensive searches and using our best judgement to lead the way, we're all for that too.

We get that choosing a program feels like committing to a major early on, but in reality it is more of a general direction. A Best Fit List gives you a unique list of 3 to 5 programs tailored to your needs, helping you take the headache – and heartache – out of choosing a program.

Discover all the English-taught European college programs in one place.

Beyond the States provides easy access to 11,600+ European bachelor's and master's programs across 870 universities, 550 cities, and 212 areas of study, plus all the resources you need to get there. No sponsorships. No bias.
English-taught bachelor's programs in our database.
English-taught master's programs in our database.
Beautiful European cities to choose from.
Top-tier universities accepting international students.
Typical savings against a private university in the US.
Typical savings against in-state tuition in the US.
All inclusive of tuition, living, food, books, health insurance, travel expenses, as well as hidden fees. Compiled with data from students and the official websites from KU Leuven, UNC, and Duke.

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