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GDL (Distance learning)

Congratulations on your offer to study the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) at Nottingham Law School (NLS). During your GDL, we’ll provide you with many opportunities that will assist your development towards a successful career in law.

Elyse Wakelin

Congratulations on your offer to study the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) at Nottingham Law School (NLS). During your GDL, we’ll provide you with many opportunities that will assist your development towards a successful career in law. We don’t view our GDL in isolation – it’s the initial part of a course linked with the LLM LPC or LLM BTC. Our dedicated Employability team and placement scheme will provide you with practical advice, and they’ll support you in your search for a training contract or pupillage. Many firms will appreciate the well-rounded knowledge and commitment demonstrated by completing the GDL. Even if you don’t end up pursuing a legal career, our GDL will also provide you with a wide range of transferrable skills that are highly valued by employers.

This is a challenging course, to which you’ll need to dedicate hours of study over the next two years. Our staff are all experienced GDL tutors who understand the challenges you’ll face, and they’ll offer you as much support as possible.

Elyse Wakelin
Course Leader
Graduate Diploma in Law (Distance learning)

Why choose us?

  • We have a dedicated Employability team that will provide you with useful advice and help you plan your career.
  • We offer a multi-award-winning pro bono programme through our Legal Advice Centre.
  • Our vocational focus and strong links with the legal profession mean that many members of our academic staff have extensive practical experience.
  • Our GDL is accredited by the Joint Academic Stage Board.
  • Students who successfully complete this course are guaranteed a place on our LLM Legal Practice Course (LLM LPC) and are looked at favourably for the LLM BarristersTraining Course (LLM BTC ). Please note our LLM Legal Practice Course can reach its maximum capacity prior to the course start date, which will result in early closure. We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
  • Scholarships are available, and we offer progression discounts to our current students and alumni.
  • We are a registered Free Representation Unit (FRU), meaning you could get the chance to represent clients at employment and social security tribunals.
  • You’ll benefit from guest lecturers and visiting professors, who’ll share their insights and experiences from various legal sectors.
  • We hold three Summer School programmes, which give you the chance to develop an international perspective on legal practice.
  • We have a strong network of professional contacts helping us to ensure that our courses reflect the latest theory and practice.

The Legal Advice Centre has recovered over £4 million in compensation and benefits for its clients.

Your offer

  • Conditional offers

    If your offer is conditional, you can check on the Applicant Portal for the conditions that still have to be met. If you’re able to meet some or all of these conditions, log onto the Applicant Portal at and upload your evidence.

    If your offer is conditional because you’re waiting for your degree results, you’ll need to upload a copy of your transcript of results or degree certificate onto the Applicant Portal as soon as possible after your results have been confirmed.

    If you haven’t obtained your transcript or degree certificate, contact us by the end of July so that we can advise you on what you need to do. It may still be possible for you to join the course.

  • Starting your course

    Once you’ve met all the conditions, visit to enrol online. Please do this before the start of the course.

    Course start date: 2 October 2020

  • Course adjustments

    If you have a disability that might affect the way in which we deliver the course or assess you, we need to hear from you immediately so that we can evaluate your needs and determine what adjustments we’re able to make to accommodate those needs. Please contact Student Support Services via or call +44 (0)115 848 2085.

    Please note that if you’re an existing student at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and you already have adjustments through the Student Support Services, these adjustments won’t automatically be carried forward on to the GDL. You’ll need to contact Student Support Services as soon as possible so a fresh evaluation can be made to accommodate your needs for this course.

Accepting your offer

All details of your offer can be found on the Applicant Portal.

If you wish to accept your offer, log onto the Applicant Portal and follow the instructions set out in your offer email. We aim to acknowledge your acceptance straight away. If you don’t hear from us, please contact us via Ask NTU or call +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please remember that the rules of the Central Applications Board allow you to hold only one place. If you have an offer of a place from another GDL provider, you may accept only one offer.

Useful course information

Pre-course reading

We require you to do some pre-course reading. We’ll provide you guidance and further information about this before the start of your course. It’s important that you undertake this work before your first week. You won’t need any textbooks to complete the preparatory work. You will be provided with access to course textbooks for tort, contract, constitutional and EU law.

How will you learn

Once you’ve enrolled, you’ll have access to NOW – the virtual learning environment used by our distance learning students. The GDL DL course “learning room” contains all the key information for your course – assessment dates, details of the course structure, and the course and assessment handbooks. Each module will also have its own learning room.

