Law - GDL


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Key facts

Start dates

September 2024 / September 2025



Course length

Full time: 12 months

Part time: 24 months


Bar Standards Board (BSB)


Join a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course where you’ll build effective legal knowledge and develop practical legal skills.

You’ll be part of a supportive, acclaimed and successful course. You’ll learn from qualified legal practitioners and key international law researchers; with a deep understanding of the subject area and close links to the profession.

You'll develop an awareness of how to apply the law in professional practice. You will also advance your research and professional legal skills. You'll study in small groups and receive expert tuition. You can also join our award winning mooting and client interviewing teams, to build your advocacy skills.

There's also access to employability and pro bono opportunities - including:

  • Solicitor and barrister mentoring scheme
  • A court-based family law pro bono project
  • Training to work with the death row charity Amicus ALJ.

You’ll gain expert legal knowledge and skills to equip you for the Bar Training Course (BTC) or to start the preparation courses for the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

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

All applications are considered on their merits and we'll consider applicants who do not have an upper second class honours degree who can demonstrate a commitment to pursuing a legal profession and 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.

You can also join the GDL on a training contract or with qualifying work experience. And every year some of our students join us having secured positions with legal firms.

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.

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 (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

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.

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support.

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

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

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 are detailed below.

Funding your studies

Financial support and scholarships

Featured funding opportunities available for this course.



All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course

Learning and assessment

You’ll kick off your learning experience with a two-week induction course. This includes a study of the English legal system, legal theory, legal writing and problem-solving. You must pass the induction course before progressing onto the GDL.

Once on the course, you’ll start building essential legal knowledge and skills immediately. You’ll explore all the core legal subjects, including:

  • criminal law
  • contract law
  • human rights law
  • and constitutional law

You’ll also be able to carry out a research project in a legal area that interests you - like sports law, intellectual property or workplace rights. You’ll be supported all the way through by a tutor who is an expert in your chosen field. And you’ll start to develop a specialism early, setting you apart from other candidates.

You’ll also have the opportunity to take part in additional extracurricular activities such as mooting and pro bono to help further your experience.

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.
  • Law of Contract

    Covering the fundamental principles of contract law and providing a framework for tackling case studies and legal problem solving.

    You will examine the principles of formation, operation and termination of contract together with a consideration of the conceptual background to contract law. The module will extend the processes of legal reasoning and techniques of legal analysis that have been introduced in the induction modules.

    Module assessment by exam in January (100% of the marks).



  • European Union Law

    An introduction to the constitutional and institutional foundations of the European Union. Including key areas of substantive law, due to their centrality in the EU system.

    You'll explore the historical development of the EU as a legal order and the operation of its institutions. You'll focus on the nature of EU law, its relationship with national law, and the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Exploring substantive law you'll take in an overview of:

    • the internal market of the EU
    • free movement of people and citizenship.

    You'll take this module in the second semester of the academic year. Module assessment by examination in May (100% of the marks).


  • Law of Tort

    You'll consider 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.

    You'll examine the tort of negligence, 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.

    You'll consider the growing influence of human rights law throughout the course.

    Module assessment is by exam in May (100% of the marks).

  • Land Law

    You'll consider the law affecting land and other forms of property. With the interests and obligations to which they give rise. You’ll look at:

    • land registration
    • mortgages
    • leases
    • easements and profits
    • law of equity and trusts.

    You'll explore adverse possession and co-ownership, and look in outline at the law of leases. You'll go on to examine interests in land law, such as:

    • easements
    • mortgages
    • freehold covenants.

    You'll conclude with an examination of the impact of the Human Rights Act on property law.

    Module assessment by exam in March or April (100% of the marks).

  • Equity and Trusts

    You'll examine the development and deployment of equity as a logic of law. Looking at the details with various deployments of the trust-form. You'll begin with the development of equity and equitable remedies, before starting the engagement with trusts.

    You'll analyse private trusts in both their express and implied forms. Looking at how trusts are set up, how they arise by implication and how other equitable interests may arise. You'll move on to consider public trusts, in both their purpose trust and charitable form.

    You'll finish with an overview of all trusts, looking at the:

    • powers and duties of trustees
    • breach of trust
    • the process of tracing.

    Module assessment is by one piece of coursework (30% of the marks) in March and an examination in May (70% of the marks).

