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 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 Fridays.
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.
The course can be completed in one year with full-time study and in two years by part-time study.
All modules within this programme are compulsory.
It is a requirement of all GDL courses that at the start of the course students study and pass a short test on the institutions and procedures of the English and Welsh legal system (EWLS).
To help prepare for this, you will be asked to carry out some directed reading before enrolment. Following enrolment there will be intensive teaching sessions designed to ensure that all students, whatever your previous discipline, are able to tackle the EWLS test with confidence. To allow for these and for introductory sessions, you will be required to attend lessons for most of the first two weeks of the course.
English and Welsh Legal System Extended Essay Criminal Law Equity and Trusts EU Law Land Law Public Law Tort Contract
A range of teaching methods will be used in tutorials, including teamwork-based exercises. In preparation, you will be reading extensively, listening to lectures, carrying out legal research and grappling with problem 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 small minority of lectures will be delivered live in a lecture theatre (on the contact day), all lectures will be recorded and made available on the University’s virtual learning environment for students to access off-campus at a convenient time.
Closed book (un-annotated statutes only) examinations on each of the seven foundation modules and the English and Welsh Legal System test will assess your knowledge and application of legal principles, your ability to critically evaluate and your awareness of contextual issues.
Summative assessment of these outcomes and of the ability to learn independently and transfer skills from one area to another will also be achieved through the extended essay.
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.