Tutors regularly update the learning rooms with guidance materials and announcements about the module. It’s important that you check your learning rooms regularly.

NOW also gives you easy access to your timetable and your University emails. It’s essential that you check your University emails on a regular basis, as this is the way we’ll contact you to share any information. You’ll be given an interactive introduction on how to use the NOW resources at the first weekend.

You’ll be expected to do preparatory work for each study weekend. If you don’t complete it before you arrive, you won’t get the full benefit of the lectures and seminars. You’ll need to do approximately 15 hours of self-study each week. Many distance learning students spend even longer in preparation, particularly if there’s coursework to hand in or it’s getting close to their examinations.


On the study weekends, your classes are scheduled throughout Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. If there are any changes to your weekend timetable, we aim to let you know as soon as possible.

Weekend 1: 2 - 4 October 2020

Weekend 2: 20-22 November 2020

Weekend 3: 29-31 January 2021

Weekend 4: 19-21 March 2021

Please note that on 2 October 2020 you’ll need to attend induction sessions and classes throughout the day and into the evening.

The end-of-year examinations will take place in late May or early June. Full details will be available Spring 2021.

Academic exemptions

Students who have previously studied law may be eligible for exemptions. Any requests for exemptions must be submitted to us before 31 May 2020. Exemptions will only be considered for the GDL by distance learning – there are no exemptions available if you wish to study the GDL full-time. If you would like more information on the process for requesting exemptions you should contact us via Ask NTU.

Degree Certificates and Certificates of Academic Standing prior to enrolment

We’ll need evidence that you’re qualified for entry onto the GDL. Further information about enrolment and the induction process will be sent to you in due course. This will include details about the documentation we’ll require and when it must be submitted.

If you intend to become a barrister, you might need to obtain a Certificate of Academic Standing (CAS) from the Bar Council. If you fall into any of the following categories, you should apply to the Bar Council for your CAS as soon as possible. If you’re in any doubt as to whether or not you need a CAS, you should contact the Bar Council.

  • Students whose undergraduate degree was not obtained from a UK university.
  • Students who do not have a UK degree but who have degree- equivalent qualifications.
  • Students seeking mature non-graduate status.

In addition, if you do need a CAS and you’re not sure at this stage whether you wish to become a barrister or a solicitor, we strongly advise you to obtain the certificate from the Bar Council to ensure you keep all your future options open.

If you require a CAS, you’ll need to bring it with you when you enrol.

International students may also require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number, which is assigned by NTU.

Useful links

Fees and funding

Nottingham Law School is delighted to offer a number of generous scholarships and loyalty schemes to students starting our GDL in September 2020 including;

  • Dean's Professional Courses Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Progression and alumni discounts
  • Postgraduate loans

For more information visit our NLS Funding page.

Course fees

For information on course fees please visit the course page.

Payment of course fees by instalments

You can pay by instalments while attending the course. You’ll be able to set up your payments as part of the online enrolment process. Further information will be provided once you have accepted a place with us.

If your fees are to be met by a sponsor, please note the following.

  • On receipt of a letter from your sponsor indicating full payment of fees plus VAT, we’ll invoice them directly in September.
  • We’re registered for VAT and are required to charge sponsoring firms VAT on the course fees.

International students

International students are required to make an advance payment. To find out more find out how and when to pay your fees.


Our dedicated Employability team will support you in your search for a career. They’ll provide guidance to help you identify which area of the legal profession is right for you.

The Law School’s Employability team offer you the following services:

  • internal seminars on CV preparation, how to complete firms’ application forms, and interview techniques
  • workshops delivered by firms on a selection of recruitment topics such as online applications, commercial awareness, and psychometric testing
  • presentations from firms and other organisations that are seeking to recruit trainees
  • the opportunity to participate in our mentoring scheme, which includes firms such as Eversheds, Browne Jacobson, and Geldards
  • access to the FutureHub website, which allows students to keep in touch and receive notice of vacancies after completion of the course
  • individual advice on career strategy, CVs and covering letters
  • practice interviews and assessment centres
  • updates about pupillage, training contracts, and paralegal opportunities.

Find out more about your future career.

Visit us

Visit us at one of our Postgraduate open events, find out more about student life and meet our academics.

Any questions?

Call +44 (0)115 848 4460 or contact us via Ask NTU.

Alternatively you can contact Elyse Wakelin, GDL DL Course Leader.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418