Graduate Diploma in

Law

Student using laptop
  • Level(s) of study: Postgraduate taught / Professional
  • Study mode(s): Distance learning
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: Friday 27 September 2019
  • Course duration: 2 years

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For non-Law graduates interested in becoming a solicitor or barrister, this course is the stepping stone to the LLM Legal Practice Course or LLM Bar Professional Training Course and your legal career. This flexible, distance-learning course lets you combine study with work and other commitments. Extensive support and 24-hour access to learning resources ensure that you achieve your full potential.

About the course

This is a two-year conversion course designed for non-Law graduates intending to become solicitors or barristers in the UK, or wishing to enhance their career prospects with a legal qualification. The intensive course covers the seven core academic subjects of an undergraduate law degree. It enables progression to the LLM Legal Practice Course (LLM LPC), or the LLM Bar Professional Training Course (LLM BPTC), and a legal career thereafter. This course is also available on a full-time basis. Overseas students should note that the GDL is usually only recognised as a qualifying Law course within the UK.

Why choose this course?

  • You have the flexibility to study around work and family commitments.
  • There's comprehensive support available that has been highly valued by past students.
  • Students who successfully complete this course are guaranteed a place on Nottingham Law School's excellent-rated LLM Legal Practice Course (LLM LPC). You can also apply for our acclaimed LLM Bar Professional Training Course (LLM BPTC). We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible to avoid disappointment. These courses can reach maximum capacity prior to the course start date.
  • Scholarships are available.
  • Every student will take part in career-enhancing opportunities during the course of the year.

What you'll study

The distance learning GDL is a two-year course. There are four weekend schools in each year, attendance at which is compulsory (subject to medical or other emergencies). Residential weekends usually take place in September, November,  February and March.

The course covers the seven foundations of legal Knowledge required by The Law Society. You should be prepared to devote 15 hours per week to your studies.

  • Year one

    The first weekend begins on the Friday morning with an introduction to the course and important classes on English legal method. Students will be assessed on English legal method; there is a pass / fail written exercise on the subject to be completed at home following this weekend. All students must pass this test. However, it is formative and does not count toward the final aggregate grade. In addition, there is also teaching on the four core modules at the first weekend.

    The remaining three weekends have sessions on the four core subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law; Contract Law; European Union Law, and Law of Tort, which are also taught at the first weekend.

  • Year two

    Four weekends covering three core subjects:

    • Criminal Law
    • Land Law
    • Law of Equity and Trusts.

    In addition, students are required to cover an area of Law that goes beyond the core syllabus. This is achieved during Year Two when students complete an individual research project of 4,500 to 5,000 words.

    You will also be involved in career-enhancing opportunities over the course of the two years and will be asked to reflect on your chosen career pathway .

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

Further information on what you'll study

Join us at our professional courses open day on Saturday 10 November 2018.

Approved by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority and Bar Standards Board.

How you’re taught

  • Lectures

Distance learners are provided with all the online materials and course text books they will require to assist their study.

  • Tutorials

Tutorial contact takes place at all four weekend schools, attendance at which is compulsory. The emphasis on small group work (and sub-group work) enables us to offer a student-centred approach to learning, with exercises designed to encourage student activity rather than passive listening. Students get the benefits of individual tuition and those of group support.

  • Coursework

There is continuous assessment by course work which tests the ability of students to analyse, research and persuade, as well as reinforcing the understanding of topics. The coursework element of the seven core modules accounts for 21% of the overall grade. The research project in Year Two accounts for 9% of the overall grade.

  • End-of-year exams, testing individual subjects:

70% of the overall grade comes from the exam mark from each of the seven taught modules.

  • Oral skills

Lawyers obviously need good debating and mooting skills. These are required informally throughout the course in tutorials.

Assessment

Each subject is assessed individually, by coursework in three subjects (throughout the two  years) and an exam in each subject studied in Year One or Year Two.

Resources and facilities

Attendance is compulsory at the four residential weekends per year. Teaching is normally held at the City site of Nottingham Trent University and utilises all the facilities available to full-time students, including a well-stocked library with electronic access.

Exemptions

Students who have previously studied Law may be eligible for exemptions, and direct entry to Year Two of the distance learning course. In this situation enquirers should contact NTU Applications team, who can advise you further.

Course dates 2019/20

Course dates for 2019 entry to be confirmed.

Careers and employability

Your future career

Although a career in the law is potentially very rewarding, you should be under no illusions that the current market is anything other than highly competitive. However, some firms will prefer you to be a non-Law undergraduate because of your broader knowledge base from previous studies or qualifications; your maturity and commitment; and your practical, relevant, well-rounded legal knowledge gained by studying the core subjects in context on the GDL.

