GDL - Graduate Diploma in Law




We offer a one-year, full-time GDL.

Why study the GDL and what does it lead to?

If you have a degree or equivalent in a non-law subject and would like to qualify as a solicitor or barrister, you can take the GDL to satisfy the academic stage of legal training in one year instead of the two or three years normally required for a law degree.  After the GDL you can progress to the professional stage of training, either:

-               the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) for intending barristers; or

-               the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for intending solicitors.

The BPTC and LPC are one year courses when studied full time and allow you to progress to pupillage in chambers or a training contract with a firm of solicitors. 

Flexible learning

The GDL is a very intensive course but our model lets you combine your studies with other commitments as much as possible.  Apart from the first two weeks of the course, you will only need to attend the Law School on two days per week.  The remainder of your time will be used for independent study, including listening to lectures, reading and preparing for tutorials. 

We know that students value face-to-face teaching, so all our tutorials will be in the Law School and you will have lots of learning and pastoral support from your tutors.  Most lectures will be delivered electronically so you can listen when most convenient for you, but you will also have ample opportunity to see and speak to your tutors - this is not a distance learning course.

Our teaching style

You will be taught with other GDL students and there will be more tutorial time than usual in recognition of the intensive nature of the course.  But we also recognise that you are adults with proven study skills and able to take responsibility for your own learning.  All our tutors are professional lawyers and our ethos is one of friendly professionalism and mutual respect.

Reputation and enhanced employability

You will be part of one of the leading Law schools in the UK.  Cardiff offers:

-  an enviable reputation for world-class research;

-  a range of pioneering pro-bono projects in which student volunteers work on real cases under supervision from professionals.  By taking part in a scheme you can gain hands-on experience of the law in practice and possibly make a difference to people’s lives

-  a programme of careers talks from legal employers and other speakers to help you plan the next step of your career; activities such as mooting, to enhance your skills and your CV 

- a lively Student Law Society; and  excellent links with practice and the legal profession.

A springboard to the professional courses

You can stay at Cardiff for your whole legal education.  Cardiff is a highly regarded provider of both the BPTC and LPC courses and the only Russell Group University to offer both courses.  If you decide to go on to our BPTC you will have the chance to experience time in chambers and marshalling (shadowing a judge).  If you join our LPC you will have the chance to join our  LPC work placement scheme to give you a taste of practice and get your  networking off to a good start.  

GDL Course Structure 2019

Enrolment will be in early September 2019

All GDL students are required to study and pass a short test on the basics of the English and Welsh legal system (EWLS) within a few weeks of starting any GDL course.  To help you prepare for this, you will be asked to do some preparatory reading and study before you enrol.  For the first two weeks of the course you will need to attend the Law School on a full time basis for intensive support and practice sessions on EWLS.  

After that initial period you will only need to attend on two days per week on the full time course.  You will be studying the foundation topics of Land Law, Contract, Tort, Equity and Trusts, Public Law, Crime and European Union Law.  You will also be working independently on an extended essay set in a different area of law.  The modules are all assessed by examination, except for the Extended Essay, and the Contract module, which is assessed by examination and coursework. 

GDL entry requirements

An Honours degree (normally Class 2:2 or above) in a non-Law subject.

If you have a non-standard qualification such as a non-UK degree, you will need a certificate of academic standing. Contact us for more information.

How to apply

To apply for the course, go to the Central Applications Board at

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