Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)

The Graduate Diploma in Law 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.

It is a highly flexible programme which you can convert into an LLB (Hons) Degree at no extra cost by studying our Graduate LLB (Hons) once you have completed the GDL. In addition, we run a bespoke lecture series (GDL Extra) and several skills workshops (GDL Skills in Practice) which we have developed in conjunction with some of the leading city law firms. All of these additional programmes are designed to fit seamlessly with your GDL studies, preparing you for practice, helping you polish your performance and boost your prospects.

We are a highly respected law school and provide legal training exclusively to over 60 leading law firms because of the professional relevance of our education and the high quality of our teaching, facilities and learning materials. 

The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is awarded by BPP University.


Programme details
Locations*
Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Liverpool, London WaterlooManchester and online.
Study Options Duration Start date
Full-time and part-time
One-year, full-time
18 months - two-years, part-time
September, January and April
Modes of study Assessment
Face-to-face, Online (via Online Classroom Live) Examinations, computer-based assessments and independent research essay
How to apply
Applications for the full-time GDL must be made online through the Central Applications Board (CAB).
For our part-time GDL you apply direct to BPP University using the part time application form.
*Subject to demand. Please note programmes/modes may not run at all locations. 

^ Further details of eligibility requirements, interest rates and other key terms of the loan are available by visiting the Future Finance website. BPP University Limited acts as a credit broker and is not a lender for this arrangement.

Key Information

  • Enhance your employability with our professional skills programme
  • More ways to study choose face-to-face or online
  • Access specialist careers advice from the moment you accept your place, until you secure your first legal position
  • Flexibility when you study; weekdays, weekends, daytime or evening (dependent upon location and mode of study)
  • Get involved in pro bono work with our award-winning Pro Bono Centre.
  • Convert your GDL into an LLB (Hons) Degree with our Graduate LLB (Hons) programme
  • Funding available through Scholarships, interest-free payment plans and Future Finance student loans^
  • All classes and materials are available online for consolidation and revision catch-up
  • Dedicated personal tutor support throughout your studies
  • Learn about specialist areas of practice in our bespoke lecture series, GDL Extra
  • Three start dates a year: September, January or April. (Dependent upon location and mode of study)
  • Take part in extra-curricular activities such as mooting and negotiation
  • All of your study materials, including internally and externally published books and materials are provided in your course fees and available 24/7 on our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
  • Learn Mandarin alongside your GDL (London only)

Benefit from our Career Guarantee

If you start your GDL and go on to study our LPC or BPTC you will benefit from our Career Guarantee.

If you do not obtain a training contract or pupillage within six months of completing your LPC* or BPTC** you can study another qualification at BPP University for free. 

* LPC Terms and conditions
** BPTC Terms and conditions

Preparing you for practice

The BPP University GDL is designed to help you make a smooth transition from being a non-law graduate into a career in law. Not only do we give you an excellent qualification, we give you an insight into life in practice, so you enter the next stage of your training more informed, more prepared and more effective, and able to demonstrate a higher competency when applying for training contracts and pupillages.

Once you have successfully completed your GDL exams, you have the opportunity to specialise or develop an understanding in alternative areas, take two extra modules and you could graduate with a Graduate LLB (Hons) awarded by BPP University. The Graduate Diploma in Law is awarded by BPP University and is recognised as completion of the academic stage by the SRA and BSB.

When you have passed your GDL, you're guaranteed a place on our LPC, the next step to becoming a solicitor. Or you can apply for our BPTC, the next step to becoming a barrister.

How the programme is taught

We assume you have no prior knowledge of law when you start your GDL, so you get a full induction programme and a high level of support from day one. This includes outstanding learning materials and online resources. All study materials are included in the fee. All lectures and resources have online equivalents.

You will be taught by our experienced legal professionals and academics with time split evenly between tutorials and lectures as well as regular consolidation sessions and a wealth of online resources. 

What you will experience in the classroom

BPP University's ethos is learning by doing. Classes are designed with an interactive focus, based on discussions, debates and resolving practical case studies. You will learn the academic knowledge, but as importantly you will learn how it is applied in practice, with a logical approach, presenting your arguments persuasively and in a structured manner.

You will study up to 21 hours a week consisting of lectures, tutorials and consolidation workshops. Tutorials are taught in groups of around 18 students, giving you a high level of student/tutor contact time.

