Students come from leading institutions across the world and from a range of undergraduate disciplines including history, economics, English, and policy, philosophy and economics. Students often know whether they want to become a barrister or work as a solicitor when they arrive, but some students use the programme as a means to make that decision. A significant proportion of our GDL students go on to become barristers.
The City Law School’s Graduate Diploma in Law programme is nationally renowned. Since its inception in 1977, it has trained students at an extremely rigorous level, covering the seven core foundation subjects that are prerequisites for progression to professional legal training.
The programme is unique in that it introduces students to legal ethics as well as covering the core content. Students are encouraged to think about their reasons for practising law, and how they will find value in practice. The course has also been designed to be accessible and student-focused; at The City Law School we welcome students’ questions and offer significant one-to-one support.
From Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty, to Dinah Rose, the QC Barrister who helped Julian Assange fight his extradition from the UK to Sweden, our alumni set the benchmark for legal practice across the world. Our academic team is also globally renowned and includes Professor Panos Koutrakos, the Jean Monnet Professor of European Law and Joint Editor of European Law Review, and Professor Martin Dixon, Specialist in Land Law from Queens’ College Cambridge.
The seven modules are prescribed by two external bodies which have jurisdiction over the course - the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board.
Placements are not a formal requirement of the programme, but gaining experience of legal practice is encouraged. If students secure a mini pupillage, (a week in chambers), we support this use of their time.
As a City Law School student you will benefit from everything City has to offer including the Learning Success department and Lawbore, an online resource designed to help you find the information you need for the course modules.
The City Law School has its own dedicated administration team and you also have access to two legal libraries, one at the Gray’s Inn campus and the other based on site at our Northampton Square campus.
Within the Gray’s Inn library you will find rooms for group study sessions and rooms for recording demo advocacy sessions.
As part of the University of London you can also become a member of Senate House Library for free with your student ID card.
The seven foundation subjects and additional legal ethics course are taught over one year by lectures and tutorials which occupy around 16 hours each week. Every week you will attend a two-hour lecture in six of the seven foundation subjects (Contract law lectures are in an online format) and a tutorial in each subject every fortnight.
In addition to The City Law School's own lecturers, you will also be taught by visiting lecturers from other prestigious institutions, including Cambridge and Oxford. There will also be time for personal study to prepare for lectures and tutorials. Instruction in the use of legal materials and in legal research methods (including use of electronic retrieval systems) is also an integral part of the course. The City Law School's award-winning Lawbore website also offers an online portal of resources from a legal link directory to a careers and alumni blog.
Formal assessment is based on written examinations held at the end of the course; formative coursework set throughout the year will help to prepare you for these examinations. You will be awarded City's Graduate Diploma in Law upon successful completion of coursework and examinations.
As a student at City, University of London you will have unlimited access to City's Careers, Student Development & Outreach service where dedicated careers advisors will provide you with tailored advice. Our strong links with the profession mean that we can bring the legal world to you.
Throughout the year we organise a variety of events, so you can build your network and meet representatives from leading solicitors’ firms and barristers’ chambers.
At The City Law School we run an annual internal mooting competition where you can act as a counsel to argue a point of law before a judge. Mooting is a great way to develop your research and analysis skills whilst also learning how to structure and present a legal argument.
Another way in which you can gain invaluable experience and develop your legal skills is to volunteer with one of our pro bono organisations. Pro bono work gives you an excellent opportunity to use your time and knowledge to offer legal advice to those who may otherwise not have access it.
In just one year, you will study the seven core foundation subjects that you would cover during a qualifying undergraduate law degree. The academic programme and examinations are of first-degree level with some elements of Masters level study, and involve work that is normally covered by undergraduates over at least 18 months. A strong emphasis is placed on developing your analytical and research skills to make sure you are fully prepared for practice.
By successfully completing this course students are qualified to progress to either of the two professional courses that all UK lawyers are required to take: the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for solicitors and the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) for barristers.
As a School we are ambitious for our students. You can progress to the LPC if you are looking to be a solicitor, or choose the BPTC if you see yourself working as a barrister. The School’s graduates are guaranteed a place on our LPC and we strongly advise you to apply for our BPTC.
This highly rewarding, intensive, fast-track year-long qualification offers graduate level legal studies to students who already possess a degree in a non-law subject. Our conversion course, known as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or Common Professional Examination (CPE) meets the academic stage requirements of the Bar Standards Board and the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and can set you on the road to a legal career.
