School of Law, Criminology and Government

GradDip Law

Are you aiming to be a solicitor or barrister but don’t have a law degree? Take our fast-track route for non-law graduates or those with older law degrees. This intensive postgraduate conversion programme is designed to get you up to speed with the essential knowledge and skills of academic law so you can advance your studies and begin your career in the legal profession.

You will meet practising lawyers during the early stages of the course through Plymouth Law School’s established connections with the solicitors profession and the Bar in Devon and Cornwall. You’ll have the opportunity to gain valuable experience with clients, employers and agencies through our well-established Law Clinic.

Key features

  • Meet practising lawyers during the early stages of the course through Plymouth Law School’s established connections with the solicitors profession and the Bar in Devon and Cornwall.
  • Learn your practice while making a difference to real clients with work experience placements supported by our well-connected Law Clinic
  • Benefit from working with a faculty of highly qualified law and criminal justice staff who provide a great mix of research-informed and practice-led teaching. 
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the key foundation areas of law (public law, EU law, law of contract, law of tort, criminal law, land law and equity and trusts), and in an additional area of law of your choosing.
  • Get to grips with the workings of the English legal system.
  • Gain the key skills needed to become a lawyer, such as legal research, problem solving and critical judgement.
  • Acquire the ability to construct and present an argument using legal materials, and be able to evaluate the merits of multiple perspectives.
  • Take part in a range of competitions and social activities as a member of our highly successful, student-run Student Law Society. You’ll get the opportunity to network with high-profile guest speakers and prospective employers.
  • Deepen your understanding and insight through a sophisticated array of online resources.
  • Learn valuable transferable skills. Potential employers will value your maturity, high level of motivation, expertise in another discipline and, in some cases, successful work experience.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • This intensive programme lasts 36 weeks and qualifies you to go on to take either the Legal Practice Course (to train to become a solicitor) or the Bar Vocational Course (to train to become a barrister/ being called to the Bar).

    While the legal authorities prescribe the taught modules you’ll study, your knowledge of other areas will allow you to bring a fresh perspective to the final research project you’ll undertake in terms two and three. This can be in an area of your choice and must be based outside the foundation subjects.

    Assessment is by a mix of coursework (essays and problem-based case study analysis) and examination in all of the foundation subjects, except EU Law which is assessed by examination only. Before starting the course you’ll study the English Legal System Foundation Course (10 credits – level 1). 

    Core modules
    • LAW1101 Introduction to Law and Practice

      This module provides GDL students with an introduction to the English Legal System, together with legal skills and professional ethics.

    • LAW3114 Public Law

      This module covers the framework of the British constitutional system and its principal institutions. It deals with the relationships between the individual and the state and between the various organs of the state, particularly the executive and the courts. This module fulfils the requirements of the legal professional bodies.

    • LAW3115 Contract Law

      An examination of the law of contract including agreement, intention, consideration, capacity and the doctrine of privity; the nature and relative significance of contractual terms; the effects of vitiating factors on contractual validity; discharge of contract; and remedies for breach. The module fulfils the contract law professional requirements of the Joint Academic Stage Board.

    • LAW3116 Land Law

      An in-depth examination of the law relating to the ownership of estates and interests in land and the systems of registered and unregistered land. It fulfils the property law professional requirements of the Law Society and Bar Council.

    • LAW3117 Criminal law

      An examination of the principles and concepts of criminal law and an in-depth examination of modes of participation, selected offences and defences. This module fulfils the criminal law professional requirements of the Joint Academic Stage Board.

    • LAW3118 Law of Tort

      A module examining the principles and concepts of the tort law with in-depth examination of principles involved in a number of selected torts. This module fulfils the tort law professional requirements of the Joint Academic Stage Board.

    • LAW3119 Law of the European Union

      This module focuses on the law of the European Union. There will be emphasis on the means of enforcing EU Law and substantive legal areas such as the free movement of persons and goods and competition law. This module fulfils the professional requirements of the Law Society and Bar Council.

    • LAW3120 Equity and Trusts

      The module examines the principles of equity and the law relating to trusts. It covers private and charitable trusts, as well as the fiduciary nature of trusteeship and remedies for breach of trust (including tracing, and actions against third parties). The module fulfils the equity and trusts professional requirements of the Joint Academic Stage Board.

