Find a course


Law - GDL


Key facts

Start dates

September 2020 / September 2021



Course length

Full time: 12 months

Part time: 24 months


School of Law


We pride ourselves on providing a quality law conversion course. The course combines academic rigour with the problem solving and research skills to help you stand out as a legal professional. You can study with us full-time (one year) or part-time (two years).

We’re known in the legal world for producing graduates that have both:

  • a thorough grasp of legal knowledge
  • the confidence to apply it to real-life situations.

Our classes are small and our teaching staff are supportive. They are passionate about the work and research they do, incorporating their published work into their specialist teaching. So you'll be able to experience an active engagement with the laws of the society in which we live, while you study.

You will develop employability skills and we have an outstanding record of student success in the following:

  • national mooting
  • international mooting
  • client interviewing competitions
  • solicitor mentoring scheme
  • barrister mentoring scheme.

You can participate in our solicitor and barrister mentoring or pro bono schemes.

Moot Court

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

You will normally have, or be predicted to have, a second class degree or above and your application should also demonstrate a commitment to the legal profession.

However, all applications are considered on their merits and we will consider applicants who do not have or may not be predicted to have an upper second class honours degree who can demonstrate a commitment to pursuing a career in the legal profession and who have other strengths or evidence of achievement such as awards, scholarships and work experience - paid or unpaid.

A Certificate of Academic Standing is required for applicants whose intention it is to become a barrister and who do not hold a UK first Degree. Applicants are strongly advised to apply to the Bar Standards Board (BSB) as soon as possible for a Certificate of Academic Standing for the GDL as these can take some time to obtain.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Students whose first language is not English will need A-level English, or an IELTS score of 7.0, including a minimum of 6.5 in each component. This is for all applicants whose first language in not English including those who may have a degree from the UK.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Full-time applications

Applications for full-time study are made through the Central Applications Board.

Please ensure that you select Oxford Brookes School of Law from the options available.

Important deadlines

The closing date for full time and part time applications for the Graduate Diploma in Law is 31st August 2020.

Part-time applications

Applications for the part-time course are received directly to Oxford Brookes University:

Apply now

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time

Home/EU part time

International full time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International / EU full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2020 / 21
Home/EU full time

Home/EU part time

International full time

2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International / EU full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year your fees will increase each year.

Financial support and scholarships

Students on this course are not eligible for the Postgraduate Master's Loan.

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements. In the event of changes made to the government advice and social distancing rules by national or local government, the University may need to make further alterations to the published course content. Detailed information on the changes will be sent to every student on confirmation in August to ensure you have all the information before you come to Oxford Brookes.

Learning and assessment

The first two weeks of the GDL is an induction course which includes a study of the English legal system and introductory lectures in:

  • legal theory
  • legal writing skills
  • problem solving. 

There are also opportunities to explore the city with an Oxford guide. The induction course ends with a welcome reception in Headington Hill Hall. The intensity of the induction course develops a strong sense of community among students.

The induction course is assessed on a pass/fail basis. You must pass before you can progress to the main body of the course.

Female student studying

Study modules

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

The English Legal System

In this module, you’ll gain a sound knowledge of the English legal system. You’ll also be introduced to legal theory, which will underpin your learning on the GDL course. 

You’ll learn about the importance of human rights. And you’ll explore the fundamentals of the English legal system, like civil and criminal justice. You’ll also get acquainted with key legal study skills, including:

  • reading cases
  • legal reasoning
  • writing legal essays 
  • answering legal problem questions.

Contract Law

Contract Law covers the fundamental principles of contract law and provides a framework for tackling case studies and legal problem solving. The course examines the principles of formation, operation and termination of contract together with a consideration of the conceptual background to contract law. It is assessed by an exam (100% of the marks) in January.

European Union Law

European Union Law provides an introduction to the constitutional and institutional foundations of the European Union and a number of key areas of substantive law, chosen because of their centrality in the EU system. The course begins with an examination of the historical development of the EU as a legal order and the operation of its institutions. Discussion then focuses on the nature of EU law, its relationship with national law and the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Exploration of substantive law takes in an overview of the internal market of the EU, including free movement of people and citizenship. The course is delivered during the second semester of the academic year and is assessed by an examination in May (100% of the marks). 

Tort Law

Tort Law considers the rights and interests protected by the law of tort and the forms this protection takes, with regard to both the applicable legal principles and the remedies available. The tort of negligence is studied in detail, as well as employers’ liability, vicarious liability, trespass to land, occupiers’ liability, public nuisance, private nuisance, Rylands-v-Fletcher; trespass to the person, defamation and privacy. The growing influence of human rights law will be considered throughout the course. Assessment is by an exam (100% of the marks) in May.

