1. Undergraduate
  2. Postgraduate
  3. Research Degrees
  4. CPD
  5. Short Courses
  6. Clearing
  1. Bar Professional Training Course
    1. 2016
    2. 2017

Bar Professional Training Course

Postgrad Diploma |
Prepare for the Bar with City’s Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and study in London’s prime legal location.

Key Information

Start date

September 2016


Full-time: One year
Part-time: Two years


Full-time: £18,000

Part-time: £9,000 per year


Full-time: £18,000

Part-time: £9,000 per year

Who is it for?

The BPTC is designed for aspiring barristers. It attracts students from around the world and from all parts of the UK. Students will have already completed a qualifying law degree or a non-law degree plus a Graduate Diploma in Law.

From recent graduates to doctors and front bench opposition MPs, the programme caters both for those who have always been dedicated to a professional legal career as well as people seeking a career change, and those who are able to make use of the training together with a professional legal qualification in business, management or administration.

In particular, the course is designed for students who want to develop their skills as advocates, and those who want to research and apply the law to help clients in presenting legal cases in court. Bar students often have a deep commitment to helping those who need assistance in protecting their legal rights.

Essentially we want students to be able to act as professionals, trusting in their own judgement, and able to provide convincing arguments in support of their case to a court, a client or a solicitor.”

Professor Stuart Sime


The Bar Professional Training Course is a rigorous programme designed to reflect the modern working Bar. We replicate life in chambers, so you learn how to represent a range of clients and to prepare for the demands of court.

Studying at Gray's Inn Place, in the heart of legal London, City Law School students achieve impressive academic success. In 2015 our students represented half of the national BPTC cohort achieving a grade of ‘outstanding’* – the most prominent indicator of success in securing future pupillage.

* Bar Standards Board BPTC Key Statistics report 2016

The programme is taught by a team of professionally-qualified experts who are the authors of the BPTC manuals  in use across the country. Internationally renowned and highly skills focused, City’s BPTC provides a bridge between academic legal study and professional practice and covers three essential areas:

  1. Advocacy
  2. Written and oral advisory skills
  3. Drafting skills.

Underpinning all of these areas is a foundation of analysis and legal research, combined with the need to set priorities and organise your work in order to meet deadlines.


Bar Standards Board logo

City’s BPTC is accredited by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). The BSB sets out the education and training requirements for becoming a barrister, which means once you graduate, and provided you complete the Inns qualifying sessions, you are qualified for Call to the Bar.

Requirements and how to apply

Entry requirements

The BPTC is a postgraduate course with basic entry requirements prescribed by the Bar Standards Board. Most applicants should have a UK honours degree in law, normally with a minimum standard upper Second Class. However, it is possible to apply with a degree in another subject and a further qualification in law, such as the Common Professional Examination, the Graduate Diploma in Law, or the Graduate Entry LLB. The Bar Standards Board can advise on non-standard qualifications.

Additional requirements laid down by the professional regulator are:

  • Lower second class honours degree
  • Online application for the BPTC by mid-January 2016
  • Passing the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)
  • Applying for membership of one of the four Inns of Court by the last working day of May 2016 (you can check with your chosen Inn to confirm this)

Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)

The Bar Course Aptitude Test is intended to ensure that students on the BPTC have the required skills to succeed. It is therefore taken before the BPTC, and is a pre-condition to starting the BPTC.

It is administered by the Bar Standards Board and must by passed to start the BPTC in September 2016. The test will open in April 2016, the closing date has not yet been confirmed.

For further details and to sign-up for the BCAT, please visit the Bar Standards Board Bar Course Aptitude Test.

Inn membership

Applicants to the BPTC must also apply for membership of one of the four Inns of Court by the last working day of May 2016. The Inns of Court have well-established scholarship schemes, with closing dates on the first Friday in November 2015.

How do we make our decision?

In reaching selection decisions we will take account of the following:

  • Degree performance (actual or predicted)
  • Evidence of intellectual ability
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Advocacy and public speaking
  • Personal organisational skills
  • Your references

English requirements

One of the entry requirements for the BPTC is that students are fluent in English. Applicants need to be able to demonstrate that their oral and written English ability is equivalent to one of the following:

  • IELTS: A minimum score of 7.5 in each section of the test
  • Pearson Test of English: A minimum score of 73 in each part of the test.

Due to changes in the UKVI 's list of SELT s we are no longer able to accept TOEFLas evidence of English language for students who require a CAS as of April 2014.

Visa requirements

If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.

The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course. There are different rules for:

  • Students on courses of more than six months
  • Students on courses of less than six months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English language course.

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you cannot undertake any City courses on a part-time basis.

For more information see our main Visa page.

How to apply

Applicants for both the full-time and part-time course must apply online at the Bar Student Application Service.

All BPTC applicants must also join one of the four Inns of Court before joining the course of their choice. To ensure that you are aware of when the membership application deadlines are please read our Inns Membership Notes (doc).

Gray's Inn Place
Learn in the heart of legal London.
The City Law School has been training barristers for 164 years.
56 City Law School students achieved the top BPTC grade in 2014-15, three times more than the provider in second place.


Explore up-to-date information about funding options, available financial support and typical living costs.

More about funding

Please note that part-time fees are per year.

What your fee includes

Full-time and part-time fees are inclusive of:

  • Course deposit
  • Bar Standards Board fee
  • Textbooks, including: Practitioner books in Civil Practice and Criminal Practice, The City Law School BPTC Manuals (published by OUP as the "bar series") and Textbooks in Civil Procedure, Evidence and Alternative Dispute Resolution.


Future Finance

Future Finance offers students loans of between £2,500 and £40,000 to help cover tuition fees and living expenses. All students and courses are considered. All loans are subject to credit checks and approval for further details please visit


We offer more dedicated scholarships for Bar Professional Training Course students than any other provider. Our range of scholarships, prizes and gifts are there to make things just that little bit easier for you.

We offer a range of partial fee scholarships (£5,000 fee waivers) and full fee scholarships for the BPTC. There are no fixed number of scholarships for the BPTC but the Law School offers up to 100 partial fee scholarships and up to ten full fee scholarships across the postgraduate courses we offer.

Future Lawyer Advancement Reward - 10% off your fees

Once you have studied at City we are sure you will want to stay with us to progress to the next stage of your legal training.

As an added incentive, we offer City students a loyalty reward upon enrolling on a second course here at the School (Taught LLMs, PhD/MPhil).

All you need to do is meet the minimum entry requirements for your second course and we will automatically take 10% off of your tuition fees.

The Rosie Keane Memorial Scholarships

The two Rosie Keane Memorial Scholarships are worth £5,000 each. The scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement, educational background, contribution to the wider community, financial need and being the first lawyer in the family. They are only open to female students.


If you choose to study at City we'll award you for your hard work. Each year we award a variety of School and externally funded prizes of up to £2,500 to our BPTC students based on academic performance.

Find out more about all of our Scholarships and Prizes.

Inn Scholarships

Each Inn offers and administers its own scholarships for intending barristers. Full details of these awards can be found on the website of each Inn:

Disclosure for US students

As part of US Loan regulations, City are required to give Gainful Employment disclosures as part of our contract with the US Department of Education. Please refer to the following document for more information:

From the Course Director

Professor Stuart Sime is the Course Director of the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at The City Law School.

Academic facilities

Library and Information Services

We are one of a few Universities in the country to have two law libraries: one at our Gray's Inn Campus and one our Northampton Square campus. A dedicated team of professional staff, qualified in law librarianship and trained in legal research are available at both campuses to assist you with sourcing legal materials, researching the law and answering your queries.


The City Law School has its own legal resource portal - Lawbore. This portal gives you quick and easy access to the latest research materials, legislative updates, library services and study news.

Learn a language for free

We offer a free language course for City, University of London students.

Find out how to apply

Teaching and learning

The course is designed to replicate the demands and discipline of life in chambers with an emphasis on learning by doing.

Teaching is delivered in the following ways:

  • Advocacy is taught in a courtroom setting in groups of six and one-to-one
  • Small group sessions are held in groups of twelve
  • Interactive large group sessions are also held frequently

Our unique training programme is written and developed in consultation with practitioners to ensure that it meets the needs of the modern-day Bar. You will use a number of sets of instructions and briefs based on realistic cases.

