How does a GDL work?

Asked by: Dusty Lueilwitz  |  Last update: February 19, 2022
Score: 4.8/5 (31 votes)

The GDL is a one-year course which non-law graduates aiming for a career as a solicitor must take before doing the obligatory Legal Practice Course (LPC). In effect it 'converts' your non-law degree into a qualifying law degree – for that reason it is sometimes also known as the 'conversion course'.

Is the GDL as good as a law degree?

The GDL is a good route if you want to actually enjoy your time at university by studying something that interests you academically such as history or English literature. You are more likely to be a happier person and get higher marks this way rather than studying an LLB just because you think it sounds better.

How difficult is a GDL?

Essentially, you'll be condensing three years worth of LLB course content into just ten months, so yes, the conversion course is likely to be difficult! Passing it takes huge commitment and academic talent, so graduating with the qualification is a great achievement.

Is a GDL respected?

The GDL is a fantastic way to condense essential knowledge into a year of studying. It's a route towards becoming a solicitor or a barrister, but it doesn't command much respect in any other field.

What does a GDL get you?

GDLs equip you with all the knowledge delivered by an undergraduate Law degree, putting you on an equal footing with Law graduates. In fact, some legal firms favour those who have completed a GDL over Law graduates, recognising that these students have gained a broader skillset from their original degree.

What to know about the LAW Conversion Course (GDL) - Graduate Diploma into Law.

38 related questions found

How long does it take to do GDL?

How long does the GDL take? The course fits approximately 18 months' worth of content from a three-year law degree into one-year full time or two years part time. Each week you'll have around 45 hours of lectures, tutorials, and self-study culminating in a three-hour final exam on each subject.

Can you become a barrister without a law degree?

A law conversion enables a non-law graduate to progress onto a vocational course to become a solicitor or barrister. ... To become a barrister, you must complete a Bar course after your law conversion, which will then make you eligible for pupillage (the final stage of barrister training).

Will law firms pay for GDL?

How much of the cost of the GDL do law firms cover? ... They do not solely cover the cost of the GDL, but also cover the cost of the LPC and a supporting maintenance grant. If you accept the contract after beginning your studies, many pay you back the course fees as well as the maintenance grant over time.

Can anyone do a GDL?

Are you eligible for the GDL? To apply for the GDL you need to hold one of the following qualifications: (a) a degree from a recognised UK institution or a graduate degree from any overseas institution which is recognised by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) as equivalent to a UK degree.

Can you practice law with a GDL?

"You get the best of both worlds if you do the GDL," says Crisp. ... On top of this, after passing the GDL, would-be lawyers must take the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), depending on whether you want to become a solicitor or barrister.

Is GDL being scrapped?

After September 2021, the GDL will cease as a qualification route and you'll need to take an SQE1 preparation course. For non-law graduates, qualifying under the new system may look something like this: study for a three-year non-law degree.

Does Oxford offer the GDL?

Although the GDL is the most popular law conversion course, you can also do a condensed version of the 3 year LLB with a 'Senior Status', which is offered at Oxford.

Does LSE do GDL?

Full time, Masters degrees in GDL at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Can you become a barrister with a GDL?

What qualifications do I need in becoming a barrister? You must complete an undergraduate law degree, or an undergraduate degree followed by the GDL. You must also pass the BPTC as a postgraduate degree at law school.

Is the GDL harder than the LPC?

Compared to the GDL, I found the LPC a lot easier as it's less theoretical and more practical so to score well you just need to focus on applying the law to the facts in front of you.

Is PGDL hard?

The PGDL is an intensive course, and it requires a big commitment in terms of time and effort. I think it is hugely important to be aware of this before embarking on the course, do your research before applying and aim to be as prepared as possible.

Where is the best place to study a GDL?

Most full-time places
  • Nottingham Trent University (GDL)
  • The City Law School (GDL)
  • The University of Law, Nottingham (GDL)
  • University of Westminster (GDL)
  • Oxford Brookes (GDL)
  • London Metropolitan University (GDL)
  • Manchester Metropolitan University (GDL)
  • Cardiff University (GDL)

What happens after a GDL?

What happens after the GDL? On completion of the course, you will have covered the core areas of law and be ready for your next hurdle on the road to becoming a qualified lawyer: the LPC (for the solicitor route) or the BPTC (for those bound for the Bar).

What level is a PGDL?

Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL)

An undergraduate degree at 2:2 or above in any discipline (or equivalent). An undergraduate degree at 2:2 or above in any discipline (or equivalent).

Can you work full time and do a GDL?

Studying the GDL part-time

With some institutions offering evening and weekend teaching to part-timers, it's definitely possible to hold down a full-time job during the week, although it certainly requires dedication and hard work to remain on top of things.

Is GDL accepted in USA?

Indeed, the GDL is actually pointless for anything in the USA. It's only useful as a conversion qualification for non-law degree holders switching to a UK legal career.

Is a GDL a Masters?


The Master of Laws and a Graduate Diploma of Law are different qualifications in the field of law, but they are similar, in that they are both postgraduate legal courses.

How do people afford GDL?

How am I going to afford the GDL?
  1. Option one: a training contract.
  2. Option two: an integrated course.
  3. Option three: a part-time course.
  4. Option four: scholarships and bursaries.
  5. If all else fails…

How do I get a training contract before GDL?

How to get a training contract before GDL? If you are a non-law student, you can start applying for training contracts in your final year of university. Most law firms accept and support non-law students throughout their GDL, LPC and training contract.

Should I do the GDL without a training contract?

First things first—there's no tangible advantage (or indeed disadvantage) to having the GDL when you apply for a training contract. Firms frequently pay for and organise GDL places for their future trainees, so it's not really a factor in deciding whether or not to offer someone a training contract.