In addition to the theory, you’ll be able to hone your legal practice skills with the potential chance to enter local, national and international competitions, to enhance your curriculum vitae and widen your professional network.
You’ll learn through core modules. Assessment includes exams, essays and a dissertation.
In addition to the learning opportunities and skills competitions noted above Sussex, as a leading academic law school, offers students the opportunity to engage with visiting speakers and to benefit from traditional, high-quality , face-to-face teaching as part of a relatively small, select, GDL cohort.
Our conversion course helps to prepare you for a future career as a barrister, solicitor or other legal professional. At both Law School and University levels there are opportunities to engage with expert careers specialists to guide you.
If you choose not to pursue one of these routes, graduate level law skills may be useful for a range of other opportunities, for example:
“I was looking for a place to help me achieve my academic goals and experience living abroad in an amazing city. Sussex truly gave me both.”
Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)/Common Professional Examination (CPE)
Meet the legal issues that face society today head on in our new Graduate Diploma in Law course.
Our GDL is designed and taught by experienced lawyers and legal professionals; it will provide you with the necessary platform for the skills needed in the legal profession and will support your transition into your legal career from your previous subject discipline.
This intensive one year full time course centres on ‘practice-based’ learning; it aims to develop your understanding of law in the context of everyday life and modern legal practice. This approach emphasises training in legal & transferrable skills and involving practitioners and ex-practitioners in your teaching and learning.
You will have the opportunity to put law into action through engaging and optional work experience with the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). Alongside our other pro-bono activities, you can apply for the CAB Gateway Programme that gives you experience in assisting and advising members of the public at a local CAB centre.
IMPORTANT: Further information on the study of law: post-university training and routes to qualification
Professional regulators in the legal sector are currently conducting an extensive consultation about legal education and training. This includes review about the routes and qualifications to become a solicitor or barrister. Some of the considerations include changing or ending existing routes, or opening new ones. We are informed that the current routes of a qualifying law degree or the GDL, and the BPTC to become a barrister will remain in place until at least summer 2017. The current route of a qualifying law degree or GDL and LPC will remain in place until at least summer 2018.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board will make announcements after their consultations and reviews at the end of 2015. These decisions will then inform the different routes to qualification as a solicitor or barrister.
A high proportion of your time will be spent working face to face with tutors in your seminars and workshops, developing your understanding of legal issues and skills. You will be encouraged to engage from the start of the course with legal issues and develop the skills of a reflective practitioner.
Studying legal subjects from scratch on an intensive course like the GDL can be a challenging transition in terms of learning styles. Therefore each student will have a personal tutor – in our previous experience of running GDL courses at other law schools, this is a tremendous support system which will help you succeed on our GDL course.
Our GDL prepares graduates for a range of legal careers including practising solicitors, barristers, paralegals, academic law or any career which demands critical reasoning skills. Working alongside the academic team is our Law School Careers Advisor, who comes from a law graduate careers background and has worked with law firms and barristers chambers in recruiting GDL students into practice. The Careers Programme we run will give you the platform you need to advance to the next stage of working in the law.
This conversion course will allow you to go on to the next stage of training to qualify as a solicitor or barrister if you are a non-law graduate. As with the LLM Qualifying Law Degree, this course covers the key foundation subjects needed to complete the academic stage of your training for either profession, as required by the major professional bodies in law.
You will have the opportunity to be partnered with a mentor, a Leeds-based legal professional, who will be able to advise on your career aspirations and provide practical support to help you deepen your understanding of legal practices. You will benefit from tailored career development sessions focusing on interview skills, CV writing and networking.
You could opt to study on campus and learn through a mix of online activities, directed study and small group workshops, or you could choose the distance learning option with your course delivered entirely online.
Changes to legal education and training
Legal education and training is currently under detailed review by professional regulators in the legal sector. The review will examine the routes currently open and the qualifications required to become a solicitor or barrister, and includes a reflection on changes to and removal of existing routes, as well as the possibility of establishing new ones.
Currently, students can complete a qualifying law degree, the Graduate Diploma Law (GDL) and then the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) to become a barrister, this route will remain unchanged until summer 2017 at the earliest. The route of a qualifying law degree or GDL, and then the Legal Practice Course to qualify as a solicitor will remain in place until summer 2019.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Bar Standards Board (BSB) will announce their findings as soon as possible and their decisions will then affect the available routes to qualification as a solicitor or barrister.
