Graduate Diploma in Law

Course Overview

The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), also sometimes referred to as the Common Professional Examination, (CPE), is a programme for non-law graduates, or those with equivalent qualifications, wishing to either enter the legal profession or work in law-relevant employment. No prior knowledge of law is required.

Key Features

Course Structure:

The GDL is a full-time, 36-week, intensive course designed to facilitate the acquisition of sound legal knowledge in those areas of law which are known as the Foundations of Law plus one additional area of law.

  • The course is preceded by a two-week period of directed reading on the English Legal System and the principles of legal scholarship (no attendance required, home study)
  • Teaching commences with an induction period which includes a short block of lectures and seminars concentrating on the English Legal System, the acquisition of legal skills, and European Union Law
  • The foundation subjects of Contract, Tort, Public Law, Equity & Trusts, Land Law and Criminal Law are taught by means of a series of lectures and compulsory seminars spanning two teaching blocks;
  • A further legal subject is studied by means of a supervised research project;
  • Class contact averages 16 hours per week. Students should expect to spend a minimum of 40 hours per week, attending classes and undertaking private study.

Description

The Swansea GDL is a full-time, 36-week intensive course, next commencing September 2014. It is designed to provide the legal knowledge necessary to satisfy the academic requirements of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), Bar Standards Board and the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX).

Entry Requirements

To enrol on the GDL an applicant must normally have obtained an undergraduate degree awarded by a recognised UK or Republic of Ireland institution. (Please note that those wishing to progress to the Bar should normally have achieved at least a 2 (ii) honours classification in their undergraduate degree. Visit http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/ for further information).

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 www.swansea.ac.uk/elts/

How To Apply

All applications for full-time GDL/CPE courses must be made through the Central Applications Board (CAB).

Applications should be made to the CAB on-line (http://www.lawcabs.ac.uk/) as CAB do not accept paper applications.

Please note that applicants should NOT wait until they have obtained a Certificate of Academic Standing or of Partial Exemption before making an application.

Certificate of Academic Standing

To be admitted onto a Graduate Diploma in Law/CPE a prospective student must fall into one of the following two categories:

  • they must be a graduate, holding an undergraduate degree (at least 2.ii standard if they wish to qualify as a barrister) that has been awarded by an institution with degree awarding powers in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. This does not include foundation degrees;

    OR
  • they must have been granted a Certificate of Academic Standing by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or The General Council of the Bar.

Tuition Fees

Annual tuition fees for entry in the academic year 2014/15 are as follows:

UK/EU International
GradDip Full-time £6,000 £10,000

You can find further information on fees and how to pay on our tuition fees page.

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study. To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit the University's scholarships and bursaries page.

Additional Costs

The tuition fees do not cover the costs of purchasing books or stationery, printing, thesis binding or photocopying costs.

There are no mandatory additional costs specified for this course.

GDL Discounted Fees

Swansea University's College of Law is currently offering a range of scholarships for full-time applicants meeting certain eligibility criteria. The scholarships offer a tuition fee discount on the standard 2014/15 rate by the amounts shown in the table below.

Eligibility Criteria

Scholarship Amount

Tuition Fees Payable

UK/EU alumni of a Welsh university (including Swansea University)

£1010

£4990

UK/EU students (excluding Welsh university alumni)

 

£710

£5290

International students – Swansea University alumni

 

£5010

£4990

International students (excluding Swansea University alumni)

£710

£9290

If you meet the eligibility criteria for these scholarships they will automatically be applied on enrolment.

Certificate of Academic Standing

To be admitted onto a Graduate Diploma in Law/CPE a prospective student must fall into one of the following two categories:

  • they must be a graduate, holding an undergraduate degree (at least 2.ii standard if they wish to qualify as a barrister) that has been awarded by an institution with degree awarding powers in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. This does not include foundation degrees;

    OR
  • they must have been granted a Certificate of Academic Standing by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or The General Council of the Bar.

For further information on the Certificate of Academic Standing please click here: Certificate of Academic Standing

Applicants who hold a law degree which fails to satisfy the academic requirements of the professional bodies (known as a non-qualifying law degree) may apply for partial exemption from the academic stage of training. Applications for a Certificate of Partial Exemption should be made directly to the appropriate professional body.

Please note that applicants should NOT wait until they have obtained a Certificate of Academic Standing or of Partial Exemption before making an application.

Assessment

The Swansea GDL employs a wide range of assessment methods, including multiple choice tests, coursework, mini-dissertation and traditional 3-hour, unseen examinations. The pass mark for all assessed work is 40%.

Career Prospects

Non-law graduates are being welcomed into the legal profession at an increasing rate, as they are perceived as bringing a fresh perspective to the practice of law, and now make up approximately 50% of all new lawyers. Successful completion of the Swansea GDL, which is accredited by the SRA, Bar and ILEX satisfies all of the academic requirements for admission to the vocational stage of training as a solicitor, barrister or legal executive.

UK qualified lawyers have the opportunity to not only work in local and nationally based firms and chambers, public bodies and businesses but also in legal environments around the world.

In addition, the Swansea GDL is also relevant to those wishing to enhance their job prospects in areas such as business management, the probation service, forensic psychology, trading standards, politics, human resource management, education to name a few.

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 m.e.leyshon@swansea.ac.uk).

For intending barristers, visit the Bar Standards Board at www.barcouncil.org.uk/becoming-a-barrister/

Information on Swansea University Careers and Employability Service can be found here: http://www.swan.ac.uk/careers/

Contact Details

GDL Administrator: Michelle Meacham: M.Meacham@swansea.ac.uk 

Specific enquiries should be addressed to the Programme Director, Karen Davies at karen.davies@swansea.ac.uk