Our students come from leading institutions across the world and from a range of undergraduate disciplines including history, English, mathematics, science and philosophy. This course is best suited to students who are focused upon practice in the UK, either at the Bar or as solicitors. You may use your time on the programme as a means to make that choice.
An above-average proportion of our GDL students go on to become barristers, but the strong grounding in law we offer is valued by committed law students wherever they practice in the end. Our students enjoy the fact that our course is demanding. It has an emphasis upon reading case law directly and developing their skills of legal analysis, oral argument and writing.
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 you to legal ethics as well as covering the core content.
You will be encouraged to think about your reasons for practising law, and how you will find value in practice. The course has also been designed to be accessible and student-focussed; at The City Law School we welcome students’ questions and offer significant one-to-one support.
From Lord Leggatt of the Supreme Court, to Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty and Dinah Rose QC the 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.
"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, Professor Dan Wilsher
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 an institution in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland or by the Council for National Academic Awards. Or, an approved degree conferred by an 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:
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:
For more information see our main Visa page.
*Fees in each subsequent year of study (where applicable) will be subject to an annual increase of 2%. We will confirm any change to the annual tuition fee to you in writing prior to you commencing each subsequent year of study (where applicable).
As part of US Loan regulations, City is 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:
If you have already completed a course at The City Law School you will be eligible for the 10% loyalty discount. All you need to do is meet the minimum entry requirements for your second (postgraduate) course and we will automatically take 10% off of your tuition fees.
This can be received in addition to a scholarship.
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.
Prize Essay Competition
The prize essay competition is open to Graduate Diploma in Law students studying at The City Law School. A prize is offered in each of the seven foundation subjects by a set of chambers prominent in that field of practice. The sponsoring chambers select the winners.
3 Verulam Buildings
3 Verulam Buildings chambers each year awards a prize to a Graduate Diploma in Law student for the best overall performance on the course.
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.
We offer a free language course for City, University of London students.
Course timetables are normally available from July and can be accessed from our timetabling pages. These pages also provide timetables for the current academic year, though this information should be viewed as indicative and details may vary from year to year.
Please note that all academic timetables are subject to change.
We offer an extensive support network during your time here at City, University of London – from Learning Support (including disability support) and counselling to financial and career advice – leaving you free to enjoy every opportunity campus life has to offer.
Chat to our current students and read their blogs to gain an insight into studying at City and learn more about our undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
To make sure that you can begin or continue your studies with us during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have reviewed and adapted our courses to ensure a safe learning environment for our students and staff. We have modified the way some of our courses are delivered, with many programmes being made available online.
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. Materials, including module handouts and e-books: 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. Materials, including module handouts and books, for each of the modules will be available to students online.
In addition to The City Law School's own lecturers, you will also be taught by several distinguished visiting lecturers. 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 mainly upon 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 the relevant examinations in the seven core subjects, English Legal System, Legal Ethics and a research case-study.
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.
The programme specification contains more information on how the course is organised, the requirements for progression for each part and credits required for awards.
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 Vocational Studies Programmes (BVS) for barristers. The School’s graduates are guaranteed a place on our LPC and we strongly advise you to apply for the BVS.
Throughout the year we hold regular careers events for aspiring solicitors andbarristers. At these events, you have the opportunity to network with representatives from a range of leading firms and chambers.