Find a courseExpand
Law - GDL
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
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) https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/ 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.
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.
Applications for the part-time course are received directly to Oxford Brookes University.
Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
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.
Students on this course are not eligible for the Postgraduate Master's Loan.
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.
|Additional costs||Amount (£)|
Books essential to your course are either issued to you by the school for the duration of your studies or are available in the library. Many other books on the our reading lists are available via the Library, or can be purchased secondhand if you choose.
|£20-60 per book|
It’s your responsibility to cover print / binding costs where coursework submission is required. Please note that a lot of the coursework is now submitted online.
Accommodation fees in Brookes Letting (most do not include bills)
|£94-265 per week|
Accommodation fees in university halls (bills included, excluding laundry costs)
|£122-180 per week|
Graduation costs include tickets, gowning and photography. Gowns are not compulsory but typically students do hire robes, starting at £41.
Students are responsible for their own travel to and from university for classes. BrookesBus travel is subsidised for full-time undergraduate students that are on a course with a fee of £9,250 or more, or living in an Oxford Brookes hall of residence. There is an administration fee for the production of a BrookesKey.
Funding your studies
Financial support and scholarships
Featured funding opportunities available for this course.
All financial support and scholarships
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.
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
- 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).
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
- 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:
- 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).
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 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:
- 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.
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
- 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
After you graduate
‘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.
"For a career in law, you need to get first-hand experience while you're at university. Oxford Brookes is really good at giving you those opportunities"Read more about Andrew
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.