Students come from leading institutions across the world and from a range of undergraduate disciplines including history, economics, English, and policy, philosophy and economics. Students often know whether they want to become a barrister or work as a solicitor when they arrive, but some students use the programme as a means to make that decision. A significant proportion of our GDL students go on to become barristers.
The City Law School’s Graduate Diploma in Law programme is nationally renowned. Since its inception in 1977, it has trained students at an extremely rigorous level, covering the seven core foundation subjects that are prerequisites for progression to professional legal training.
The programme is unique in that it introduces students to legal ethics as well as covering the core content. Students are encouraged to think about their reasons for practising law, and how they will find value in practice. The course has also been designed to be accessible and student-focused; at The City Law School we welcome students’ questions and offer significant one-to-one support.
From Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty, to Dinah Rose, the QC Barrister who helped Julian Assange fight his extradition from the UK to Sweden, our alumni set the benchmark for legal practice across the world. Our academic team is also globally renowned and includes Professor Panos Koutrakos, the Jean Monnet Professor of European Law and Joint Editor of European Law Review, and Professor Martin Dixon, Specialist in Land Law from Queens’ College Cambridge.
"The law requires intellect. Without the ability to draw fine distinctions and to persuade others that you are correctly drawing them, you cannot function as a lawyer.”
Course Director, Dr David Herling
The seven modules are prescribed by two external bodies which have jurisdiction over the course - the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board.
A degree (in any subject), of at least an upper second-class honours standard, conferred by a institution in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland or by the Council for National Academic Awards. Or, an approved degree conferred by a institution outside the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and a very good knowledge of the English language.
The rules governing admission to practise law vary from country to country. Before applying, applicants wishing to take the GDL as a step towards becoming a lawyer outside England and Wales are strongly advised to check that these courses are accepted with the appropriate body in the country in which they wish to qualify/practise.
In reaching our selection decisions we will take account of:
Applicants whose first language is not English should hold the following qualification:
Please note that due to changes in the UKVI's list of SELTs we are no longer able to accept TOEFL as evidence of English language for students who require a CAS as of April 2014.
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:
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.
The City Law School is firmly committed to a generous programme of scholarships awarded on the basis of academic excellence. Our scholarships range in value and include both partial and full fee waiver awards.
Find out about the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course from one of our former students
Tom Alkin, Alumnus and Barrister at 11 South Square said: “I’ve always been very grateful for the extremely intense but extremely effective nine months of education which you and your staff gave me. It was, quite literally, life changing.”
Placements are not a formal requirement of the programme, but gaining experience of legal practice is encouraged. If students secure a mini pupillage, (a week in chambers), we support this use of their time.
As a City Law School student you will benefit from everything City has to offer including the Learning Success department and Lawbore, an online resource designed to help you find the information you need for the course modules.
The City Law School has its own dedicated administration team and you also have access to two legal libraries, one at the Gray’s Inn campus and the other based on site at our Northampton Square campus.
Within the Gray’s Inn library you will find rooms for group study sessions and rooms for recording demo advocacy sessions.
As part of the University of London you can also become a member of Senate House Library for free with your student ID card.
We offer a free language course for City, University of London students.
The seven foundation subjects and additional legal ethics course are taught over one year by lectures and tutorials which occupy around 16 hours each week. Every week you will attend a two-hour lecture in six of the seven foundation subjects (Contract law lectures are in an online format) and a tutorial in each subject every fortnight.
In addition to The City Law School's own lecturers, you will also be taught by visiting lecturers from other prestigious institutions, including Cambridge and Oxford. There will also be time for personal study to prepare for lectures and tutorials. Instruction in the use of legal materials and in legal research methods (including use of electronic retrieval systems) is also an integral part of the course. The City Law School's award-winning Lawbore website also offers an online portal of resources from a legal link directory to a careers and alumni blog.
Formal assessment is based on written examinations held at the end of the course; formative coursework set throughout the year will help to prepare you for these examinations. You will be awarded City's Graduate Diploma in Law upon successful completion of coursework and examinations.
As a student at City, University of London you will have unlimited access to City's Careers, Student Development & Outreach service where dedicated careers advisors will provide you with tailored advice. Our strong links with the profession mean that we can bring the legal world to you.
Throughout the year we organise a variety of events, so you can build your network and meet representatives from leading solicitors’ firms and barristers’ chambers.
At The City Law School we run an annual internal mooting competition where you can act as a counsel to argue a point of law before a judge. Mooting is a great way to develop your research and analysis skills whilst also learning how to structure and present a legal argument.
Another way in which you can gain invaluable experience and develop your legal skills is to volunteer with one of our pro bono organisations. Pro bono work gives you an excellent opportunity to use your time and knowledge to offer legal advice to those who may otherwise not have access it.
In just one year, you will study the seven core foundation subjects that you would cover during a qualifying undergraduate law degree. The academic programme and examinations are of first-degree level with some elements of Masters level study, and involve work that is normally covered by undergraduates over at least 18 months. A strong emphasis is placed on developing your analytical and research skills to make sure you are fully prepared for practice.
The seven foundation subjects are taught over one year.
In addition to the foundation subjects, you take another academic law subject unique to City: Introduction to legal ethics. This subject directs your attention towards the ethical challenges which lawyers might face in practice and to the values that characterise the profession.
You will also take a 10 credit English Legal System module and a five Credit Research Requirement module.
You also have the option to convert the GDL to an LLB degree by taking further law modules.
By successfully completing this course students are qualified to progress to either of the two professional courses that all UK lawyers are required to take: the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for solicitors and the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) for barristers.
As a School we are ambitious for our students. You can progress to the LPC if you are looking to be a solicitor, or choose the BPTC if you see yourself working as a barrister. The School’s graduates are guaranteed a place on our LPC and we strongly advise you to apply for our BPTC.
Throughout the year we hold regular careers events for aspiring solicitors and barristers. At these events, you have the opportunity to network with representatives from a range of leading firms and chambers.