You don’t need a degree in law to become a lawyer. Studying law at undergraduate level can be a great foundation for your career, however law conversion courses are just as well regarded.

The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is designed to put non-law graduates on equal footing with those who have a law degree and prepare them for the next stage of their legal education. Also known as the Common Professional Exam (CPE), the course takes a year to complete (studying full-time), and covers essential content from a law degree. Once completed, aspiring solicitors will the ready to study the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and future barristers will be prepared for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). The Solicitors Regulation Authority has a full list of institutions who offer the course.

You will study seven core topics that will give you a good foundation in legal theory:

  • Contract law
  • Criminal law
  • Law of tort
  • Property law
  • EU law
  • Constitutional and administrative law
  • Equity and law of trusts

How to apply for the GDL

Applications for the GDL should usually be completed in the final year of your undergraduate degree and are made through the Central Applications Board (CAB). Applications are dealt with as they come in and therefore there is an advantage in applying as early as possible.

How much does the GDL cost?

Fees vary between institutions and can be as high as £11,000 for a full-time course. This is why some law students seek funding for the GDL from law firms. The Inns of Court will sometimes offer scholarships to students who intend to study for the BPTC.

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