Are online law degrees credible and respected?


03rd Mar 2021




A law degree is one of the most prestigious and well-established professional qualifications you can attain.

However, some people are sceptical about whether it can be studied properly online. Are you one of those who wonders whether online law degrees are credible or respected?

Here at University of Essex Online, we regularly receive questions about the legitimacy of our law degrees. So in today’s blog we are dispelling some common myths we’ve heard about studying law online.


“It’s not a real law degree”

Without a doubt, this is the most common misunderstanding we hear about online law degrees – they are definitely real!

University of Essex Online provides the following very real law degrees:

  • LLB (Hons) Law
  • LLB (Hons) Law with Business
  • LLB (Hons) Law with Criminology
  • LLB (Hons) Law with Psychology
  • LLM International Business Law

All our online LLBs are qualifying law degrees (QLD), recognised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), and they meet the academic requirement for routes towards becoming a solicitor or barrister. Our LLB (Hons) Law is also SQE-focused, which means that it covers the topics you will need to know for the Solicitor’s Qualifying Exam. You can find out more about the routes to becoming a solicitor or barrister here.

Our LLM International Business Law is suited for legal or business professionals seeking to specialise in this field. Many undergraduate law degrees contain little content about international business law, so this comprehensive degree will help you distinguish your skills among your peers.

We also offer shorter law qualifications in these subjects, which can be studied in as little as eight to 16 months, and used as a stepping stone to the full degrees.


“Online law tutors aren’t experienced”

Our law department is headed by Rhonda Dean, a qualified solicitor with over 25 years’ experience teaching law, specialising in corporate subjects. She has worked at a couple of other universities, including Birmingham City University (BCU) and Staffordshire University. She is also a certified PhD supervisor and a Senior Fellow of AdvanceHE.

The tutors at University of Essex Online include established law lecturers as well as practicing solicitors and barristers – every one of them is more than qualified to teach law.


“Anyone can just buy a law degree online”

It’s not surprising that a lot of people view online degrees with suspicion, with the rise of counterfeit degree certificates available to purchase online from fake universities.

Our programmes are delivered by Kaplan Open Learning, an experienced online learning provider – and our qualifications are awarded by the University of Essex, an award-winning university with a 50-year heritage of teaching and research excellence.

We’re a member of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and are registered with the Office for Students (OfS), who work with higher education providers to ensure every student has a fulfilling experience that enriches their lives and careers.

So you can be assured not just anyone can achieve our online law degrees!


“You’ll have an inferior learning experience studying online”

Our students definitely don’t agree with this – we achieved excellence for teaching, learning and academic support in the 2023 National Student Survey (NSS 2023).

We deliver our programmes through a state-of-the-art virtual learning environment (VLE), which provides you with 24/7 access to high-quality resources, including lecturecasts, discussion forums, live seminars, as well as an eLibrary and law databases e.g. Lawtel, Lexis, Westlaw and LawTrove.

We also recognise that discussion is an important part of learning, especially for a challenging discipline like law, so our students are graded on their contributions to discussion forums. Additionally, tutors run live seminar sessions that allow students to communicate in real-time and they also offer support via email and telephone (plus feedback on assignments).


“It’s easy to cheat your way to a passing grade”

At University of Essex Online, we take academic standards very seriously. We have a policy of ensuring work submitted by students is authentic and we use a well-established electronic monitoring system to check for plagiarism. If a student’s submission is found to be in breach of our rules and regulations, procedures are in place to escalate the matter (which may lead to disciplinary action being taken).


“You won’t get a graduation ceremony like regular law students”

University of Essex Online graduates are invited to attend a graduation ceremony at the University of Essex’s Colchester Campus. This means you’ll get to wear a graduation gown and cap just like campus-based students! You will also receive the same certificate as them, from the University of Essex, and only your academic transcript will mention your online mode of study.


“Employers don’t respect online degrees”

This is another common and significant misunderstanding that we hear about online degrees!

The reputation of online qualifications has changed in the last few years, particularly in the post-COVID world, with much of our everyday lives and work now conducted online. Most employers recognise degrees achieved online and view them as equal to campus-based qualifications.

However, you should check that the course you’re interested in studying is accredited, if you’re hoping to pursue a particular profession that requires it, and also that the institution you wish to study online with is recognised in your country.


We hope that this post has resolved any doubts you might have about studying law online.

If you want to find out more about our law programmes – download our prospectus! You’ll then be contacted by a member of our Admissions team, who will be able to answer any questions about studying law online.