    • LAW3121 Legal Research Project

      This module satisfies the requirement of the professional bodies for GDL students to study an eighth area of law beyond those foundations, by completing a Legal Research Project on a topic of their own choice.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

Graduate Diploma in Law 16 17 3237

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

You must have at least a Second Class Honours degree or equivalent from a UK (or Irish) university or a Certificate of Academic Standing issued by the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Bar Council. The degree will normally be in a subject other than law, although the programme is also suited to you if you have studied law but not obtained a qualifying law degree, or if your qualifying law degree is out of date.

If you don’t have an English Language qualification and obtain a Certificate of Academic Standing, you’ll be required to achieve an overall IELTS score of 6.5 (with a minimum of of 5.5 in listening, reading, speaking and writing).

English language requirements

Exemptions

If you’ve studied law before it’s possible that you may be entitled to exemption from part or all of the GDL, but still be able to complete the academic stage of training as far as the Solicitors Regulation Authority or Bar Council are concerned. If you’ve studied four or more foundations of legal knowledge in recent years it’s worth contacting the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Bar Council to discuss exemptions. They make decisions on any exemptions but we’d be happy to offer advice and assistance in the process of seeking exemption. Exemptions must be obtained and confirmed before commencing the GDL.

Find all of the important documentation you'll need when applying for this programme.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £5,000 To be confirmed
International £11,000 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) £300 To be confirmed
Part time (International) Check with School To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

How to apply

As this programme is part of the clearing house system administered by the Central Applications Board (CAB), you’ll need to submit your application directly to the board. You can apply to this programme online via the Central Applications Board website or request an application form by writing to:

Graduate Diploma in Law

Central Applications Board,

PO Box 84,

Guildford, Surrey,

GU3 1YX

Please remember to mark ‘Plymouth’ as your preference on the application form.

Master Your Future – Faculty of Business Professoriate Scholarships

The Faculty of Business Professoriate Scholarships of £1,000 are awarded to selected students undertaking postgraduate study each year.

The opportunity to apply for a professoriate scholarship is available to applicants currently in receipt of an offer for postgraduate study.

Find out more and how to apply

Join our postgraduate student community

Postgraduate study in the Faculty of Business can help you realise your ambitions and develop your potential as a manager and leader of the future. Whether you come to us as a newly qualified graduate or after a successful track record in industry we provide high quality, professionally accredited postgraduate programmes, and PhD and professional doctorate supervision.  

Find out more in the essential guide to everything you need to know about life as a student at Plymouth University

Student success stories

As well as benefitting from excellent teaching and unrivalled opportunities to learn in the workplace, becoming a Plymouth law student also means you can join one of the most active societies of its kind in the country.

Find out more about the Plymouth Student Law Society

Student insight – John Pain

There’s a real feeling that the staff want to see their students reach their potential. The more you put in the more you get out, and I found that most lecturers were more than happy to match your effort and enthusiasm.

John Pain, GradDip Law and Legal Practice Course graduate

Learn more about John's experience of Plymouth University

Our student network is your business network for the future

It’s our students that make us different. Prepare to join a very active community of engaged students. In partnership with our people they are the driving force behind Plymouth University’s internationally recognised focus on social enterprise and sustainability, as well as one of the best students' unions in the UK.

Be part of it now, find out more about the Faculty of Business.

Careers

Do you see yourself working as a barrister or taking your legal skills into the business sector? Whatever your chosen path, we’ll work closely with you throughout your degree to help you set your career off in the right direction.

Find out more about career opportunities

Harry Perrin – Graduate Diploma in Law graduate

I found the lecturers very approachable, and keen to help the students do as well as they can: they are really in your corner.
Read Harry's profile

Alice Carter-Tyler: Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice

As well as providing me with the essential legal qualifications that I needed I was able to take part in plenty of key skill-building societies such as debating and negotiating.
Learn more about Alice

Student insight – Luke Fisher

I’d highly recommend the course to anyone interested in changing their career path. I now work at Woollcombe Yonge Law Firm as a Trainee Solicitor, where I’m able to constantly apply the knowledge and skills I gained in a real-life legal environment.

Luke Fisher, GradDip Law and Legal Practice Course graduate

People