You are taught by professionally-qualified experts who bring a range of experience and specialist knowledge to the course. Our teaching staff are directly involved in practice and a number of staff sit, or have sat, in a part-time judicial capacity and maintain door tenancies.

As the founding provider of the BPTC (formerly BVC), our bar team at Gray's Inn lead the market in assessing and developing the way in which future barristers are trained. Working closely with the Oxford University Press (OUP) our academics, including BPTC Course Director Stuart Sime, even write the text books that are used by most providers in teaching the Bar Professional Training Course.

Find out more about the texts written by our BPTC staff.


Advocacy is a key subject on the BPTC at City. We can offer you:

  • Three times the amount of advocacy training as required by the BSB
  • Advocacy training that follows the system used in the training of pupils and junior barristers by the Inns' Advocacy Training Committee (ATC)
  • Opportunity to participate in full mock Civil and Criminal trials
  • One-to-one advice on how to improve at various points in the year
  • Regular feedback in your advocacy classes of six.


We believe feedback is central to your professional and personal development. Each member of staff is fully trained in providing effective feedback and throughout the course you are encouraged to assess your own development as well as that of your peers. Regular practice with fellow students and the feedback you are given ensures that you develop your skills to their full potential.

To make sure that our feedback is useful to you:

  • The criteria for all skills areas are highlighted for students in the introductory stages
  • All skills-based small group sessions focus on key aspects of the relevant skill
  • Feedback is aimed at improving your performance, and is based on the assessment criteria.

Training materials

You will receive free copies of the main textbooks used on the course. These include:

  • Practitioner books in Civil Practice and Criminal Practice
  • The City Law School BPTC Manuals (published by OUP as the "bar series")
  • Textbooks in Civil Procedure, Evidence and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Online learning

Our online learning environment, Moodle, gives you instant access to course materials and communication tools from any computer, at any time. It enables you to:

  • Further your legal knowledge and study by accessing your course and lecture notes, revision aids, tests and assessments
  • Connect and communicate with your lecturers online through video collaboration tools and tutorial bookings
  • Share and work online with your fellow students and peers
  • Listen to podcasts
  • View and participate in online interactive lectures
  • Book places online for social, educational and mooting events
  • View audio visual recorded lectures.

We also provide a module on Moodle called Epigeum: Research Skills Online. This offers invaluable online training in research skills.

Pro Bono

We place a strong emphasis on the individual professional development of every one of our students and offer you numerous opportunities to participate in "live client" work through our Pro Bono Programme.

Our Pro Bono Programme gives you the opportunity to interview and provide written advice to a range of clients. Over the past decade, the programme has grown to include an ever increasing number of partnership programmes at local, national and international level. We encourage you to take an active role in running these projects and in the development of both new and existing projects.

Our partnerships include:

  • Amnesty International Letter Writing Clinic
  • Blackfriars Settlement Clinic
  • Free Representation Unit (FRU)
  • Golden Lane Legal Advice Clinic
  • Islington People's Rights
  • Liberty Letter Writing Clinic
  • London Innocence Project
  • National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV)
  • McKenzie Friends
  • Street Law.


Mooting is a key part of studying at The City Law School and we believe it's one of the quickest and most effective ways for students to develop the skills they need to be successful lawyers. Mooting helps you to gain important legal skills, such as research and analysis, whilst also gaining experience of public speaking and argument.

We run several annual City Law School mooting competitions where you can act as counsel to argue a point of law before a senior practising judge. Our students also regularly participate in a variety of external national and international mooting competitions.


There are eight skills assessments and four multiple choice/short answer question tests. The assessments are a combination of 'unseen' and 'take away' papers. Skills assessments are based on realistic exercises reproducing the demands of practice and reflecting the work done on the course.

Advocacy and conference assessments are recorded with actors playing the role of client and/or witness. Written skills assessments require you to write an opinion or prepare a piece of drafting.

Multiple choice tests/short answer questions will also be used to assess your competence level in Criminal Litigation, Sentencing and Evidence; Civil Litigation, Civil Evidence and Remedies; ADR; and Professional Ethics.


