Lawyers play a very important role in countries all over the world. Unfortunately, going to school to become a lawyer can take quite a long time. There's a lot to learn, a lot of practice required and usually a lot of test taking too. If you decide to pursue your law degree in another country such as Ghana, for instance, it's necessary to know what that decision entails before making the leap. The admission requirements for law schools in Ghana are a bit different than in other countries, and you'll want to be clear on that before you spend time applying.
What Are an LL.B. and LL.M.?
In the United States, if you graduate from law school, then you will earn a J.D., which stands for "Juris Doctor." Just like when you graduate from college with your undergraduate degree and earn your B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) or B.S. (Bachelor of Science), abbreviations are used widely in the academic setting. This is no different in other countries like Ghana. In Ghana, though, if you go to law school, you won't become a B.A. when you receive your degree from your undergraduate program, and you won't become a J.D. when you graduate from law school. Instead, you'll get your LL.B. when you complete your undergraduate degree in law and your LL.M. when you complete your graduate degree.
LL.B. stands for "Legum Baccalaureus," which is essentially an undergraduate bachelor's degree in law. Then, when you graduate from law school, you will get your LL.M., which stands for "Legum Magister" and is a master's degree in law. These designations are also the same in the U.K., Australia and Canada. It's important to familiarize yourself with these terms before learning about Ghana's law school admission requirements.
Ghana Universities Admission Requirements
If you're interested in applying to law schools in Ghana, and you're wondering about the entry requirements, know that each school will have slightly different ones depending on that school's caliber. However, just to get an idea, the admission requirements and criteria for the Ghana School of Law are:
- All LL.B. graduates from public universities in Ghana that are approved by the National Accreditation Board and the General Legal Council can apply.
- All LL.B. graduates from private universities in Ghana that are approved by the NAB and the GLC can apply.
- All Ghanian LL.B. graduates or holders of equivalent law degrees from universities in the U.K., Canada and the United States or other countries with similar jurisdictions can apply.
If you're not sure whether or not you qualify, then you must have passed certain courses in your undergraduate program, such as a course in Ghana institutional law, law of equity and succession and commercial property. There are nine courses listed. See the Ghana School of Law
website for more details. (This may be different depending on the school and whether or not you're an international student.) You must have also passed at least one of the following subjects: law of natural resources, environmental law, intellectual property law or law of taxation. You must pass the interview and the entrance exam.
These admission requirements are more or less the same across the board. However, if you decide that you want to earn your LL.M. after having already graduated with an undergraduate degree that wasn't in law, then you can pursue an LL.B. through a post-first degree graduate program. This is for candidates who have an undergraduate degree in another discipline but want to perhaps change their career to law. A great program like this can be found at the University of Ghana.
The Wisconsin International University College, Ghana is another school that offers the LL.B. undergraduate program for both first-time students and those who already hold a degree in another discipline. The admissions requirements for this program are:
- First-time undergraduate: 24 or 36 credits maximum in math, English, integrated science and three electives. How many you need depends on what level of courses you've taken in high school.
- You must pass the interview and the entrance exam.
How Long Does the Program Take?
How long the program takes depends on your experience. An LL.B. can take three or four years. Typically, it's three years for those who already have a degree in another discipline and four years for those who are pursuing their undergraduate degree for the first time. Then, the LL.M. program usually takes one year, but it can take two years depending on the school and how many classes you can take per year. Therefore, you can theoretically get your license to practice law in Ghana after five years.