Students come from leading universities 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 ofEuropean 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 university in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland or by the Council for National Academic Awards. Or, an approved degree conferred by a university 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 with the appropriate body in the country in which they wish to qualify/practise that these courses are accepted.
In reaching our selection decisions we will take account of:
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.
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.”
As a City Law School student you will benefit from everything the University 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 London students.
The seven foundation subjects are taught over one year by lectures and tutorials which occupy around 18 hours each week. Every week you will attend a two-hour lecture in six of the seven foundation subjects (Contract 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 universities, 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, including The City Law School's award-winning Lawbore
Our strong links with the profession means that we can bring the world of law to you. Throughout the year we organise a variety of events, which give you access to representatives from leading solicitors firms and chambers.
Mooting is a great way to develop important legal skills such as research and analysis whilst also learning how to structure a legal argument. At The City Law School we run an annual internal mooting competition where students act as a counsel to argue a point of law before a judge.
Pro Bono is an opportunity to use your time and knowledge to provide legal advice to those who may otherwise not have access to such services. It provides you with invaluable experience and a chance to develop your legal skills further. At The City Law School you will have the opportunity to volunteer to work with one of our Pro Bono volunteering organisations that needs legal assistance.
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 and will involve work that is normally studied by undergraduates over at least 18 months. A strong emphasis is placed on growing your analytical and research skills to ensure you are fully prepared for practice.
The GDL allows you to cover the core material of an undergraduate law degree, together with some postgraduate level study, in one year. We place a strong emphasis on growing analytical and research skills to ensure graduates are fully prepared for practice.
The foundation subjects studied are:
You will also take a 10 credit English Legal System module and a five Credit Research Requirement module.