The City BPTC consists of 11 core subjects and two option subjects from a choice of 11. The course has been developed to deliver the relevant legal skills and knowledge that all newly-qualified barristers need, along with the detailed knowledge required for your chosen specialist areas/subjects. Three of the option subjects (FRU, Domestic Violence and Social Security) are Pro Bono based, which gives you the opportunity to get real life experience as part of your course.

Core subjects

  • Advocacy Cross Examination (10 credits)
  • Advocacy Examination in Chief (10 credits)
  • Advocacy Addressing the Court (10 credits)
  • Civil Litigation, Evidence & Remedies 12 credits)
  • Conference Skills (six credits)
  • Criminal Litigation, Evidence & Sentencing (12 credits)
  • Resolution of Disputes out of Court (ADR) (six credits)
  • Drafting Skills (12 credits)
  • Professional Ethics (six credits)
  • Opinion Writing Skills (12 credits)

Other important areas covered within the context of the main subjects:

  • Costs
  • Human rights
  • Risk analysis.

Option subjects include:

You will choose two of the below elective modules:
  • Advanced Criminal Litigation (12 credits)
  • Commercial Law (12 credits)
  • Company Law (12 credits)
  • Domestic Violence (12 credits)
  • Employment Law (12 credits)
  • Family Law (12 credits)
  • Fraud & Financial Crime (12 credits)
  • Free Representation Unit (12 credits)
  • Landlord & Tenant (12 credits)
  • Professional Negligence (12 credits)
  • Social Security (12 credits)

The range of options offered in any one year is subject to availability and demand, but we usually run all 11 options. The same range of options is offered to part-time BPTC students as to full-time ones, but subject to demand, some may only be delivered during the day.

Timetable information

Full-time timetable

  • Three days teaching each week (12-14 hours class contact time)
  • Two days for preparation, professional development and research each week
  • A recommended twenty-plus hours of private study and preparation work each week.

Part-time BPTC timetable

  • Delivered over two years
  • Teaching takes place on Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday evenings depending on the year in which you start the course
  • Classes are usually from 6.00pm - 9.00pm (three hours)
  • 10 hours of private study a week during term time and further periods during vacations preparing
  • Some daytime attendance will be required for assessments (notice will be given to you in advance)
  • Teaching and assessments are divided over the two years to produce a balanced programme.

As with the full-time route, attendance at all classes is mandatory and is a requirement of the Bar Standards Board. Final term dates will be set prior to the start of each year.

Do consider the effects this effort will have on your time and energy before embarking on the course as gaining a professional qualification requires considerable commitment.

Recommended reading

You are advised to refresh your knowledge of crime, contract and tort and the essentials of land law. In addition we advise you to read a book on evidence in advance of registration because it is one of the most technical aspects of the course.

  • Student
    Working with pro bono allowed me to use the drafting skills that I am learning on the BPTC, with real-life clients as opposed to hypothetical cases.
  • Academic expert
    Professor of Law working in the The City Law School.

Career prospects

On successful completion of the course you will receive the City, University of London Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Skills, which is required in order for you to be called to the Bar and to take your first steps into practice.

We have a strong success rate of our BPTC students gaining pupillage year upon year. As soon as you accept your place on the City BPTC you can get individual guidance from our dedicated Pupillage Advisory Service to give you the best possible chance of entering the bar. The service offers tailored advice about:

  • building links with the profession
  • applying for mini-pupillages
  • completing pupillage applications
  • preparing for interviews (including offering mock interviews)
  • getting ready for pupillage.

If you decide the Bar isn't for you, you can receive expert advice about your chosen career from your personal tutor and City's Career and Skills Development Service. The service can provide support for interviews, mock interviews and job searching techniques.

100% of graduates in employment or further study six months after completing the course

Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2014-15

Applicants for both the full-time and part-time course must apply online at the Bar Student Application Service.

All BPTC applicants must also join one of the four Inns of Court before joining the course of their choice. To ensure that you are aware of when the membership application deadlines are please read our Inns Membership Notes (doc).

Contact details

Request a prospectus

Find out more about City and all our postgraduate degree programmes.

Get your prospectus

Find us

City, University of London

Northampton Square

London EC1V 0HB

United Kingdom

Back to top

City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.