How To Get A Graduate Diploma In Law This Year | Best Schools, Requirements, Cost, Job Outlook

If you want to obtain a graduate diploma in law this year, all you need to do is get acquainted with the right information. In this article, we’ll furnish you with how to get a diploma in law this year with a focus on the best schools, application requirements, the cost of obtaining a diploma in law, job outlook, and lots more.

The GDL is specially designed as a conversion course into legal study. It is the pathway into practice for non-law graduates. If you have completed an undergraduate degree in a non-law field and want to study law at a postgraduate level, you’ll first need to complete this conversion course.

See the table of contents below.

What is a graduate diploma in law?

The graduate diploma in law is a postgraduate law study in England and Wales that is exclusively for non-law graduates who want to be solicitors or barristers. Most GDL/PGDL courses provide a diploma and are consequently sometimes referred to as the Common Professional Examination (CPE). Successful applicants advance to either the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for solicitors or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) for barristers.

It’s also known as a “legal conversion course,” and it’s a four-year program that may be completed in one (full-time) or two (part-time) years. The Central Applications Board is in charge of admissions, and some law students study for four years.

With a modular structure, our GDL offers you a great chance to make the transition into the legal study with excellent levels of support and guidance from our experienced, professional tutors.

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Why Pursue A Graduate Diploma In Law

If you’re looking to change into the legal study and already have an undergraduate degree in another discipline, the GDL is your pathway into legal practice.

Many employers favor GDL students in an increasingly competitive legal job market. By studying another degree subject and building your career in another discipline, you will have many interchangeable skills. With the decision to study law later than some others, you are showing motivation and determination to pursue a new career.

The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is the certification for you if you have a non-law degree but wish to pursue a career in law. It’s also known as the Common Professional Examination (CPE), a law conversion program that compresses 18 months of undergraduate law education into a single year.

An LLB (Hons) or a GDL is the primary admission prerequisite for the LPC. So, if you want to be a lawyer but don’t have a bachelor’s degree in law, you’ll need to take a GDL at some time.

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What Can I Do With A Diploma In Law?

A legal degree is a good starting point for a career as an attorney or barrister, but it’s not the only one. You have several opportunities outside of the legal profession.

Here’s an outline of things you can do with a diploma in law;

#1 Arbitrator

An arbitrator is a person chosen to decide a dispute or settle differences, especially one formally empowered to examine the facts and decide the issue. The process of arbitration involves presenting a dispute or disagreement to one or more arbitrators who then provide a binding ruling.

With a graduate diploma in law, you can stand in as an arbitrator. In entering into an arbitration agreement, the parties agree to refer their dispute to a neutral tribunal to decide their rights and obligations. Although sometimes described as a form of alternative dispute resolution, arbitration differs from mediation or conciliation. A mediator or conciliator can only recommend outcomes and the parties can choose whether or not to accept those recommendations while an arbitration tribunal has the power to make decisions that bind the parties.

#2 Barrister

A barrister is a lawyer who focuses on advocacy and litigation in the courts. Barristers differ from solicitors in that they have more direct contact with their clients. Barristers mostly appoint judges, and they are rarely hired directly by clients.

The term “barrister” is also used as an honorary title in various nations. In England and Wales, a barrister can apply to the Bar Standards Board for permission to undertake litigation. Lawyers in New Zealand and some parts of Australia can practice as both barristers and solicitors, although practising primarily as a barrister requires a different set of qualifications.

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#3 Barrister’s clerk

In a set of chambers, a barristers’ clerk is the manager and administrator. The word comes from England, but it’s also used in other common law countries like Australia. The Institute of Barristers’ Clerks regulates the profession in the United Kingdom. There are roughly 1,200 clerks in England and Wales, 350 of whom are senior. More than half of the clerks work in and around London’s four Inns of Court.

The position requires business acumen, legal understanding, and good interpersonal abilities. In recent years, many barristers have eschewed the employment of clerks in favor of self-managing their fees and time or utilizing contemporary management systems. Clerking is more of a stand-alone job than a stepping stone to become a Barrister. It does not adequately represent workload, marketing, or financial management coordination.

In some countries, legal executives are a type of skilled legal professional. They are Chartered members of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) in England and Wales and are entitled to become partners in law firms as well as judges and advocates. Both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Bahamas, recognize legal executives. In Scotland, there is no direct counterpart to a legal executive. As with barristers and lawyers, they are subject to strict regulation and a code of ethics.

They can handle a wide range of legal work, although they usually specialize in one field, similar to solicitors. A Legal Executive’s training normally consists of both vocational (a minimum of three years for individuals in England and Wales) and academic certificates.

