Taught course

Graduate Diploma in Law

Cardiff University · Cardiff School of Law and Politics

Entry requirements

Applications for this course must be made via the Central Applications Board (“CAB”) website.

The usual academic requirement is an Honours Degree from a UK University in a non-law subject, Class 2.2 or above. Applicants from overseas or with non-standard qualifications must apply for a Certificate of Academic Standing from the Bar Standards Board (if you are planning on qualifying as a barrister).

Applicants must meet the Academic Requirements set out above and Cardiff University’s general entrance requirements. Subject to those, the following criteria will be taken into account:

  • academic record
  • the applicant’s personal statement
  • reference from the applicant’s referee
  • degree of commitment to the legal profession (shown, for example, by placements with solicitors’ firms or mini pupillages or equivalent experience)
  • general work experience
  • reasons for wanting to study the GDL at Cardiff
  • date on which the application is received by Cardiff University
  • order of preference of institution and
  • any special personal reasons affecting freedom to study elsewhere.

Satisfying the English Language Requirement

The University’s English language requirements can be found at https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/international/english-language-requirements

You will not be required to further demonstrate your English language level if:

  • you have obtained a full bachelor or higher degree which has been taught through the medium of English and awarded by a UK institution or
  • you have obtained a full bachelor or higher degree which has been taught (in its entirety) in a country on the UKVI list of exceptions (excluding Canada) or
  • you are a national of Canada and have obtained a full bachelor or higher degree which has been taught (in its entirety) in Canada and awarded by a Canadian institution.
  • you are a national of, and have the equivalent of a pass in a High School qualification from, a majority English speaking country on the UKVI list of exceptions, including Canada.

All applicants who do not fall into the above category must demonstrate that they have achieved an IELTS academic test with an overall score of 6.5 with 6.5 in writing and no less than 6.0 in all other subscores, or an acceptable equivalent.

The above test must have been taken within two years of the course start date and all required scores must have been achieved in one sitting of the test.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Months of entry


Course content

An intensive conversion course to law for non-law graduates. You will study the English and Welsh Legal System, Contract Law, Criminal Law, Equity & Trusts, EU Law, Land Law, Public Law and Tort. You will also research a topic and submit an extended essay on it at the end of your study.

The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) offers intensive, graduate-level legal studies to students who already possess a degree in a non-law subject and wish to qualify as solicitors or barristers.

After successful completion of the GDL, you may progress to the current professional stage of legal training, either the Bar Training Course* or the Legal Practice Course, either of which may be studied at the School of Law and Politics

To become fully qualified under the current system, completion of the BTC or LPC will need to be followed by a period of work-based learning, either pupillage in a barristers’ chambers or a training contract with a solicitors’ firm. Alternatively, the GDL or one of the professional courses may be directly followed by legal work in some other capacity, with the option of seeking full qualification at a later date.

If you intend to pursue the BTC you will be required to become a member of one of the four Inns of Court. To be eligible for admission to an Inn a person must be assessed by the Inn as being a “fit and proper” person to become a practising barrister. For more information on the matters that must be declared on an application to join an Inn please visit the Bar Standards Board website

If you are worried that you may have a “character and suitability” issue which may prevent you from qualifying as a solicitor, you can ask the SRA to assess this before you start the Course. Please visit the SRA website for further guidance.

Please note that the route to qualification both as a solicitor and as a barrister will be changing in the near future. For further information please refer to the websites of the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board.

*Subject to validation

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • GDL
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Enquiries
+44 (0)29 2087 0084