Commonly Asked Questions:

What’s it like to study law?

Studying law is both challenging and inspiring. While the demands of legal study are high, so too can be the rewards.  At Swansea you will be encouraged to develop vital intellectual skills which will motivate you to ‘think like a lawyer’ and you will find that your studies will enable you to expand your intellectual skills in the context of a discipline which touches upon every aspect of human endeavour. As your legal studies progress, you’ll notice a marked improvement in your ability to manage large amounts of materials, to express yourself in an organised and convincing manner, both in writing and orally, and to evaluate the strength of arguments you encounter. Not only will this give you a sense of personal satisfaction, but you will also acquire skills which are highly relevant to securing employment in a range of career options attracting competitive salaries.

What is a GDL?

The GDL (sometimes known as a ‘CPE’) is a 36-week, intensive, fast-track course which satisfies the academic requirements necessary to qualify as a solicitor, barrister or legal executive. It’s also relevant to those wishing to take up a career where legal knowledge is advantageous, such as business management, the probation service, forensic psychology, trading standards, politics, education, human resource management, public relations, journalism, publishing, the media, commerce, retail and more. (A recent Times article suggested that there are as many as 101 uses for such a qualification!)

Is the GDL widely recognised qualification?

Definitely! It’s recognised as the equivalent of a law degree (LLB) by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Bar, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and other professional bodies, such as those in the fields of management, finance and public administration. (The qualification has become so popular with employers that those with a GDL now make up around 50% of all new lawyers).

What does the course involve?

The GDL comprises 36-weeks of full-time, intensive study, with an average of 16 hours face -to- face class-contact per week. The course is demanding in terms of private study, requiring a mature and self-motivated approach to learning.  (Its intensive nature is probably one of the main reasons that those who successfully complete it are sought after by employers!)

How is the course structured?

  • August: Completion of pre-directed reading (no attendance required).
  • September: Compulsory induction period: lectures and seminars on the English Legal System, the acquisition of legal skills and European Law. 
  • October to May: Lectures and seminars in the remaining foundation subjects, that is Contract, Crime, Public, Trusts, Land and Tort. Alongside lectures, students also complete a supervised legal research project.

How is the course assessed?

The Swansea GDL employs a wide range of assessment methods, including coursework, mini-dissertation, multiple choice test and 3-hour, unseen examinations. The pass mark for all assessed work is 40%. (During their studies, students’ are encouraged to develop their assessment skills through seminars and through the use of formative assessment, with emphasis placed on the provision of individual feedback by our experienced staff.)

What are the entry qualifications?

The professional bodies set the entry requirements. Applicants must EITHER have

  • An undergraduate degree awarded by a recognised, OR
  • Must be able to satisfy the professional bodies that they have appropriate alternative qualifications or experience        

    Prospective students whose first language is not English may also be required to demonstrate their language proficiency by achieving IELTS Level 6. For more information on this visit

What are the fees?

Annual tuition fees for entry in the academic year 2016/17 are as follows:

UK/EU students: £6,350

International students: £10,700

Swansea University's College of Law and Criminology is currently offering a range of scholarships/discounted fees on the standard 2016/17 rates for full-time GDL applicants meeting certain eligibility criteria.

For further information on scholarships please visit:

Key Information

We offer the opportunity of payment by instalment. While payment of your deposit will be off-set against the total course fees, the remaining balance can be paid in 4 equal instalments.

Further, students who demonstrate a commitment to continuing their legal studies at Swansea by completing the Legal Practice Course (LPC) within the College of Law and Criminology will also benefit from a reduced, combined fee. (For further information on the Swansea LPC, visit the LPC website or contact the LPC Admissions Tutor, Ms Michaela Leyshon at

How can I fund the course?

Most students are self-funding. For further information on funding opportunities consider visiting:  

Details of scholarships and awards from The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn can be accessed at 

(Please note that ‘CPE’ is  the same as ‘GDL’) 

Your local reference library may also provide directories on postgraduate funding. Subscription to the Times Higher Education Supplement's database of funding opportunities may also be helpful.

How do I apply?

Applications should be made on-line through the Central Applications Board (CAB at Applications for September 2016 presentations of the programme are now being accepted.

How can I find out more?

  1. Attend an Open Day: Swansea University has a number of Postgraduate Open Days which normally include a visit to the College of Law
    To book your place visit
  2. Independent visits: can also be arranged. For more information, visit or contact the Programme Director at

What next after the GDL?

In order to qualify as a solicitor or barrister you will have to complete the vocational stage of training. The School of Law at Swansea offer both a full-time and part-time, Legal Practice Course (LPC), successful completion of which satisfies the requirements of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. (For more information on our LPC, contact Michaela Leyshon, LPC Admissions Tutor at For intending barristers, visit the Bar Standards Board at 

Information on Swansea University Careers and Employability Service can be found here:

Do I have to enter one of the legal professions to use my law qualification?

As well as qualifying as solicitors and barristers, past students have also moved on to work in a number of law-related fields.  A good academic law qualification is impressive,  as employers are aware of the challenging nature of law and that studying law helps develop many sought-after skills which will be valuable outside the legal profession. As a senior banking director says:   

‘Law is an extremely marketable commodity… much sought after by employers in many different sectors because of the disciplines students have gained from undertaking an intensive course of legal study. These skills include problem solving and attention to detail and these qualities make them an asset to any organisation’.

Interestingly, those with law qualifications include Nelson Mandela, John Grisham, Fidel Castro, Bill Clinton and Simon Nicholls, well know as a BBC comedy writer for series such as ‘Have I got News for You’, ‘Never Mind the Buzz-cocks’ and ‘Room 101’!

For further information on opportunities for lawyers, consider visiting: