The City Law School

Graduate Diploma in Law

Gain a solid foundation in law and fast track your career on this transformative Graduate Diploma. Start your future in law here.

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.

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.

Entry requirements

A degree (in any subject), of at least an upper second-class honours standard, conferred by a institution in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland or by the Council for National Academic Awards. Or, an approved degree conferred by a institution outside the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and a very good knowledge of the English language.

The rules governing admission to practise law vary from country to country. Before applying, applicants wishing to take the GDL as a step towards becoming a lawyer outside England and Wales are strongly advised to check that these courses are accepted with the appropriate body in the country in which they wish to qualify/practise.

In reaching our selection decisions we will take account of:

  • Academic performance
  • Evidence of intellectual ability
  • Professional and legal work experience
  • Personal statement
  • Commitment to studying law
  • References

Course modules

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.

he seven foundation subjects are taught over one year.

  • (LD3002): Contract law (30 credits)
  • (LD3003): Criminal Law (30 credits)
  • (LD3004): Equity and trusts (30 credits)
  • (LD3005): European Union law (30 credits)
  • (LD3006): Land law (30 credits)
  • (LD3001): Public law (30 credits)
  • (LD3007): Tort law (30 credits).

In addition to the foundation subjects, you take another academic law subject unique to City: Introduction to legal ethics. This subject directs your attention towards the ethical challenges which lawyers might face in practice and to the values that characterise the profession.

You will also take a 10 credit English Legal System module and a five Credit Research Requirement module.

You also have the option to convert the GDL to an LLB degree by taking further law modules.

Assessment methods

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.

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.

Qualifications

Qualification Study mode Fee status Fee Study period Duration
Graduate Diploma Full time £ 11,000 Whole course 1 years

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