All our students also have a Personal Tutor and access to the Student Advice Team, should you need any guidance or additional support outside of class time.

The Online GDL

Our online programme is a flexible, fully taught mode of study which can be studied either full or part-time. You will follow a structured weekly study programme of classes using BPP University’s Online Classroom Live. This is a live, synchronous virtual classroom with the same BPP University Law School tutors who teach in our study centres.

You will experience the same classes, study with the same materials and online library resources and take the same exams as all GDL students. We recognise that online students have specific study needs and have been successfully supporting online students through their studies for over 15 years. You will also have a dedicated academic tutor in each module and pastoral tutor support you in your progress on the programme.

Although the GDL exams take place in the UK, we can permit students to sit their examinations overseas in agreement with our overseas examinations office as to an appropriate examination centre and appropriate times synchronous with the UK examinations. Each year, over 100 GDL exams are taken overseas.

We run a range of extra-curricular activities for online students, such as mooting and our award-winning pro bono opportunities. Students can also access the BPP University Careers Service as soon as they accept a place.

The online programme is offered on a full-time, part-time weekend and part-time evening basis and we welcome all students globally to these online study options.

Study Options

Personalise your GDL timetable

BPPUniversity gives you more control over the way you study with face-to-face and online learning. Classes are offered morning, afternoon, evening and weekends.

You can start in January or September. For full-time study, both options take nine months. Or if you choose part-time and start in January, you will finish in 18 months – ready to start the LPC or BPTC in September. If you start part-time in September the programme takes two academic years.

Part-time study options

Our part-time programme is designed to fit around your other commitments such as work and family. We offer a variety of part-time modes:

  • Evenings: taught between 6.00pm and 9.00pm. Each module is taught by a one-hour tutorial per week. All our lectures are recorded and made available to students online for flexibility of study
  • Weekends: one Saturday every fortnight, consisting of tutorials. Lectures delivered online
  • Day: taught on one half-day per week from 9am - 1.30pm in year 1 and from 9am - 2.30pm in year 2. Lectures are delivered online
  • Online: weekly live tutorials take place during the week, in the evening and on Saturdays via our virtual classroom environment. 

Optional modules

You are given access to an unrivalled range of additional modules, designed to get you ahead and give you the edge in interviews. Highlights include:

  • Company law module
  • Further specialist law modules – start specialising early in areas such as Intellectual Property or Public International Law, so you can demonstrate more expertise than other graduates.
  • Professional Skills modules developed with leading city firms – Featuring areas like legal writing and legal research.
  • Mandarin Chinese – Gain an insight into the language used in one of the world's most important markets with free Mandarin Chinese lessons (London only).

Specialist careers advice

From the moment you accept your place until you secure your first legal position, you can use our careers service. With our one-to-one support, we aim to give you the edge when it comes to getting a training contract or pupillage. You will have everything from access to our vacancies database to advice on filling out application forms, intensive interview coaching, employer research and networking opportunities with top firms.

Modules

You will study an introduction to the English legal system followed by the seven foundation modules, through a one-hour tutorial and a one-hour lecture per week – plus regular consolidation in each module.

As a part-time GDL student your modules will be structured as follows:

  • Year one: English Legal System, Contract Law, Law of Torts, Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • Year two: Land Law, Law of Equity and Trusts, Criminal Law, Law of the European Union, Independent Research Essay

Please note that modules run subject to demand, therefore all modules may not run in all locations.

Assessment

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

Independent research essay options

We offer a wide range of titles, and will always consider individual topics suggested by students. Current options include intellectual property, succession, company law, family law, housing law, medical law and public international law.

 


Entry requirements

UK/EU Students

The BPP University Graduate Diploma in Law is right for you if you:

  • Are a non-law graduate
  • Are an overseas law graduate
  • Have a non-qualifying law degree
  • Are a non-graduate with significant managerial experience

If you are a UK graduate, you'll need a minimum 2:2 honours degree (or equivalent) in any subject from a recognised UK institution. You are guaranteed a place if your honours degree is a 2:1 or above. Students without a 2:2 honours degree from the UK or Republic of Ireland are required to evidence that they meet the academic entrance requirements of the relevant professional body. This includes applicants with overseas degrees or mature students without an undergraduate degree. Intending solicitors should contact our Admissions Team on for assistance. Intending barristers should contact the Bar Standards Board directly at barstandardsboard.org.uk.

