Taught course

Diploma in Professional Legal Practice

University of Glasgow · College of Social Sciences

Entry requirements

To be a candidate for the Diploma you must

  1. Possess a law degree from a Scottish university, or a qualification accepted by the Senatus as equivalent thereto.
  2. Have passed or obtained exemption from the professional examinations of the Law Society of Scotland in those subjects required in terms of the Admission as Solicitor (Scotland) Regulations.

The Diploma in Professional Legal Practice is a requirement for entry to either branch of the legal profession in Scotland.

To qualify for admission to the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, applicants must have graduated, or be qualified to graduate with an LLB from a Scottish university. Applicants must have successfully completed classes which comprise the Law Society of Scotland’s professional curriculum, which is usually completed during the first 2 years of an LLB.

The professional curriculum at the University of Glasgow currently includes:

  • Business Organisations
  • Commercial Law
  • Criminal Law and Evidence
  • European Union Law (required but not included in the ranking criteria)
  • Family Law
  • Law and Government
  • Principles of Property and Obligations
  • Property Law
  • Sources and Institutions of Scots Law
  • Tax Law (requirement for LLBs started in 2010 or earlier)
  • Legal Profession and Legal Ethics
  • Introduction to Legal Study
  • Constitutional Law 1
  • Obligations 1A
  • Obligations 1B

Applicants are ranked by a grade point average, according to their performance in the professional curriculum outlined above. This ranking is used by all providers to allocate places. Applicants must submit a paper application to their undergraduate institution for their grade point average to be calculated. This information is then passed to the university at which the applicant wishes to undertake Diploma study.

Admission to the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice for applicants who are not qualified as outlined above is normally only possible in exceptional circumstances.

Months of entry


Course content

The Diploma provides you with the necessary qualification to pursue a law traineeship. It is the first step towards a career as a solicitor or advocate within Scotland. Our goal is to equip you with the hands-on skills necessary to practise law in the 21st century. We create opportunities for you to develop a professional network which will support you throughout your career.

Why this programme

  • Designed by practising lawyers, our programme replicates the work that you will do when you commence your traineeship.
  • The Glasgow Legal 40, highly experienced legal alumni of the university, supports our Diploma students through mentorship and by attending our networking events.
  • We work with employers to ensure that our programme meets their requirements, enabling you to commence your traineeship with the necessary skills and knowledge.
  • You will receive one to one in-person feedback from tutors on every course.
  • Our library of filmed resources has been developed in collaboration with the judiciary and our tutors. It includes material such as court hearings, covering criminal trials, proofs, debates, motions and a judicial review as well as a mediation, collaboration and negotiation.
  • You will attend Glasgow Sheriff Court and appear before sheriffs to deliver pleas in mitigation; police officers attend the university to take part in court cases.
  • Our 200 tutors are all highly experienced legal practitioners. They are dedicated, enthusiastic, and keen to share their experience with the next generation of lawyers.

Programme structure

You will take five core and three optional courses. This allows you to select courses which suit your areas of interest or meet the requirements of your future employers in the legal profession. Courses are delivered through a combination of on-line resources, e-modules, lectures and by small group tutorials (12 or less). Our team of highly experienced, enthusiastic and committed tutors, almost all of whom are practising solicitors or advocates, are all focused on ensuring that you meet the requirement of a “Day 1 ready trainee” by the end of each course.

Core courses

  • Civil litigation (incorporating advocacy, rules of procedure, evidence, negotiation and pre-action protocols)
  • Commercial awareness
  • Conveyancing (incorporating purchase, sale and commercial leases)
  • Criminal litigation (incorporating advocacy, evidence and procedure and negotiation)
  • Private client (incorporating wills, trusts, deeds of variation and guardianship).

Optional courses

  • Advanced civil litigation (incorporating advocacy, remedies, debates, proofs and appeals)
  • Advanced criminal litigation (incorporating advocacy)
  • Commercial contracts
  • Commercial conveyancing
  • Contemporary Scottish public law
  • Corporate
  • Family law (incorporating negotiation, mediation, collaboration and litigation)
  • Human rights (incorporating topics such as employment, asylum and immigration, criminal, children's hearing referrals).

Students contemplating a career as an advocate at the Scottish Bar are able to take courses in International Private Law and/or Roman Law at no additional cost. These courses are compulsory entry requirements for the Faculty of Advocates.

Further information

Industry links and employability

Our services to students

Following completion of the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice students must complete a traineeship within a legal firm as a pre-requisite for legal practice.

We strive to increase our students’ employability through our links with the legal profession.

When planning future career choices, Glasgow DPLP students can access

  • The Glasgow Legal 40 mentoring network: exclusive to Glasgow Diploma students
  • Professional Legal Practice events including Glasgow Legal 40 networking events and "Life in Law" autobiographical talks from distinguished members of the profession
  • Expert advice from the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice team
  • Projects such as the CLASP (Corporate Law Advisory Support Project) pilot in which corporate law students advise start-up businesses
  • An annual Law Fair to network with Scottish Law Firms and other employers
  • Strong links with employers leading to information about traineeships and other roles direct from employers
  • Employability website
  • After completion of the programme - invitations to events to improve employability.

Legal 40 mentoring network

The Glasgow Legal 40 is an initiative designed for University of Glasgow School of Law Diploma students. The group of University of Glasgow legal alumni is drawn from all sectors of the legal profession. Its activities include a mentoring programme and a series of events that allow Diploma students to engage with distinguished members of the legal profession and facilitate networking.

Our programme bridges the gap between academia and professional legal practice; the Glasgow Legal 40 is a unique initiative which supports our goal of ensuring our students are not just employable, but sought after by employers. The Director of the Diploma explains: 'The Glasgow Legal 40 initiative has already been of enormous benefit to our students. We are extremely grateful to our alumni who have supported our students in numerous ways and have been enthusiastic in their commitment to this initiative.'

Our Diploma students benefit from

  • Workshops run in conjunction with SIE (Scottish Institute for Enterprise)
  • Advising business start-ups under the supervision of qualified solicitors
  • Supporting students' transition from university to practice
  • Enabling students to draw on the experience of expert mentors
  • Developing student networking skills
  • Providing role models for students pursuing careers in legal practice
  • Increasing student links with the legal profession.

Further Information

Legal Careers

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Please visit our website for information on fees and funding.

Qualification and course duration


full time
9 months

Course contact details

Law and Legal Practice
0141 330 4515