Land Law

Land Law considers the law affecting land and other forms of property, and the interests and obligations to which they give rise. It deals with land registration, mortgages, leases, easements and profits, and the law of equity and trusts. It considers adverse possession and co-ownership, and looks in outline at the law of leases. It then goes on to examine interests in land such as easements, mortgages and freehold covenants. The course concludes with an examination of the impact of the Human Rights Act on property law. The course is assessed through an examination (100% of the marks) in March or April.

Equity and Trusts

Equity and Trusts examines the development and deployment of equity as a logic of law. In particular, the course deals in detail with the various deployments of the trust-form. It begins with the development of equity and equitable remedies, before beginning the engagement with trusts. Private trusts are analysed in both their express and implied forms. The module looks at how trusts are set up expressly, how they arise by implication and how other equitable interests may arise informally. It then moves on to consider public trusts, in both their purpose trust and charitable form. The module closes with an overview of all trusts, looking at the powers and duties of trustees, breach of trust and the process of tracing. Assessment is through one piece of coursework (30% of the marks) in March and an examination in May (70% of the marks).

Criminal Law

Criminal Law involves an examination of the general principles underlying criminal liability, together with a study of individual offences and defences. There will be particular reference to offences against the person and offences against property. The course focuses on the general principles of criminal law, such as actus reus and mens rea, and various legal defences. These principles are explored through consideration of particular offences, typically homicide, offences against the person, offences under the Theft Act 1968 and Fraud Act 2006, and inchoate offences. The course is delivered between September and Easter and is assessed by a piece of coursework in November (15% of the marks) and an examination in March or April (85% of the marks).

Public Law

Public Law encompasses constitutional and administrative law as well as civil liberties and human rights. Constitutional law is the law that relates to the structure or framework of the state and the political and judicial institutions of the state, such as the Crown, parliament, the government, and the Supreme Court. Administrative law is the body of law that deals with the workings of the state, the statutory and common law powers, and duties of public bodies such as government departments and local authorities. Civil liberties and human rights is concerned with the protection offered by legal, political and administrative means to the liberties of the individual prior to and within the context of the Human Rights Act 1998, with particular focus on freedom of expression, police powers, and freedom of assembly and public order. The course is delivered between September and December and is assessed by an examination in January (100% of the marks).

Final project

Compulsory modules

Legal Research Project

You’ll strengthen your legal research skills through this independent research project. You’ll choose your own project from a relevant area, and work independently to carry out your research and write your essay. You’ll develop skills in areas like analysing and applying case law, evaluating relevant material and reaching reasoned conclusions. You’ll gain knowledge of your specific topic area while also improving your project management abilities.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Our teaching methods give you the best opportunity to gain legal knowledge and skills and include:

  • two hour lectures
  • one and a half hour workshops.

Our teaching staff have qualifications and experience as barristers or solicitors. A significant number of others hold research degrees.


Assessment methods used on this course

You will have an ongoing awareness of your progress. Assessments are spread throughout the course and include both coursework and exams.

Our staff and students monitor and analyse the effectiveness of teaching and assessments. Our methods are described in the course handbook.


Research strengths and interests among staff include:

  • public law
  • international law and human rights
  • employment
  • religion and the law
  • criminal justice
  • IT and the law.
  • Research areas and clusters

Research degrees can be undertaken in the following areas:

  • access to justice
  • accountability
  • company law
  • comparative constitutions
  • criminal justice
  • family law
  • human rights
  • information law
  • international economic law
  • international law and policy
  • international trade and commercial law
  • international and European environmental law
  • intellectual property law
  • law and religion
  • migration
  • workplace rights and employment law
  • WTO law.
Researcher in the library

After you graduate

Career prospects

Having completed the GDL most students go on to become solicitors or barristers by taking the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

Training contracts
Many of our students come to the GDL having already obtained training contracts with solicitors’ firms, and their GDL studies are funded by these firms. Recent students have secured training contracts at firms such as Clifford Chance LLP, Freshfields and Blake Morgan.

Scholarships for barristers
Oxford Brookes GDL students going to the bar are exceptionally successful in securing much sought-after funding and scholarships. Each year a significant proportion of Brookes students gain prestigious scholarships through the Inns of Court. Recent students have gained pupillages at a number of well reputed barrister chambers including Quadrant Chambers, 4 Pump Court and XXIV Old Buildings.

Further careers options with law
A small number of our students use the legal knowledge and analytical skills gained through the GDL course to pursue a business, public sector or financial career, or continue on to further academic study.

Student profiles

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.