Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)




The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is a conversion course for both non-law graduates and graduates with non-qualifying law degrees.  Successful completion of the GDL enables graduates to take the professional examinations to qualify as solicitors and barristers.

The full-time programme is taught over three terms with assessment (coursework and examinations) spread throughout the year. Our unique spread of examinations enables you to spread the workload and monitor your progress across the course as a whole.  Some students study for the GDL part-time – which takes two years.

You will study:

  • Legal study skills necessary for successful completion of the GDL, including legal problem solving and essay writing
  • The English Legal System
  • The Foundations of Legal Knowledge modules that are required by the professional bodies
  • A Legal Research Project that will complete your legal training, and give you the freedom to write a research project on a topic of your choice.

Our GDL has an outstanding reputation, as affirmed by our external examiners.  Some of our principal strengths are the quality of our tuition, the accommodation and resources in and around Headington Hill Hall and the close, supportive collegiate learning environment, which provides each student with individualised attention and assistance.  Our GDL is qualitatively different to that at the large commercial providers because it is taught in a close and supporting manner by experienced university academics, several of whom are professionally qualified.  Students are taught fundamental legal skills and encouraged to read primary sources rather than pre-digested sets of materials. Whilst the Brookes GDL is intensely academic, we also focus on doing all that we can very practically to help our students maximise their employment potential in a highly competitive environment.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £8,320

Home/EU - part time fee: 2018/19: £4,240

International - full time: 2018/19: £8,320

Where part time fees are quoted this is for the first year only. Fees will increase by approximately 2% each year.

For general sources of financial support, see:

English language requirements

Students whose first language is not English will need A-level English, or an IELTS score of 7.0, including a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or UCLES Certificate of Proficiency in English at grade B or above. This is for all applicants whose first language in not English including those who may have a degree from the UK.

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

How this course helps you develop

You will be given the opportunity to practise essential legal skills such as mooting and client interviewing; and to participate in our internal mooting and client interviewing competitions, with the winners going on to represent the University nationally – and potentially also internationally.

Our GDL students were in the top three places in the National Client Interviewing Competition of England and Wales in each of the years 2009-2012, winning the national competition and coming second in the international final in Hong Kong in 2010, and we came third in this year's national final.

Further, our GDL students won the ESU/Essex Court National Mooting Competition in 2012 and 2015, and again in 2016; our GDL students have also twice won the national Inner Temple Inter-Varsity Mooting Competition, in 2013 and 2015; and, having won the Commonwealth Mooting Competition 2013, we have recently been the Commonwealth Champions, and very ably defended our title, in Melbourne, in 2017.

Recently, in an unprecedented and historic event - the unique Magna Carta national moot - two GDL teams from Brookes, following a national competition to do so, mooted against each other at the Inner Temple to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.

Winner of a national pro bono prize, the School of Law pro bono scheme was set up by two students to harness students’ skills for the benefit of the community.  Pro bono provides a valuable introduction to the world of legal practice and involvement in pro bono work is highly valued by employers. GDL students have the opportunity fully to participate in our pro bono scheme.

Oxford Brookes has strong links with law firms and barristers' chambers, including in London and Oxford, and we also offer both a barrister and solicitor mentoring programme.  For example, every GDL student who wishes to become a barrister is given the opportunity to network with a practising barrister mentor; such opportunities can lead to mini-pupillages and to pupillages.

Events such as the annual Oxford University Law Fair and our own Oxford Brookes Law Fair which offers valuable opportunities to meet and network with potential employers, further enhance opportunities for professional networking.


Having completed the GDL most students go on to become solicitors or barristers by taking the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).  In addition to the solicitor and barrister mentoring schemes, and the University Careers Service, students are given individualised careers help from instructors on the course and from their Academic Adviser.

Training contracts
Several of our students come to the GDL having already obtained training contracts with solicitors’ firms, and their GDL studies are funded by these firms. Recent students have secured training contracts at leading firms.

Scholarships for barristers
Oxford Brookes GDL students going to the bar are exceptionally successful in securing much sought-after funding and scholarships.  Each year a significant proportion of Brookes students gain prestigious scholarships through the Inns of Court. Recent students have gained pupillages and tenancies at a number of leading barrister chambers.

Further careers options with law
A small number of our students use the legal knowledge and analytical skills gained through the GDL course to pursue a business, public sector or financial career, or continue on to further academic study.

Recruiting? We can help