Non-EU international students

We welcome students from all over the world. For our GDL programme you will need:

  • 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. Intending solicitors should contact our Admissions Team for assistance. Intending barristers should contact the Bar Standards Board directly at barstandardsboard.org.uk
  • 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.

Once you are accepted on the programme, we are able to offer specialist support for arranging visas and other matters. 

If you do not hold an undergraduate degree

To apply for a place on the GDL request a call back

To find out more about whether you may be eligible on the basis of your professional experience you can:

How to apply

We recommend you apply as soon as you're ready – priority is given to applicants who have placed BPP University as their first choice.

If you have any questions about your application you can contact Admissions or request a call back

Exemptions

Students studying on the GDL may be eligible for exemption from certain modules on the programme depending on their previous studies. Typically, students who qualify for exemptions have studied equivalent law modules in their undergraduate degree in England and Wales, although exemptions can be earned from other sources including:

  • Undergraduate law degrees from jurisdictions where the law is the same or sufficiently similar e.g.: Scotland, Republic of Ireland and Commonwealth countries

  • Postgraduate degrees

  • Chartered Institute of Legal Executives Level 6 modules

If you have already secured exemptions before commencing the GDL, you do not need to make a further application once you commence the course. You do need to produce confirmation of the exemptions granted to the Student Records team, either on registration or as soon as possible thereafter.

If you are seeking exemption from BPP University, please be aware that the procedure is different depending on whether you intend to qualify as a solicitor or barrister. Please let the Admissions Team know if you intend to apply for an exemption so that they can advise you accordingly. 

 
 

 

Study locations

January start

  • London Waterloo
  • Manchester
  • Leeds Whitehall Quay
  • Online

April start

  • Online

September start

  • London Waterloo
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Cambridge
  • Leeds Whitehall Quay
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Online

Please note: international students with Tier 4 student visas cannot study the GDL in our Cambridge study centre.

Sitting Invigilated Assessments Overseas or at a Regional BPP University Law School

Online GDL students are expected (and enrolled) to take any invigilated assessments in London with London based face-to-face GDL students. However, you may request to sit these assessments overseas or at a regional law school. Most GDL assessments are invigilated, which means that they must be taken in controlled conditions with independent supervision of the assessment taking place.

You will generally be given permission to sit these assessments overseas, so long as you:

  • Satisfy the requirements of our Examinations Department, including venue approval (our Examinations Department would normally approve British Council venues or venues recommended by the British Council)
  • The time difference is not so great that you cannot sit the assessments at the same time as they are being taken in the UK
  • You pay the costs charged by the overseas venue
  • You submit a completed Overseas Examinations Request Form by the required deadline

Sitting overseas or regionally is not guaranteed. Sitting overseas will not be approved unless the requirements are fully satisfied and sitting regionally depends on whether the assessments are being offered at the regional Law School you request and if there is room to accommodate you if they are.

 

January 2017 start

Full-time and part-time programmes

Location Total (inc £250 deposit)
Leeds £8,470
London £10,600
Manchester £8,470
Online £10,600

 

September 2017 start

Full-time and part-time programmes

Location Total (inc £250 deposit)
Birmingham £8,840 
Bristol £8,840
Cambridge £8,840
Leeds £8,730
Liverpool £8,730
London £10,920
Manchester £8,730
Online £10,920


Part-time study may not run at all locations. A deposit of £250 will need to be paid within 48 hours of accepting your offer, in order to secure your place.

GDL exemptions

The fee per module for GDL Exemption Students is 1/8th of the full price at each centre. Fees must be paid up front per module.

Additional charges

In addition to your programme fees, there may be additional charges associated with your studies, which include:

Resit fees for exams £75
Resit fees to repeat a 15 credit module £400
Resit fees to repeat a 20 credit module £530
Resit fees to repeat a 30 credit module £800

Future Finance student loan

A student loan, from Future Finance, of between £2,500 to £40,000 is available to BPP University full and part-time GDL students.

Further details of eligibility requirements, interest rates and other key terms of the loan are available by visiting the Future Finance website. BPP University Limited acts as a credit broker and is not a lender for this arrangement.

Scholarships

BPP University welcomes and supports applications for student scholarships. We offer a wide-range of scholarships and awards for our law programmes.