Graduate Diploma in Law

Cardiff University
1 year
Full time
Graduate diploma / certificate
Scholarships available

About this program

Graduate Diploma in Law

If you are thinking of qualifying as a lawyer in England and Wales, this course enables you to,

  • study the structure and doctrines of the legal system in England and Wales and
  • the seven core (foundation) subjects of a law degree: contract law, criminal law, equity & trusts law, EU law, land law, public law and tort law.

The GDL allows you to study these intensively over one year, instead of the three years usually required for a Law degree.

If you are thinking of qualifying as a barrister, the GDL gives you the academic modules you will need to pass before progressing to a Bar Training Course (BTC). We also offera BTC course.

If you are thinking of qualifying as a solicitor, the GDL gives you the academic knowledge of legal principles and their application you will need as part of your preparation for the new centrally assessed Solicitors Qualifying Examination (“SQE”), introduced from September 2021.

Please see the ‘Career Prospects’ section of this entry for further information on the options available to you following completion of the GDL.

Admission requirements

This is a conversion course. Conversion courses allow you to study a subject unrelated to your undergraduate degree or current career, and support you with a change of career path. No prior knowledge or degree in the subject is required.

Applications for this course must be made via theCentral Applications Board (“CAB”) website.

The usual academic requirement in an Honours degree from a UK university in a non-law subject, Class 2.2 or above. Applicants from overseas or with non-standard qualifications must apply for a Certificate of Academic Standing from the Bar Standards Board (if you are planning on qualifying as a barrister).Subject to those, the following criteria will be taken into account:

  • academic record
  • the applicant’s personal statement
  • reference from the applicant’s referee
  • degree of commitment to the legal profession (shown, for example, by placements with solicitors’ firms or equivalent experience)
  • general work experience
  • reasons for wanting to study the GDLat Cardiff
  • date on which the application is received by Cardiff University
  • order of preference of institution and
  • any special personal reasons affecting ability to study elsewhere.

English Language Requirements:

IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with 6.5 in writing and no less than 6.0 in all other subscores, or an acceptable equivalent.

For more information about admission requirements, please check the university website.

Does this course require proof of English proficiency?

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Program content

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2022/23 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2022.

Core modules for year one

  • English and Welsh Legal System
  • Extended Essay
  • Criminal Law
  • Equity and Trusts
  • EU Law
  • Land Law
  • Public Law
  • Tort
  • Contract

Scholarships & funding

For more information about scholarships, please visit the university website.


  • Tuition fees for UK: £10,950 per year.
  • Tuition fees for International Students: £19,450 per year

For more information about tuition fee, please visit the university website.


What skills will I practise and develop?

You will develop your ability to undertake independent learning and also your team-working skills.Communication skills are developed in tutorials, where pre-allocated tasks can include individual contributions to group study, for example by summarising a particular judgment or article for the group.Legal studies in general develop the ability to organise facts and ideas in a systematic way, identifying relevant principles and evaluating these in order to formulate advice for a client or a legal argument as appropriate.Writing legal essays not only develops communication skills but also the ability to argue in an objective, reasoned, professional manner, with due regard to authority and acceptable citation methods.

  • Outside the curriculum you will have the opportunity to develop wider “employability” skills through participation in the School’s pro-bono schemes run with lawyers and partner organisations, in which student volunteers assist real people in their dealings with the law.
  • Other activities within the School include mooting, negotiating and client interviewing competitions.

Career paths

Completion of the GDL allows you to progress to the current professional stage of legal training, either the Bar Training Course (BTC)* or the Legal Practice Course, either of which may be studied at the School of Law and Politics.

To become fully qualified under the current system, completion of the BTC or LPC then needs to be followed by a period of work-based learning, either pupillage in a barristers’ chambers or a training contract with a solicitors’ firm.Alternatively, the GDL or one of the professional courses may be directly followed by legal work in some other capacity, with the option of seeking full qualification at a later date.

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About this institute

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is among the top 25 universities in the UK and is ranked 154th in the world. Founded in 1883, Cardiff University combines a prestigious heritage with impressive modern facilities, on one of the most beautiful campuses in the UK....

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Contact info

Cardiff University

CF10 3AT Cardiff

Phone no: +442920874432

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