If you want to work in law in the UK but haven’t studied law at undergraduate level, you might want to consider doing a law conversion course. If you think this is the route for you, and you wish to study in the UK, you will need to study the GDL.\r\n\r\nWhat is the GDL?\r\n\r\nThe Graduate Diploma in Law, known more widely as the GDL, is a one-year full time law conversion course (or two years part time) which brings students up to date with the knowledge they need to become a lawyer. The course may also be referred to as the Common Professional Exam (CPE). The course fits three years’ worth of law knowledge into a year and is intended for students who already have an undergraduate degree in a different subject and wish to change their career path towards law.\r\n\r\nWhat will I study? During the law conversion course, you will study the seven core foundational areas of law. These are:\r\n\r\n\r\n\tEnglish Legal System and Constitutional Law (including Retained EU Law)\r\n\tEquity and Trusts\r\n\tPublic Law (including administrative law and human rights law)\r\n\tLand Law\r\n\tContract Law\r\n\tTort\r\n\tCriminal Law\r\n\r\n\r\nStudents can then choose to choose to study one further aspect of law. This may be a further module in a topic of your choice, or a research project where you will write an essay related to the area of law you want to study.\r\n\r\nWhat is the difference between a GDL and an LLM (master’s in law)?\r\n\r\nAn LLM is a master’s in law, designed for students who have already completed their LLB undergraduate law degree or their GDL course. It is, however, possible to earn a place on an LLM without having completed an LLB or a GDL, so long as you can demonstrate that you have significant legal knowledge. This knowledge may be gained during work experience in vacation schemes across different law firms, or in other forms of work experience.\r\n\r\nThe difference between a GDL and an LLM is essentially your career aspirations. If you want to be a lawyer (a solicitor or a barrister) then you need to either complete a bachelor’s degree in law or have studied another subject at undergraduate level and completed the GDP. If you want to specialise in the legal area of the subject you have studied at undergraduate level (such as medical law), then the LLM will enable you to do that.\r\n\r\nWhere can I study the GDL?\r\n\r\nThere are many universities around the country where you can study the GDL law conversion course. Many institutions offer both part-time and full-time courses and some even offer distance learning courses, so you can earn your qualification while working.\r\n\r\nYou should also find out as much about an institution as you can before applying; including career prospects, whether it’s reputable amongst law firms and the school’s links with law firms around the country.\r\n\r\nSeveral institutions that offer the GDL include:\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tGDL Provider \r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tLocation in UK\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tCost of Course (full time)\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tUniversity of Law\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tBirmingham, Bristol, Chester, Exeter, Chester, Guilford, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Reading, Nottingham, Sheffield, London and online\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tOutside London: £10,100\r\n\r\n\t\t\tIn London: £12,550\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tBournemouth University\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tBournemouth\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t£9,250\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tUniversity of Brighton\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tBrighton\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t£7,820\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tCardiff University\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tCardiff\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t£10,950\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tOxford Brookes University\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tOxford\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t£9,250\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tNottingham Trent University\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tNottingham\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t£9,100\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\nHow much does the GDL cost?\r\n\r\nThe cost of the GDL varies across universities, so it is worth checking the price of the course when you decide which institution you might wish to study at. According to The Lawyer Portal, the cost of the GDL course is around £5,000-£12,000, but this might be higher or lower depending on the institution. Unfortunately, you cannot use a student loan to fund the GDL, but many institutions offer GDL scholarships, which will help reduce the cost slightly.\r\n\r\nWhat comes next after completing the GDL?\r\n\r\nAfter completing a GDL course, if you still want to become a lawyer, you must decide whether you would rather be a barrister or a solicitor. Barristers specialise in courtroom litigation and advocacy. They are independent and so can work on different sides in legal disputes. Alternatively, solicitors can deal with conveyancing, the drawing up of wills and other legal matters. The path you decide is right for you will influence what you do next. \r\n\r\nTo become a barrister, you will have to complete the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). This is a one-year, practical course which helps to provide the training specific to a junior barrister. You will then have to complete a pupilage – a work placement which lasts twelve months.\r\n\r\nIf you choose to become a solicitor, you will complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC), a one year, full-time course which is both skills based and knowledge based and will prepare you for doing the work of a trainee solicitor when you start your training contact.