  • Criminal Law

    You'll examine the general principles - both practical and theoretical - underlying criminal liability. Along with a study of individual offences and defences.

    You'll look at offences against the person and offences against property. You'll focus on the general principles of criminal law, such as actus reus and mens rea, and various legal defences. You'll explore these principles through consideration of particular offences:

    • homicide - murder and manslaughter (both ‘voluntary’ and involuntary’)
    • offences against the person,
    • offences under the Theft Act 1968 and Fraud Act 2006,
    • inchoate offences.

    You'll take this module between September and Easter.

    Module assessment is by one piece of coursework (15% of the marks) in November and an examination in March or April (85% of the marks).


  • Public Law

    Public Law encompasses constitutional and administrative law, including civil liberties and human rights.

    Constitutional law is the law that relates to the structure/framework of the state. Including the political and judicial institutions of the state, such as:

    • Crown
    • Parliament
    • the Government
    • Supreme Court.

    Administrative law is the body of law that deals with the:

    • workings of the state
    • statutory and common law powers
    • duties of public bodies such as government departments and local authorities.

    Civil liberties and human rights deals with the protection offered by legal, political and administrative means to the liberties of the individual. This is before and within the context of the Human Rights Act 1998. With a focus on:

    • freedom of expression
    • police powers
    • freedom of assembly
    • public order.

    You'll explore and gain understanding of all these areas of law and their application.

    The module assessment is by exam in January (100% of the marks).

  • 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.

Work Experience

Optional modules

Work Experience

You’ll have the opportunity to participate in the CLOCK scheme (Community Legal Outreach Collaboration Keele). Taking part in the scheme, you'll gain firsthand experience of the legal world. You’ll be interviewing and advising clients, in legal cases and courtroom settings. You'll join a commitment to provide wider access to justice in the local area and gain useful legal expertise for your CV.

You’ll also have the opportunity to build solid advocacy skills as part of our nationally renowned mooting team. And you’ll be able to showcase your client interviewing skills in competitions as well.


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

Learning and teaching

Your lectures and workshops will be led by active legal researchers, as well as qualified barristers and solicitors who are passionate about teaching.

You’ll also have access to regular mooting and client interviewing workshops. Our mooting teams are nationally acclaimed - and open to all students on the GDL. This will build your advocacy skills - crucial to professional practice as a solicitor or barrister. You’ll experience the courtroom firsthand - via competitions and in our own moot court. And you’ll be connected with leading solicitors and law firms.

And, if you’re joining Oxford Brookes without any prior experience of law, you’ll have access to our Mentoring Scheme - where you’ll be mentored by a practising barrister or solicitor.

If you choose to study the GDL part-time, you’ll attend lectures and seminars two days per week. This can help you balance your study around employment and family commitments.


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.


You’ll be joining a research-active department. And your tutors are directly involved in shaping the latest legal research and policy. Our research specialisms include:

  • public law
  • international law and human rights
  • employment
  • religion and the law
  • criminal justice
  • IT and the law

Many opportunities exist for research degrees. And some GDL students progress into research roles after graduation

Researcher in the library

After you graduate

Career prospects

‘This degree awarded to you is supremely valuable. The award is from a university which... commands very considerable respect. A Law degree from Brookes leads us London lawyers to say: well, she or he must be bright as well as knowledgeable’. Lord Wilson of Culworth, Justice of the Supreme Court (2019)

When you graduate, you’ll be ready to progress into a law career. You’ll be ready to progress onto the Bar Course, if you want to become a barrister. You’ll also have a strong foundation of knowledge to take the further SQE1 and SQE 2 requirements to then take the Solicitors’ Qualifying Exam (SQE).

You’ll graduate with a reputable qualification that is highly regarded by employers in the legal profession. You’ll have a thorough knowledge base and proven practical skills.This will set you up for success in your further training. And it can give you a competitive edge on the jobs market or in a pupillage. Take a look at our Routes to Legal Qualification page, that show you the paths into a legal career.

You’ll also be supported to apply for funding for the Bar - and every year some of our students are awarded the prestigious Inns of Court scholarships. And many Oxford Brookes students secure pupillages in leading firms like Quadrant Chambers, 4 Pump Court and XXIV Old Buildings.

Student profiles

Related courses

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.