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The award
Graduate Diploma

How long you will study
2 years

Domestic course fees
GBP 9250 per year

How you will study

Course starts

International course fees
find out

All study options

About Law at Nottingham Trent University

For non-Law graduates interested in becoming a solicitor or barrister, this course is the stepping stone to the LLM Legal Practice Course or LLM Bar Professional Training Course and your legal career. This flexible, distance-learning course lets you combine study with work and other commitments. Extensive support and 24-hour access to learning resources ensure that you achieve your full potential.

About the course

This is a two-year conversion course designed for non-Law graduates intending to become solicitors or barristers in the UK, or wishing to enhance their career prospects with a legal qualification. The intensive course covers the seven core academic subjects of an undergraduate law degree. It enables progression to the LLM Legal Practice Course (LLM LPC), or the LLM Bar Professional Training Course (LLM BPTC), and a legal career thereafter. This course is also available on a full-time basis. Overseas students should note that the GDL is usually only recognised as a qualifying Law course within the UK.

Why choose this course?

  • You have the flexibility to study around work and family commitments.
  • There's comprehensive support available that has been highly valued by past students.
  • Students who successfully complete this course are guaranteed a place on Nottingham Law School's excellent-rated LLM Legal Practice Course (LLM LPC). You can also apply for our acclaimed LLM Bar Professional Training Course (LLM BPTC). We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible to avoid disappointment. These courses can reach maximum capacity prior to the course start date.
  • Scholarships are available.

How you're taught

  • Lectures

Distance learners are provided with all the online materials they will require to assist their study.

  • Tutorials

Tutorial contact takes place at all four weekend schools, attendance at which is compulsory. The emphasis on small group work (and sub-group work) enables us to offer a student-centred approach to learning, with exercises designed to encourage student activity rather than passive listening. Students get the benefits of individual tuition and those of group support.

  • Coursework

There is continuous assessment by course work which tests the ability of students to analyse, research and persuade, as well as reinforcing the understanding of topics. The coursework element of the seven core modules accounts for 21% of the mark for each subject. The research project in Year Two accounts for 9% of the overall mark.

  • End-of-year exams, testing individual subjects:

70% of the mark of each of the seven taught modules.

  • Oral skills

Lawyers obviously need good debating and mooting skills. These are required informally throughout the course in tutorials.


Each subject is assessed individually, by coursework in three subjects (throughout the year) and an exam (at the end of the year).

Resources and facilities

Attendance is compulsory at the four residential weekends per year. Teaching is normally held at the City site of Nottingham Trent University and utilises all the facilities available to full-time students, including a well-stocked library with electronic access.


Students who have previously studied Law may be eligible for exemptions, and direct entry to Year Two of the distance learning course. In this situation enquirers should contact the Solicitors' Regulation Authority or Bar Standards Board for clarification.

Course dates 2018/19

Course dates for 2018 entry to be confirmed.

Careers and employability

Your future career

Although a career in the law is potentially very rewarding, you should be under no illusions that the current market is anything other than highly competitive. However, some firms will prefer you to be a non-Law undergraduate because of your broader knowledge base from previous studies or qualifications; your maturity and commitment; and your practical, relevant, well-rounded legal knowledge gained by studying the core subjects in context on the GDL.

As most city and larger provincial firms recruit two years in advance, it is worth writing to them now in order to see if they will offer you a work placement or an interview. Some will pay your fees if they offer you a training contract. Obtaining some form of work experience is important in showing your interest to potential employers and for finding out what a career in law is really like.

Nottingham Law School has a specialist Careers Service which is available to GDL, LPC, and BPTC students. Careers talks will be given at weekends in the UK. All enrolled students will have access to careers information via their Virtual Learning Portal.

This course does not currently offer placements, but there are opportunities to gain work experience through involvement in pro bono projects in our Legal Advice Centre.

Learn a new language

Alongside your study you also have the opportunity to learn a new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have.

Learning a new language can:

  • enhance your communication skills
  • enrich your experience when travelling abroad
  • boost your career prospects.

Find out more about the University Language Programme (ULP).

Study options for this course

Entry requirements

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our UG and PG degrees. If you're not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

Foundation courses

If you need to do a foundation course to meet our course requirements please visit Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). If you're already studying in the UK at a school or college and would like to know if we can accept your qualification please visit our foundation courses page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

For a list of our language requirements please visit our English language page.

If you need to do a pre-sessional English language course to meet the English requirements please visit our pre-sessional English course page.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our international team for advice.

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