Taught course

Law/Common Professional Examination (GDL/CPE)

Northumbria University · Faculty of Business and Law

Entry requirements

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 exemption from those subjects.

If you are granted a certificate of exemption, the certificate must be shown to us at enrolment. Applications for exemption should be made to the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Bar Standards Board.

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. The Law School offers a range of options including 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.

Successful GDL students who continue to study at Northumbria are guaranteed a place on the LPC and are entitled to a substantial discount off LPC or BPTC fees.

Information for international students

Students whose first language is not English must have an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum score in each component of 5.5. Pearson Academic score of 62 (or above) with a minimum score in each component of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking of 51.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
distance learning
24 months

Course contact details

Admissions Office
0191 227 4453