Taught course

Bar Knowledge Course

Northumbria University · Faculty of Business and Law
Bar Knowledge Course

Entry requirements

Applicants should normally have a minimum of a 2:1 honours degree in Law or a minimum of a Commendation in the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). Applicants with a 2:2 honours degree or a Pass in the GDL will be considered exceptionally on an individual basis.

All applicants are required to join one of the four Inns of Court before commencing the course, and applicants must pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) introduced by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). Applicants must have achieved a minimum standard as specified by the BSB within the past five years. For more information please visit www.barstandardsboard.org.uk.

Months of entry


Course content

The Bar Knowledge Course is the first step in Northumbria’s alternative barrister training route. The Bar is a demanding profession, and our Bar Knowledge Course and Bar Skills Course give you the flexibility to break your learning down into two separate stages, while still receiving the very best possible legal training.

The Bar Knowledge Course focuses on giving you the opportunity to acquire all of the knowledge you need to prepare you for the rigours of the Bar.

Taught largely through realistic case studies, or briefs, you will study the two centralised assessment modules, Civil Litigation and Criminal Litigation.

You will benefit from the highest quality of practice-informed teaching, taught by staff who are professionally qualified as either barristers or solicitors with strong staff-student contact and tailored feedback.

You will also benefit from generous contact hours throughout the course – including dedicated exam-focused teaching sessions – in which the teaching team will share their expertise to support you in preparing for the Bar Standards Board (BSB) centralised assessments.

The programme makes the best use of facilities such as Northumbria’s extensive IT provision and dedicated legal practice library. Close links with the Bar and judiciary enhances networking opportunities and employment prospects.

Successful completion (40 credits) will mean you are eligible to move on to the Bar Skills Course, which aims to help you build on the knowledge you've acquired and develop the skills necessary for you to practice as a barrister.

Successfully completing both stages (120 credits) is equivalent to completion of the Bar Course and leads to a Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Vocational Training and means you will ultimately possess the attributes set out in the Professional Statement for Barristers and be eligible for Call to the Bar of England and Wales (subject to meeting the qualifying requirements of your Inn of Court).

The Bar Knowledge Course and the Bar Skills Course ultimately prepare you for pupillage and training as a barrister, but also a highly successful career not only at the Bar, but across the legal profession, business and politics.

Information for international students

International applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent).

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • Bar Knowledge Course
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Admissions Office
0191 227 4444