#5 Company secretary

The effective administration of a firm is the responsibility of a company secretary. Despite the title, this is neither a clerical nor a secretarial position. The corporate secretary ensures that an organization follows all applicable laws and regulations.

In the United Kingdom, a company secretary can be qualified by passing an examination and becoming a member of the Chartered Governance Institute (CGI), which is the primary qualification for company secretaries. Private corporations have traditionally been obliged by law in many countries to select one individual as a company secretary, who is generally a senior board member.

#6 Costs lawyer

All parts of solicitor expenses that are regulated by legislation and common law are dealt with by cost lawyers. They deal with every imaginable form of legal case that has anything to do with prices. The ability of a costs lawyer is just as important as that of a barrister or solicitor in successful litigation. In 2007, the Association of Costs Lawyers received Authorised Body Status. In January 2011, it changed its name from the Association of Law Costs Draftsmen.

Before payment from the community legal fund may be paid to the solicitor, the legal professional must file a bill of expenses for review by the court or the Legal Services Commission. If a client is dissatisfied with his solicitor’s bill, he has options for challenging it. If the bill involves a disputed matter, either the client or the solicitor may request that the court examine the bill. Challenges to an amount denied are frequently submitted in writing in criminal situations.

#7 Detective

A detective is a type of investigator that works for a law enforcement organization. Talking to witnesses and informants, gathering physical evidence, and reviewing databases are all common ways they gather information to solve crimes. After completing the criteria for becoming a police officer, some police agencies need a person to pass a written examination before being considered for a detective post.

Some are private individuals who are referred to as private investigators or “The Eye That Never Sleeps” – the Pinkerton Detective Agency’s slogan – or simply “private eyes.” Detectives in several other police departments are college graduates who came straight from civilian life.

#8 Licensed conveyancer

A licensed conveyancer is a specialized legal expert who has been trained to deal with all parts of property law in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, or South Africa. Their responsibilities are fairly similar to those of a solicitor in a real estate transaction. They may work for law firms or other entities such as banks and real estate developers. The Authorised Conveyancing Practitioners Board is also in charge of them. Much of this education must focus on property law and practice.

Licensed Conveyancers, like lawyers and barristers, are licensed to practice law. also has to answer to the Attorney General and the CLC.

#9 Solicitor

In certain countries, a solicitor is responsible for the majority of legal affairs. To be referred to as a solicitor, one must meet certain legal requirements. The Solicitors Act 1974 governs the admission to solicitors’ practice in England and Wales.

Practising solicitors must have a practising certificate with certain exclusions. In England, solicitors outnumber barristers by a large margin; they handle all elements of offering legal advice and conducting legal processes. Some legal grads will begin by qualifying as one and subsequently as the other.

How Long Does It Take To Complete A Graduate Diploma In Law?

The GDL is a one-year full-time (or two-year part-time) program that leads to a certificate equal to a law degree after completion. It is the standard entry point for non-law graduates into the professions of solicitors and barristers. You cannot become a solicitor without a law degree or the GDL (unless you take the non-graduate CILEx route). The course can also be completed part-time or via distance learning over two years. Regardless of how you enrol in the course, the GDL is a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum.

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Graduate Diploma In Law?

Tuition prices vary per institution, but for a year of full-time education, you may expect to pay anywhere between £5,000 and £11,000. London-based courses may be more expensive than those offered outside of the metropolis.

How Can I Get A Graduate Diploma In Law In 2023?

If you wish to start a GDL after December 31, 2023, for the academic year 2023/2024 and then go on to an LPC, you must have accepted an offer to start in the academic year 2023 and deferred your seat.

Application Requirements:

  • Academic Documentation
  • Personal Statement
  • Reference
  • Passport Details

Application Process:

1. Register on LawCAB

You’ll need to create a password and enter your email address. You must also acknowledge reading and comprehending the LawCAB Ltd Privacy Policy. Please do not register a new account if you have already made one for a prior application.

2. Create Your Form

You will choose what you wish to apply for once you have registered. The Eligibility Checker will assist you in determining your course type.

3. Complete Your Form

You can complete the various sections of the form at your leisure and in any sequence, you choose, but each one must be finished and saved.

4. Nominate A Referee

A reference or expression of support from someone who knows you is usually required by most course providers (not a family member) Do not name someone as a referee without first consulting them! When you complete your form, a reference request is automatically emailed to your referee, so they may write a reference for you. We highly advise that you double-check that your referee has received this.

5. Pay Your Application Fee

The £25.00 application fee is required of all applicants for LPC, GDL, and SQE preparatory courses. Applicants who have received training contracts, bursaries, or scholarships fall under this category.

6. Submit Your Form

When you submit your application, you agree to have the approval of anybody identified in your application (i.e., your referee) to provide their contact information. You also accept that once your form is submitted, it will go through an automated procedure that will automatically finalize and release it.

7. Reference Request

You will receive an automatic reference request once you have submitted your form. Until your referee submits a reference, your form is not issued to the institutions. It is the applicant’s obligation to ensure that their referee has received the reference.

8. Reference Submitted

Your form will be given to your chosen universities when your reference has been filed.

9. Form Completed and Released

Institutions will contact you after your form has been issued to inform you of their choice. Before pursuing institutions, let them 5-10 working days to react.

What Are The Requirements For A Graduate Diploma In Law Program?

The specific entrance criteria for a GDL vary from one school to the next. However, most employers will want at least a 2:2 in any subject. Relevant job experience isn’t required, although some colleges (particularly the more competitive ones) may consider it when evaluating your application.

Which Schools Offer The Best Graduate Diploma In Law Programs In 2023?

Here’s a list of schools that offer the best graduate diploma in law programs:

#1 BPP Law School

BPP University is part of the BPP Group and is a distinct legal entity with its own degree-awarding powers. They offer a postgraduate diploma in law program to non-law graduates with the desire to pursue a career in law. BPP law school offers an 8-month (full-time) PGDL that will develop your foundational knowledge before further legal study on the SQE, LPC, or barrister training. 

At BPP Law School, you will learn like a lawyer from the outset, with teaching by experienced solicitors and barristers. Through highly interactive small group teaching sessions, we provide opportunities to apply your growing legal knowledge, professional capabilities, and problem-solving skills.

Duration: Eight months (full-time) and 20 months (part-time)

Study modes: Face-to-face (with supporting online materials) at locations nationwide or online.

Price from: £9,260


#2 City Law School

City, University of Law, London offers a graduate diploma in Law. Your studies are supported by a team of committed, enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. On occasion, they partner with external professionals to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

During this program, you will cover core content including case law, legal analysis, and oral argument, as well as an introduction to legal ethics.

Start date: September 2023

Fees: £12,200


#3 The University of Law

The GDL at The University of Law was created specifically as a transitional course into legal studies. If you hold a bachelor’s degree in another discipline and wish to pursue law as a postgraduate degree, you have to undertake a GDL.

Duration: Eight months (full-time) and 20 months (part-time)

Study modes: Face-to-face (with supporting online materials) at locations nationwide or online.

Fees: £12,250


#4 Cardiff University

If you are thinking of qualifying as a lawyer in England and Wales, pursuing Graduate Diploma in Law at Cardiff University enables you to study the structure and doctrines of the legal system in England and Wales and the seven core (foundation) subjects of a law degree: contract law, criminal law, equity & trusts law, EU law, land law, public law, and tort law. 

The GDL program offered at Cardiff University is handled by well-trained professionals who are ready to teach you to think like a lawyer and develop practical legal skills through small group workshops and problem-based learning.

Duration: 1 year

Study mode: On-campus and online

Tuition fee:

  • Outside London – £9,850
  • London – £12,250
  • Hong Kong HKD $100,000


#5 The University of East Anglia

The University of East Anglia offers an intensive, one-year course is designed to enable non-law graduates to convert to a legal career path and study for the required Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) to complete the academic stage of legal training.

After successfully completing the diploma, you will be eligible to progress to the legal professional exams: either the Legal Practice Course for solicitors or the Bar Professional Training Course for barristers.

Duration: 1 year

Study mode: On-campus

Tuition fees:

  • UK Students: £8,300 (full time)
  • International Students: £17,600 (full time)


#6 The University of Sheffield

University of Sheffield in partnership with the University of Law offers graduate diploma in Law program. This collaboration means that students can now study the GDL program at their Sheffield campus.

Duration: Eight months (full-time) and 20 months (part-time)

Study modes: Face-to-face (with supporting online materials) at locations nationwide or online.

Tuition Fees: £12,250

VISIT University of Law website

#7 Swansea University

Swansea University offer a 36-weeks intensive GDL program designed to help you gain sound legal knowledge in the foundations of law. This course will give you the legal skills and knowledge you need to meet the academic requirements of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board, and the Institute for Legal Executives.

In this GDL program, you’ll learn the foundation subjects of Contract Law, Law of Tort, Public Law, Equity & Trusts, Land Law, Criminal Law, and European Union Law through lectures and seminars.

Duration: 36 week

Study mode: On-campus

Tuition fees:

  • UK students – £ 8,200
  • EU students – £ 12,400
  • International students – £ 12,400


GDLs provide you with all of the information that an undergraduate Law degree provides, placing you on par with Law graduates. In fact, several law companies prefer GDL graduates over Law graduates, recognizing that these students have earned a broader skill set as a result of their first degree.


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