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Graduate Diploma in Law

Swansea University’s Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), also sometimes referred to as the Common Professional Examination (CPE) is a programme for non-law graduates, or those with equivalent qualifications, wishing to either enter the legal profession or work in law-related employment. The GDL is designed to provide the legal knowledge necessary to satisfy the academic requirements of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board and the Institute of Legal Executives.

The GDL is a full-time, 36-week, intensive course designed to facilitate the acquisition of sound legal knowledge in those areas of law which are known as the ‘Foundations of Law’ plus one additional area of law.

The course is preceded by a two-week period of directed reading on the English Legal System and the principles of legal scholarship (no attendance required, home study).

Teaching commences with an induction period which includes a short block of lectures and seminars concentrating on the English Legal System and the acquisition of legal skills.

The foundation subjects of Contract, Tort, Public Law, Equity & Trusts, Land Law, Criminal Law, and European Union Law are taught by means of a series of lectures and compulsory seminars spanning two teaching blocks.

A further legal subject is studied by means of a supervised research project.

Class contact averages 16 hours per week. Students should expect to spend a minimum of 40 hours per week, attending classes and undertaking private study.

Entry requirements

To enrol on the GDL an applicant must normally have obtained an undergraduate degree awarded by a recognised UK or Republic of Ireland institution. (Please note that those wishing to progress to the Bar should normally have achieved at least a 2 (ii) honours classification in their undergraduate degree. Visit further information).

Students with alternative professional qualifications and/or experience and international students please see information on ‘Non-standard Qualifications’ below.

Assessment methods

The Swansea GDL employs a wide range of assessment methods, including multiple choice tests, coursework, mini-dissertation and traditional 3-hour, unseen examinations. The pass mark for all assessed work is 40%.


The tuition fees do not cover the costs of purchasing books or stationery, printing, thesis binding or photocopying costs.

There are no mandatory additional costs specified for this course.

A £500 bursary is available to graduates of Welsh universities.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Fee locale Course duration
Graduate Diploma Full-time £ 6,850 (Whole course) Home/EU 1 Years
Graduate Diploma Full-time £ 11,000 (Whole course) International 1 Years

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