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.

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. Some of the most distinguished lawyers, politicians and academics in Wales, the UK and further afield have studied here.


The Department has always been dynamic and forward-looking, the addition of Criminology to the mix, has enabled us to establish the thriving Department of Law and Criminology which is here today, at the University’s Penglais campus, set against the stunning background of Cardigan Bay. 

You will be taught and guided by a community of scholars whose main focus will be helping you to succeed and to fulfil your potential. It is not by accident that Aberystwyth University has been awarded University of the Year for teaching quality two years consecutively (Good University Guide, The Times and Sunday Times 2018 & 2019) and has also been honoured with Welsh University of Year in The Times and Sunday Times, Good University Guide 2020. For three years, the University has been ranked top in England and Wales for student satisfaction. 

As an undergraduate, you can study law or criminology as a single subject or together, or in combination with other subjects.  All our 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. 

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 interests and expertise of our staff cover a wide range of subjects. This includes working with the European Union, United Nations, central and devolved governments and corporations. Issues of gender, culture, language, youth, military veterans and their families, and old age are important themes in the department’s work. 

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. Having said that, if you are interested in studying Law or Criminology at an established University in a beautiful and unique part of the world, Aberystwyth can offer you a dynamic and friendly department with a focus on teaching quality. 

I look forward to welcoming you at Aberystwyth. 

Professor Emyr Lewis 
Head of Department. 

Where can a degree in Law and Criminology take you?

Our undergraduate programmes of study are diverse in the range of subjects offered. We offer the opportunity to study one subject (law, criminology) or to combine it with other disciplines. Students who have graduated from the Department of Law and Criminology have gone on to pursue careers as solicitors and barristers, police officers, social workers, journalists, investment bankers, teachers, probation officers and many other areas.

What does a Law and Criminology degree from Aberystwyth mean? Where can it take you?

A degree in Law or Criminology is held in high esteem all over the world. Since 1901, the Department of Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University has educated students who have changed society for the greater good.

The Department of Law and Criminology has educated Ministers of State, politicians and leaders. But it has also educated people who have become solicitors in small, medium and large multi-national firms, it has educated barristers, teachers, police officers, university lecturers, journalists, television presenters, social workers, probation officers.

One of those is Iris de Freitas, who graduated from the then Department of Law in 1927 and became the first woman to practise Law in the Caribbean.
Professor Carwyn Jones AM was the First Minister of the National Assembly for Wales from 2009-2018. The Department's long history is a testament to its teaching acumen. 

These people have one thing in common. They all studied at Aberystwyth University. 

What can you expect from student life at Aberystwyth?

Aberystwyth is a small town with a large personality and kind community feel. As a campus university, everything is in walking distance from lectures, town centre and train station. Though Aberystwyth may be small, it is not lacking on entertainment. Student events, societies, comedy events and so much more is what you can expect when you study here. If you have a hobby, there is a society. If not, if you have found a society Aberystwyth does not have, create one, it is easy and such a great way to make friends. 

What sets us apart?

  • High-quality teaching – University of the Year for Teaching Quality (The Times & The Sunday Times, The Good University Guide 2018 and 2019
  • Students are at the heart of what we do – 92% student satisfaction for Criminology (M900), 90% student satisfaction for Law (National Student Survey 2017); 92% student satisfaction for the subject of Law (NSS 2018). 
  • From campus to a career – 100% of our graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduation, 5% higher than Law graduates nationally (Higher Education Statistics Agency 2017). 77% of our graduates entered professional level employment or graduate level further study. This statistic is 3 percentage points higher than the UK figure of 74% last year (HESA 2018).


Our facilities include:

  • Hugh Owen Library – which contains 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;
  • National Library of Wales – one of only 5 copy-right libraries in the UK, receiving one copy of every book published.