Taught course

Graduate Diploma in Law / Common Professional Examination GDL/CPE

Northumbria University · Faculty of Business and Law

Entry requirements

An undergraduate degree in any subject, or equivalent UK/Overseas qualifications.


  • Applications for this programme must be made through the Law Society Central Applications Board accessible at www.lawcabs.ac.uk
  • Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree (in any subject) from a UK or Republic of Ireland Higher Education Institution, or a Certificate or Academic Standing from the Law Society or the Bar Council.
  • Applicants who have previously studied four or more of the foundation subjects may obtain an exemptions from those subjects.
  • Applications for exemption should be made to the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Bar Standards Board and, if granted, a certificate of exemption must be shown at enrolment.

Please note that students with exemptions who pass the outstanding subjects will pass the programme, but will not generally be awarded the Diploma.

Months of entry


Course content

Northumbria’s GDL is taught using a practical, student-focused approach providing a solid grounding in the major areas of law.

It covers the foundations of legal knowledge which are taught by means of lectures, group sessions and seminars. Students are provided with comprehensive study materials, textbooks and step-by-step workbooks to support their studies.

At the beginning of the programme students are required to study the English Legal System by means of a pre-attendance package and induction programme.

In addition, students must study the following seven subjects, which are stipulated by the professional bodies as being the foundations of legal knowledge:

  • Contract Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Equity and Trusts
  • European Union Law
  • Property Law
  • Public Law
  • Law of Tort

All students are required to undertake research into a further area of law. Past options have included Company Law, Commercial Law, Employment Law, Family Law, Evidence and Legal History among others. Students receive initial guidance on the subject and advice on how to conduct legal research.

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.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

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

Course contact details

Admissions Office
0191 227 4453