For more information visit the SRA and BSB websites:
Our course is delivered by staff with significant professional expertise. You will engage in activities designed to optimise your employment prospects and enhance professionalism. All students on the course have a professional mentor - a legal practitioner in the local area who can provide practical support and advice during the period of study and provide work-based learning and career opportunities. Local law firms engage with us by teaching, leading career development sessions, acting as mentors and judging and providing prizes for a number of legal competitions.
Caroline Acton of Berwins Solicitors in Harrogate completed both the PG Dip Law and the Legal Practice Course at Leeds Law School. She says, "Throughout the course I developed vital professional skills such as interviewing and advising within legal areas."
On successful completion of this course, you will be able to proceed to the next stage of your legal training. To qualify as a solicitor, you could choose to study the Legal Practice Course (LPC) with us. If you intend to become a barrister, you could apply to take the Bar Professional Training Course.
An intensive conversion course to law for non-law graduates. You will study the English and Welsh Legal System, Contract Law, Criminal Law, Equity & Trusts, EU Law, Land Law, Public Law and Tort. You will also research a topic and submit an extended essay on it at the end of your study.
The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) offers intensive, graduate-level legal studies to students who already possess a degree in a non-law subject and wish to qualify as solicitors or barristers.
As the course is recognised by the Bar Standards Board and Solicitors Regulation Authority as satisfying the academic stage of legal training, the GDL allows a full-time student to complete this stage in one year (or two years part-time) instead of the two or three years normally required for a qualifying law degree.
After successful completion of the GDL, you may progress to the professional stage of legal training, either the Bar Professional Training Course or the Legal Practice Course, either of which may be studied at the School of Law and Politics.
To become fully qualified, completion of the BPTC or LPC will need to be followed by a period of work-based learning, either pupillage in a barristers’ chambers or a training contract with a solicitors’ firm. Alternatively, the GDL or one of the professional courses may be directly followed by legal work in some other capacity, with the option of seeking full qualification at a later date.
The GDL is a very intensive course, but our model lets you combine your studies with other commitments. Apart from the first two weeks, you will only need to attend the School on Thursdays and Fridays (full time). The remainder of your time will be used for independent study, including listening to lectures, reading and preparing for tutorials.
All our tutorials are on site where you will have access to learning and pastoral support from your tutors. Most lectures are delivered electronically, so you can listen when most convenient for you but you will also have ample opportunities to see and speak to your tutors – this is not a distance learning course.
You will also benefit from pro bono opportunities, excellent career prospects and a full programme of talks and sessions to help you plan the next stage of your legal career.
After completing the GDL you can stay with us to carry out the LPC or BPTC course.
How will I be taught?
The two contact days each week will usually include two or three tutorial-type sessions each typically lasting two hours. A range of teaching methods will be used in tutorials, including teamwork based exercises.
Your preparatory work will involve extensive reading, listening to lectures, carrying out legal research and grappling with problems and essay questions or other preparatory exercises. For example, you might be asked to research different points, summarise cases or journal articles on behalf of a whole tutorial group. Although a minority of lectures will be delivered live in a lecture theatre, all will be recorded and made available on the University’s virtual learning environment for students to access off-campus at a convenient time.
How will I be supported?
All modules within the programme make extensive use of Learning Central, on which you will find course materials, links to related materials and multiple-choice tests. Hard copies of key teaching materials will also be provided. You will be allocated a personal tutor who will not only assist with reflection on performance on the course but will also help with CVs and job applications, in conjunction with the University’s Career Service. A programme of careers lectures and workshops is delivered within the School. Reasonable adjustments will be made as appropriate for students with disabilities.
Completion of the GDL allows you to progress to the professional stage of legal training, either the Bar Professional Training Course or the Legal Practice Course, either of which may be studied at the School of Law and Politics.
The GDL route to legal qualification is very well established, with many lawyers qualifying via this route. The qualification is also valued by potential employers, who appreciate the wide range of expertise, confidence and maturity often associated with such candidates. For example, a significant proportion of solicitors in large commercial law firms have qualified via the GDL route.