As most city and larger provincial firms recruit two years in advance, it is worth writing to them now in order to see if they will offer you a work placement or an interview. Some will pay your fees if they offer you a training contract. Obtaining some form of work experience is important in showing your interest to potential employers and for finding out what a career in law is really like.

Nottingham Law School has a specialist Careers Service which is available to GDL, LPC, and BPTC students. Careers talks will be given at weekends in the UK. All enrolled students will have access to careers information via their Virtual Learning Portal.

This course does not currently offer placements, but there are opportunities to gain work experience through involvement in pro bono projects in our Legal Advice Centre.

Learn a new language

Alongside your study you also have the opportunity to learn a new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have.

Learning a new language can:

  • enhance your communication skills
  • enrich your experience when travelling abroad
  • boost your career prospects.

Find out more about the University Language Programme (ULP).

100% of our Graduate Diploma in Law (distance learning) students are employed or engaged in further study six months after graduating (latest Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2016-17).

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

An undergraduate honours degree, 2.2 or above.

  • Applicants without formal qualifications may be eligible subject to approval of their qualifications by the Solicitors Regulation Authority / Bar Standards Board
  • Applications are assessed on an individual basis, taking into account any formal or professional qualifications, the personal statement, references, and any relevant life / work experience
  • It is a programme requirement that students have access to the internet and are IT literate

We specify these minimum entry requirements, but we will assess you individually on your ability to benefit from the course. We sometimes offer places on the basis of non-standard entry qualifications, and industrial or professional experience.

Certificate of Academic Standing (CAS)

Anyone with non-standard qualifications may need to obtain a Certificate of Academic Standing (CAS) from either the Bar Standards Board or Solicitors Regulation Authority before they enrol on the GDL. Full details of who is required to obtain this Certificate can be found on the relevant website:

Bar Standards Board

Solicitors Regulation Authority

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our UG and PG degrees. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

Foundation courses

If you need to do a foundation course to meet our course requirements please visit Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). If you’re already studying in the UK at a school or college and would like to know if we can accept your qualification please visit our foundation courses page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

For a list of our language requirements please visit our English language page.

If you need to do a pre-sessional English language course to meet the English requirements please visit our pre-sessional English course page.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our international team for advice.

How to apply

Ready to join us? Applications for this course need to go directly to the University rather than through UCAS. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying.

You must make arrangements for submission of your reference. An academic reference is preferable, but if this is difficult to obtain, a professional reference (e.g. from your employer) will be acceptable. If  you have difficulty with either of these, please contact staff at the Law School for advice. One reference is sufficient in the first instance. Please give the name of a second referee, and we will contact them if we need to.

Writing your application

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. Make sure you include as much information as possible, including uploading evidence of results already achieved, as well as a personal statement.

You will find information and advice about applying to NTU on our postgraduates’ guidance pages.

Application closing date

Please note this 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.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Decided on this course? Applications for this course need to go directly to the University rather than through UCAS. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying.

We advise you to start applying as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here you need to plan this into your application.

Applications open in the autumn of the year preceding commencement of the course in September. Applications can be made throughout the year.

Applying to NTU

For advice on how to make an application to the University, please visit our see our applying guidelines for international students. You should also check out how to write a good personal statement.

Stressing over your student visa application? Visit our visa information page now.

Application closing date

Please note this 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.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2019 entry

Study route

Home (UK/EU students)

International

Full-time (1 year)

£8,700£8,700

Distance Learning (cost per year of study)

£4,350 (for Year One*)£4,350 (for Year One*)

* Fees are payable for each year of your course and will be subject to annual increase.

Funding your studies

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

You might be able to get a scholarship to help fund your studies. We award scholarships to those students who can demonstrate excellent achievement, passion and dedication to their studies.

Please take a look at our postgraduates’ funding guide for information about sourcing grants, bursaries and scholarships, and much more.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

Fees for 2019 entry

Study route

Home (UK/EU students)

International

Full-time (1 year)

£8,700£8,700

Distance Learning (cost per year of study)

£4,350 (for Year One*)£4,350 (for Year One*)

* Fees are payable for each year of your course and will be subject to annual increase.

** VAT may be payable on these fees.

Funding your studies

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University.

For more information on these and other opportunities for funding please visit our international scholarships page.

For information on how to pay your fees to the University please visit our international fee payment page.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

Still need help?

NLS Enquiries
+44 (0)115 848 4460