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Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)

Course Overview

The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is sometimes referred to as the conversion course for non-law graduates who want to qualify as either Solicitors or Barristers. The GDL satisfies the professional body requirements of the academic stage of training for Solicitors and Barristers. The course prepares you for the vocational stage of legal training by giving you a foundation of legal knowledge and developing the core cognitive, professional and general transferable skills necessary for practice.

The GDL is regulated by a joint committee of the Bar Standards Board and Solicitors Regulation Authority known as the Joint Academic Stage Board (SRA and BSB).

Key Information

    Course Name:

    Graduate Diploma in Law

    Total academic credits:

    180 credits

    Qualification awarded:

    Graduate Diploma in Law

    Awarding body:

    BPP University

    Professional recognition:

    Yes – SRA and BSB

    Academic Level:

    Undergraduate (QCF_NQF Level 6)

    Study Mode:

    Full time - Classroom


    9 months

    Tuition Fees:

    From £8,325


    September and January

    Work placement:


    Course Location:

    London Waterloo, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester

Academic Entry Requirements

Evidence that you meet the academic entrance requirements of the relevant professional body. This includes applicants with overseas degrees or mature students without an undergraduate degree. Applicants from overseas or with non-standard qualifications must apply for a Certificate of Academic Standing (COAS) from the Bar Standards Board (if you are planning on qualifying as a barrister) or Solicitors Regulation Authority (if you are planning on qualifying as a solicitor).

English Entry Requirements

If you have completed a degree outside the UK and you do not come from a ‘majority English Speaking Country’ an IELTS level 6.5 score or equivalent, with a minimum of 6.0 in each area.

Assessment Methods

The programme is assessed using: • One examination per module • Statute analysis test • Case analysis test • EU Project and CBT assessment • Multiple choice test on the English Legal System • Independent research essay

Progression Route


Career Opportunities

Law Firm training contracts, pupilages in a set of chambers



  • Contract Law (20 Credits)
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law (20 Credits)
  • Law of Torts (20 Credits)
  • Land Law (20 Credits)
  • Research (30 Credits)
  • Criminal Law (20 Credits)
  • Law of the European Union (15 Credits)
  • Law of Equity and Trusts (20 Credits)
  • English Legal System (15 Credits)

Additional optional professional skills modules

  • Legal Research
  • Legal Writing

Additional optional specialist legal subject modules

  • Evidence and Forensics
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • International Law
  • Law in the City
  • Company Law

Reasons for choosing this course

  • GDL is designed to help you make a smooth transition from being a non-law graduate into a career in law, and provides the flexibility for a career change;
  • provides the non-law graduate with an academically rigorous programme of legal education in preparation for entry onto the Vocational Stage of legal training and, ultimately, for practice as a legal professional;
  • for non-law graduates it is the shortest way to become a Solicitor or Barrister; GDL satisfies the academic stage of legal training in one year instead of the three years normally required for a law degree and hence saving fees and time;
  • equip students with highly valued transferable legal skills that will build upon their graduate skills to develop and enhance their analytical, evaluative, reasoning, communication and problem-solving abilities;
  • The programme provides the academic staging of legal training in a context that is practical and provides a link to the vocational stage of training, but also develops skills that are more generally attractive to a wide range of employers both within and outside the legal profession;
  • facilitates two-year training contract at a law firm (for solicitors) or one-year pupilage in a set of chambers (for barristers).

Main learning outcomes

On successful completion of this programme students should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of the English legal system - its sources, institutions and processes;
  • demonstrate a detailed knowledge and systematic understanding of the seven foundations of legal knowledge (as set out in Schedule Two of the Joint Statement issued by the Law Society and the General Council of the Bar on the Completion of the Academic Stage of Training);
  • demonstrate a detailed knowledge and systematic understanding of an eighth area of law outside the Foundations of Legal Knowledge;
  • demonstrate a knowledge and awareness of the relationship between national and community law;
  • analyse practical legal problems logically and provide a range of solutions to them informed by critical evaluation of their merits;
  • analyse primary legal source materials such as cases and statutes and apply the law derived from this data to the solution of practical legal problems;
  • critically evaluate and synthesise doctrinal arguments surrounding particular areas of law and construct a coherent argument from relevant data;
  • process a large quantity of complex data and apply that information to the resolution of individual problems;
  • conduct independent legal research into an unfamiliar area of law, using hard copy and electronic resources, covering both primary and secondary source materials and extract essential information;
  • listen effectively to others, with a view to extracting relevant information, identifying gaps in information and / or distilling key points in order to form a coherent critique;
  • advise hypothetical clients appropriately as to possible remedies in a legal dispute;
  • demonstrate a sense of personal responsibility for their own learning;
  • critique their own progress and arguments and apply concepts learned in one area to another;
  • work effectively in groups, cooperatively as well as competitively;
  • communicate arguments coherently and effectively both orally and in writing;