To become fully qualified, completion of the BPTC or LPC then needs to be followed by a period of work-based learning, either pupillage in a barristers’ chambers or a training contract with a solicitors’ firm. Alternatively, the GDL or one of the professional courses may be directly followed by legal work in some other capacity, with the option of seeking full qualification at a later date.
Fast-track your legal career with our Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) conversion course. Designed for students who want the challenges and rewards of a legal career, but don't have an undergraduate degree in law, or for those who have significant work experience, but no formal qualifications.
Many employers are attracted to GDL students in an increasingly competitive legal job market, as you offer additional skills and experience to their organisation.
This course will provide you with a thorough grounding in core legal subjects. Offering high levels of face-to-face teaching contact in lectures and workshops, and an open door policy for academic or pastoral advice, the environment is supportive and friendly. We also offer a Careers and Employability adviser to help you take the steps into a fulfilling legal career.
Mooting at Manchester Law School is part of a specialised unit on the GDL course, and we have become a leading centre for mooting and advocacy in the UK. The mooting society at the law school is extremely active, organising regular mooting sessions and debates supported by a team of expert tutors. Our Mooting teams have competed at and the highest level from 2013-16 and have enjoyed regular national competition success.
Award-winning Faculty environment
Manchester Law School is an inspiring and highly professional environment in which to study, housing modern lecture theatres, study zones, legal libraries and a mock courtroom. You will benefit from an award-winning Faculty building, including spacious study and IT zones, laptop counters, cafes and coffee shops, and free WiFi. Highly modern facilities are available to you on our thriving campus at the heart of the UK’s second city.
Top quality teaching by professionals
You will be taught by experienced professionals and will receive the best possible teaching and direct access to the profession. You’ll benefit from tutors who have a real passion for their subjects.
There are opportunities for GDL students to take part in pro bono (voluntary) work experience in a wide range of areas. Manchester Law School is continually adding to our portfolio of pro bono partners, to extend and improve the opportunities for GDL students to experience legal work first-hand.
The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is the first step for graduates wanting to convert to law after completing an undergraduate degree in another discipline.
This reputable conversion course enables you to access legal training to become a solicitor or barrister. At Reading, you can apply for this accelerated legal training course, which is taught on campus by the award-winning University of Law.
Your GDL qualification offers basic legal training to prepare you to transition onto further legal training - via the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) - required in order for you to enable you to become a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales.
The Bournemouth University Graduate Diploma in Law/Common Professional Examination (GDL/CPE) is a one year (or two year part-time) course, intended primarily for non-law graduates planning to enter the legal profession.
This course is primarily aimed at non-law graduates from UK universities who are planning to enter the legal profession. If you do not have a UK or Irish undergraduate degree but do have relevant academic qualifications or significant vocational experience, you may also be eligible to join the course – contact us for more details.
Although it is fundamentally aimed at entry to the legal profession, it is a highly valued qualification in its own right and supports a wide range of career opportunities. The course is approved by both The Bar Council and the SRA.
The course offers a learning environment with focused support and attention. The course is based around a small group which means you will benefit from individual time with our academic staff. The teaching team is made up of experienced academics whose education is informed by their professional qualifications and experience and by their research and publication interests.
This intensive course is designed for non-law graduates of any discipline, or overseas law graduates who wish to qualify as either barristers or solicitors. The course begins with a two-week introduction to the English legal system and the legal profession. You will then study the seven foundation subjects.
If you successfully complete the course you will be eligible for entry on to the LLM in Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).
We have been successfully running this conversion course since 1977 and our students have taken a variety of first degrees at a wide range of universities. Our teaching team contains a rich mix of those who are professionally qualified and others who are active researchers. The course therefore provides a stimulating learning experience. This is reinforced by our small class sizes and the supportive atmosphere within the Westminster Law School.
The Graduate Diploma in Law will enable you to develop your knowledge and understanding of basic legal principles, their application to the formulation and resolution of legal problems, and an enquiring, logical and critical approach to legal analysis. It builds upon the academic and professional expertise previously acquired by graduate students and develops the relevant skills needed to demonstrate competence in legal practice.
By the end of the course, you will have a greater understanding of the areas of law studied, of the legal process and the inter-relationship between different areas of law in a national and European context. You will also be able to identify, find and use a range of sources of legal information to assist in legal research, analyse legal information and apply it to the solution of problems.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.
Westminster law students benefit from the following: