Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) in UK

Law schools in the UK are among the best universities in the world. This outstanding global reputation has been a major driver for the expansion of international enrollment for years on, at these schools. But there is also another feature that makes the UK this much-desired study destination for law students all over the world.

In other countries it is common that applicants for postgraduate degrees in law are required to have acquired an undergraduate degree in law or a strongly related study area. In the UK there’s an opportunity to make this transition possible and with ease.

If you have been studying another subject and as the time has passed you have discovered a personal interest in law matters but you feared there’s no way to do it, there’s actually an opportunity in the UK: studying for a Graduate Diploma in Law.

What is the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)?

Graduate Diploma in Law is a postgraduate qualification applicants who have no relevant education in law must take in order to be eligible to become a barrister or a solicitor. Based on this definition, GDLs are often called “law conversion courses” because they’re designed to help students from other study disciplines achieve the academic foundation required to study law at the postgraduate level.

English and Welsh universities do offer these type of degrees while the equivalent of GDL in Scotland is a fast-track undergraduate law degree program.

Since the intention of a GDL degree is to prepare students for enrolling postgraduate law courses, the structure of GDLs contains pretty much the same content as an LLB degree. Said otherwise, you’re going to study what bachelor law students study during three years of full-time study.

How long does it take to get a GDL degree?

Typically, a GDL study program lasts for one year of full time study. If you’re engaged in other activities, for example working, GDLs in UK are also taught part-time. In that situation, your study program will take at least two years of study to complete. Quite as you would expect part-time study programs provide you with a certain degree of flexibility, be it in terms of program’s content or length.

GDL Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for Graduate Diploma are set independently by universities. In addition, specific requirements for particular documents may also be applied. Therefore, you must be aware that your eligibility to apply for Graduate Diploma in Law in UK changes according to the university you choose to study at.

To enter a Graduate Diploma in Law degree course, the following documents will be required for submission:

  • A recognized degree.
  • English Proficiency (for students coming from non-English speaking countries).

As aforementioned, GDL applicants in UK are not required to hold an undergraduate degree in law to be granted admission. However, the universities set a few criteria your previous academic qualifications must meet in order for your application to be considered.

In other countries you either get a degree or you fail to do so. By contrast, The UK applies a unique grading system where not all degrees are assessed equal in academic terms.

Depending on your total score at the end of the course you will be granted a first, second or a third class degree. Universities have specific requirements in this aspect. For example, some of them may require you to have at least a second class degree to be given a place.

All that said, make sure you check by yourself the university you want to study at about their entry requirements for GDL degree courses.

GDL Application deadlines

Application deadlines for GDL courses in UK change depending on the university of your choice as well. Most universities have rolling admission, which means you can apply for your Graduate Diploma in Law at any time you want. Nevertheless we recommend you contact your university in person, especially because application deadlines may sometimes be subject to change.

GDL Tuition fees

Overall, the cost of attending a Graduate Diploma in Law varies between £12,000 and £20,000 annually. However, keep in mind that tuition fees change from university to university and there might be universities which charge more or less than this range.

Universities take into consideration a set of factors when they decide over fees to charge students. To a large degree, your nationality, the university and the course you have chosen determine that amount of money you’re obligated to pay for your GDL degree.

Best Universities to Get a Graduate Diploma in Law in UK

In the UK there are many universities and the number of available degrees is huge. Sometimes you might have specific preferences that you’re looking for in a potential university. From a general perspective, whatever university you decide to study for your GDL degree will be a choice you won’t regret.

However if you’re an ambitious student, we present you a list of the best universities to do a Graduate Diploma in Law in UK. Among factors at which these universities score high include global reputation, flexibility of study programs and graduates’ entry rate at postgraduate level.

University of Law

Course name: Graduate Diploma in Law.

Application deadlines: September and January.

Course start: September.

Duration: 1 year, full-time.

Annual fees: £11,650.

Entry requirements:

  • A recognized undergraduate degree (second class degree at the minimum).
  • English proficiency.

> Learn more about the GDL degree at University of Law

University of Cardiff

Course name: Graduate Diploma in Law (Graduate Diploma).

Application Deadlines: April.

Course start: September.

Duration: 1 year, full-time.

Annual Fees: £8,950 (EU students) and £17,350 (non-EU students).

Entry Requirements:

  • Grade Transcripts.
  • English Proficiency.
  • Personal Statement.
  • Relevant references.

Brighton University

Course name: Law CPE PGDip

Application Deadlines: January.

Course Start: September.

Duration: 1 year full-time.

Annual Fees: £7,380 (EU students) and £11,230 (non-EU students).

Entry Requirements:

  • A recognized 2:2 degree.
  • English proficiency.
  • Relevant experience.

Birmingham City University

Course name: Postgraduate Diploma in Law – PGDL/CPE.

Application deadlines: No deadlines.

Course start: September.

Duration: 1 year, full-time.

Annual fees: £5,400 (local and EU students) and £8,200 (non-EU students).

Entry requirements:

  • A recognized degree equivalent to a second-class British degree.
  • English proficiency.

University of Sheffield

Course name: Graduate Diploma in Law.

Application deadlines: No deadlines.

Course start: September.

Duration: 1 year, full-time.

Annual fees: £9,000 (Local and EU students) and £17,600 (non-EU students).

Entry requirements:

  • A recognized undergraduate degree (first class undergraduate).
  • English proficiency.

University of Reading

Course name: Graduate Diploma in Law.

Application deadlines: September.

Course start: September.

Duration: 1 year, full-time.

Annual fees: £11,650.

Entry requirements:

  • A recognized undergraduate degree (second class at least).
  • English proficiency.

Manchester Metropolitan University

Course name: Graduate Diploma in Law.

Application deadlines: September.

Course start: September.

Duration: 1 year, full-time.

Annual fees: £9,250 (local and EU students) and £12,000 (non-EU students).

Entry requirements: A recognized undergraduate degree.

English proficiency.

University of East Anglia

Course name: Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies.

Application deadlines: July.

Course start: September.

Duration: 1 year, full-time.

Annual fees: £7,450 (local and EU students) and £16,100 (non-EU students).

Entry requirements:

  • A recognized undergraduate degree (second class degree at the minimum).
  • English proficiency.

University of Central Lancashire

Course name: Graduate Diploma in Law.

Application deadlines: January.

Course start: September.

Duration: 1 year, full-time.

Annual fees: £7,500 (UK and EU students) and £12,950 (non-EU students).

Entry requirements:

  • A recognized undergraduate degree (second class degree at the minimum).
  • English proficiency.

University of Exeter

Course name: Graduate Diploma in Law.

Application deadlines: September and January.

Course start: September.

Duration: 1 year, full-time.

Annual fees: £11,650.

Entry requirements:

  • A recognized undergraduate degree (second class degree at the minimum).
  • English proficiency.

Updated on: 18th June, 2019

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