The University of Law
Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)
Fast-track your legal career with our GDL law conversion course, your first step into law if you have already completed a non-law undergraduate degree.
Many employers favour GDL students in an increasingly competitive legal job market. Through studying another degree subject and building your career in another discipline, you will have gained many transferable skills. By choosing law at a later stage than some others, you are showing motivation and determination to pursue a new career. Employers actively seek candidates with these benefits.
Our structured course is taught by qualified lawyers with lectures* and practical workshops to develop your legal skills. Our reputation for teaching excellence is highlighted by our Gold ranking from the UK Government led Teaching Excellent Framework (TEF) for consistently delivering outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students.
Why choose our GDL?
Here are just some of the reasons why we’re best placed to help you prepare for your future career as a solicitor or barrister:
- Learn to think like a lawyer and develop practical legal skills through small group workshops and problem-based learning
- Explore an area of law that interests you via your own Research Project or our unique Law of Organisations module**
- With our structured study pattern, foundation module assessment and teaching is spread out so you can focus on selected modules each semester
- Flexible study - choose to study at one of our ten locations nationwide with the choice of full-time, part-time, day, evening and weekend courses and online (i-GDL)
- Access award-winning careers support to help you with your training contract and pupillage applications with over 3,000 pro bono opportunities as soon as you accept your place
*For part-time and i-GDL students lectures will be made available as recordings.
**Not available on the i-GDL
To be eligible to take up your place on our GDL, you must comply with the following requirements:
- A UK undergraduate degree in any discipline (minimum 2:2), or an equivalent qualification.
- Overseas graduates and mature non-graduates:
- Future barristers – please apply for a Certificate of Academic Standing from the Bar Standards Board (BSB)
- Future solicitors – please send your qualifications through to the Admissions team who can deem whether you are eligible for the course
- A sufficient command of English is required to successfully complete the course. Please note that students providing a degree from a UK university as proof of English must have studied the whole degree in the UK.
- If you have a legal qualification from outside England and Wales or have studied aspects of law as part of a non-qualifying degree course, you may be exempted from certain elements of the GDL. If this applies to you:
- Future barristers - please apply for a Certificate of Academic Standing from the Bar Standards Board (BSB)
- Future solicitors - please e-mail a copy of your degree transcript, certificate and syllabus information through to the Admissions team who can deem whether you are eligible for certain exemptions on the GDL
- If you are claiming full exemptions for the GDL you will need to apply for a Certificate of Exemption from the Bar Standards Board or Equivalent Means from the Solicitors Regulation Authority
Further information can be obtained from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) (for future solicitors) or Bar Standards Board (BSB) (for future barristers)
English language requirements
If you have completed a degree outside the UK and you do not come from a majority English speaking country:
A certified copy of any document that proves that you are qualified in English at CEFR level B2 or above in each of the four components of language learning.
The course is divided into nine modules, made up of seven foundations subjects, a module at the start of the course providing insight into the profession and a choice of module enabling you to study an area of law that you would like to specialise in.
You'll start with our online pre-course study programme on legal method, designed specifically to prepare you for the GDL, so you're up to speed when you arrive.
Our online pre-course study programme in legal method is a compulsory and integral part of the GDL and must be completed before you start the course. It has been designed to allow you to work at your own pace and should take you approximately 50 hours to complete.
*for part-time and i-GDL students lectures will be made available as recordings
Ethics and Professional Legal Practice module
This unique module taken at the start of the course includes:
- Insight into the different areas of the legal profession
- Consideration of the role of legal ethics within the profession
- Development of key legal skills and professional attributes required by lawyers
You’ll then study the seven key areas of law:
- Public law
- European Union law
- Criminal law
- Contract law
- Land law
- Equity and trusts
Choose* between one of the following modules:
Research Project module
In this module you will plan, research and write an essay, tailored to reflect the area of law in which you intend to specialise. You will have time dedicated in your timetable to undertake this work and detailed guidance on both legal research and legal essay writing skills.
Law of Organisations module
This module is for students intending to practice as a solicitor in a corporate law practice and is offered as an alternative option to the Research Project module. In this module you will study the principles of contract and corporate law that underpin the creation and running of business organisations. The module will develop your legal research skills in this area resulting in the preparation of a legal report on an allocated problem based question. On the full-time course, this module will be taught through face-to-face workshops and on the part-time course this module will be studied online.
*i-GDL students are required to take the Research Project module
Regular informal assessments and written and oral feedback from tutors will help you monitor your progress in preparation for the final exams.
Your final result is based on:
- Passing a 30-minute, multiple choice open book examination on legal method.
- Seven, three-hour closed book examinations - one for each foundation subject.
- Two pieces of coursework: one short essay on ethical considerations in the legal profession and a longer essay based on your own study and research on a legal subject of your choice or legal report on law of organisations problem question (depending on option taken).
Fees vary depending on study location; please contact the University of Law for more details.
Course fees are the same for the full-time and part-time GDL programme.
|Qualification||Study mode||Fee status||Fee||Study period||Duration|
|Graduate Diploma||Full-time||Home/EU||Whole course||38 weeks|
|Graduate Diploma||Part-time evening||Home/EU||Whole course||21 months|
|Graduate Diploma||Part-time weekend||Home/EU||Whole course||21 months|
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