Our Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is a conversion course. If you have a non-law undergraduate degree it can help you gain your first legal qualification quickly. In just one year you’ll lay down the foundations you need to forge a legal career.

There’s a strong focus on developing your practical legal skills. We’ll also help you develop the fundamental legal knowledge you’ll need to work in the sector.

It’s a great introduction to law and a stepping stone to further legal qualifications, such as the Legal Practice Course to become a solicitor or the Bar Professional Training Course to become a barrister.

Legal knowledge

You’ll cover core areas of law, including criminal, public and land law. There are also specific units to develop your practical skills, in particular, mooting.

Many of our team are practising legal professionals and understand what’s needed to succeed in the field. We have experts in various areas of the law who will share their passion and enthusiasm with you.

Supporting your studies

You’ll have plenty of support from your tutors during this course. There are high levels of face-to-face teaching and an open-door policy for advice and academic support.

Features and benefits

  • Fast-track legal qualification – convert your existing non-law undergraduate degree into a legal qualification in one year. It’s also suitable if you have extensive work experience but no formal qualifications.
  • Law School experience – study surrounded by other law students and supported by an expert teaching team. Join the Law Society for networking, guest lectures and social events.
  • Thriving legal hub – Manchester has a dynamic legal sector. We have close links with the Northern Circuit and our courses are well respected by national law firms.
  • Pro bono work – put your legal skills and knowledge to the test by volunteering with our partners. Gain valuable experience before starting work.
  • Mooting opportunities – we are a leading centre for mooting and advocacy in the UK. Join the Mooting Society to participate in regular debates and competitions.
  • Legal experts – learn from experienced professionals and get your legal education off to the best start. They know what it takes to succeed.
  • Top legal facilities – make use of our 24-hour library, a mock courtroom and dedicated careers and employability hub.
  • Ready for work – you’ll develop the professional skills you need to forge a career in law. Your previous education and experience will add an extra dimension to your CV.

Course details

Our Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is a conversion course that lets you chart a future in law – whether you have an undergraduate degree in another subject area, or you’ve spent your career in a different profession.

In just a year (or two, if you’re studying part-time) you can build the knowledge and skills to achieve a qualification, preparing for a career in a range of legal professions. While you’ll learn about the fundamentals of law, it’s also a course with a focus on skills. So it’s not just about the theory, but about the practice of law too.

Before you even begin the course in September, we’ll send you an induction pack, which includes a link to our online revision and self-testing resources. With the induction programme, you’ll be able to start off by building a solid understanding of the English legal system, together with an introduction to essential legal research techniques and the law-related IT systems we offer at Manchester Law School

Once you’ve completed your induction, you’ll be ready to explore the seven foundations of legal knowledge, from contract and criminal law to equities and trusts. With these core units, you’ll not only develop the understanding that’s fundamental for anyone working in law but also lay the foundation for any future training, like working to become a solicitor or barrister.

Having learned the knowledge, you’ll have a chance to bridge the gap between academic studies and professional practice. With our Legal Skills and Practice unit, you’ll discover the realities of applying the law to practical scenarios. You’ll analyse issues, conduct legal research and develop your problem-solving skills. And, in our mock courtroom, you’ll be able to hone your skills in a realistic environment.

As part of Manchester Law School, you’ll also find a range of opportunities to go further with your studies. We have a busy programme of guest lectures and events where you can connect with legal professionals. There’s a Mooting and Advocacy Society, where you can compete and put your skills to the test. And, with our various pro bono schemes, you can learn real-world professional skills while making a real difference in the community.

If you’re new to law, our GDL course provides the best first step. With a solid grounding in fundamental knowledge and vital practical skills, it opens up a range of possibilities and career paths in the legal profession.

Additional information about this course

Professional regulators in the legal sector are currently conducting an extensive consultation about legal education and training. This includes a review about the routes and qualifications to become a barrister or solicitor. The current route of a qualifying law degree (QLD) or the GDL and the BPTC to become a barrister will remain in place until summer 2019. The current route of a QLD and LPC to become a solicitor will remain in place until summer 2020.

Placements options

As part of Manchester Law School, our GDL students have the opportunity to get involved in voluntary work through the Pro Bono Network. Working with one of our partners to provide free expertise to people in need means having the chance to build real skills and relevant experience.

There are a range of different routes for pro bono work, working on projects with local, national and international partners. It could be working on a legal advice line or advising start-ups in our Business Law Café, or it might be supporting caseworkers for the homeless or even working on death row cases in the USA. It can be challenging, but it’s also rewarding. While you make a difference for your CV, you’ll also make a difference to people’s lives.

Entry requirements

You should have an honours degree from the UK or the ROI. International students with a degree are eligible to apply as long as equivalence to a UK/ROI honours degree is demonstrated.

International applicants or students without a degree but with work experience should contact law@mmu.ac.uk for further details on entry requirements. Due to the popularity of the GDL, preference is usually given to higher classifications.

International students, please visit mmu.ac.uk/international or contact law@mmu.ac.uk.

Career prospects

The GDL has a very practical focus. From day one you’ll be encouraged to think and behave like a legal professional. That makes it easier to transition to a legal role once you complete your course.

This is the first step towards developing a legal career. After your GDL you’ll be ready to study for the Legal Practice Course to become a solicitor, or the Bar Professional Training Course to become a barrister.

If you’re interested in academic research in law you can explore the options for masters-level study, such as the LLM.

Our links to the Northern Circuit give you the opportunity to make professional connections before you graduate.

The GDL can also complement career development in other areas, such as policing, criminology and the public sector.

Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated July 31, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2019
1 - 2 years
9,250 GBP
UK and EU students: Full-time: £9,250 per year. Part-time: £4,625 per year. Non-EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £15,500 per year. Part-time fee: £7,750 per year.
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Start Date
Sep 2019
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Sep 2019

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