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Bar Professional Training Course

The BPTC is designed for aspiring barristers. It attracts students from around the world and from all parts of the UK. Students will have already completed a qualifying law degree or a non-law degree plus a Graduate Diploma in Law.

From recent graduates to doctors and front bench opposition MPs, the programme caters both for those who have always been dedicated to a professional legal career as well as people seeking a career change, and those who are able to make use of the training together with a professional legal qualification in business, management or administration.

In particular, the course is designed for students who want to develop their skills as advocates, and those who want to research and apply the law to help clients in presenting legal cases in court. Bar students often have a deep commitment to helping those who need assistance in protecting their legal rights.

The Bar Professional Training Course is a rigorous programme designed to reflect the modern working Bar. We replicate life in chambers, so you learn how to represent a range of clients and to prepare for the demands of court.

Studying at Gray's Inn Place, in the heart of legal London, City Law School students achieve impressive academic success. In 2015, our students represented half of the national BPTC cohort achieving a grade of ‘outstanding’* – the most prominent indicator of success in securing future pupillage.

* Bar Standards Board BPTC Key Statistics report 2016

The programme is taught by a team of professionally-qualified experts who are the authors of the BPTC manuals  in use across the country. Internationally renowned and highly skills focused, City’s BPTC provides a bridge between academic legal study and professional practice and covers three essential areas:

  • Advocacy
  • Written and oral advisory skills
  • Drafting skills.

Underpinning all of these areas is a foundation of analysis and legal research, combined with the need to set priorities and organise your work in order to meet deadlines.

The LLM in Bar Professional Training satisfies all the requirements of a traditional LLM but has a primary focus on practice. In addition to the taught classes on the BPTC, the LLM gives you the chance to focus on a specific area of professional legal practice related to the BPTC and to strengthen your knowledge and understanding of that area. This can be linked to pupillage applications, to underline a commitment to a particular area, or can be used more generally to enhance your CV.

Entry requirements

One of the entry requirements for the BPTC is that students are fluent in English. Applicants need to be able to demonstrate that their oral and written English ability is equivalent to at least one of the following:

  • IELTS: A minimum score of 7.5 in each section of the test.
  • Pearson Test of English: A minimum score of 73 in each part of the test.

If you are completing your qualifying law degree overseas (even if at a UK university) you will need to provide IELTS or Pearson results meeting the minimum scores required by the Bar Standards Board as proof of English language proficency. If you are made an offer further details will be provided.

The BPTC is a postgraduate course with basic entry requirements prescribed by the BSB. Most applicants should have a UK honours degree in law, normally with a minimum standard upper second-class award. However, it is possible to apply with a degree in another subject and a further qualification in law, such as the Common Professional Examination, the Graduate Diploma in Law, or the Graduate Entry LLB. The Bar Standards Board can advise on non-standard qualifications.

Additional requirements laid down by the BSB are:

  • Lower second-class honours degree
  • Passing the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)
  • Applying for membership of one of the four Inns of Court by the last working day of May 2017 (you can check with your chosen Inn to confirm this).

Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)

The Bar Course Aptitude Test is designed to assess your critical reasoning skills, which are an essential attribute to success as a lawyer. It is taken before the BPTC, and is a pre-condition to starting the BPTC.

It is administered by the Bar Standards Board. The test opens in April each year, with a closing date usually about the end of August.

For further details and to sign-up for the BCAT, please visit Bar Standards Board Bar Course Aptitude Test .

Inn membership

Applicants to the BPTC must also apply for membership of one of the four Inns of Court by the last working day of May (about 3 or 4 months before starting the BPTC). The Inns of Court have well-established scholarship schemes, with closing dates on the first Friday in November (about 10 months before starting the BPTC).

Course modules

The course offers two possible routes:

1) Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Professional Training (the BPTC) - If you successfully complete the compulsory taught elements (150 credits) you will be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma and will be certified as having completed the Bar Professional Training Course. This is the compulsory vocational qualification required to be eligible to be Called to the Bar of England and Wales.

2) LLM in Bar Professional Training - This is the BPTC together with an additional 30-credit practice-focused dissertation. You will research and write the dissertation following the compulsory taught elements of the course in order to achieve a Master’s Degree.  There is no extra fee for doing so.

Sponsorship information

We have a substantial scholarship programme including up to 10 full fee scholarships and up to 100 £5,000 scholarships awarded annually (and, for any student who has previously undertaken a course at City, a 10% discount). We also offer a guaranteed minimum scholarship of £1,500 in the form of a fee waiver, for students who hold a first class degree.


Full-time and part-time fees are inclusive of:

  • Course deposit
  • Bar Standards Board fee
  • Textbooks, including: practitioner books in civil practice and criminal practice, The City Law School BPTC manuals (published by OUP as the ‘bar series’) and textbooks in civil procedure, evidence and alternative dispute resolution.

Ours is an ethical BPTC: no fees are taken until you start your course, and there is a cooling off period until 31st October with full refund (less deposit).


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Fee locale Course duration
Postgraduate Diploma Full-time £ 18,500 (Whole course) Home/EU 1 Years
Postgraduate Diploma Part-time £ 9,250 (Academic year) International 2 Years
LLM Full-time £ 18,500 (Whole course) Home/EU 1 Years
LLM Part-time £ 9,250 (Academic year) International 36 Months

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