Bournemouth University GDL

bournemouth university logo

Bournemouth University GDL

The Bournemouth University Graduate Diploma in Law/Common Professional Examination (GDL/CPE) is a one year (or two year part-time) course, intended primarily for non-law graduates planning to enter the legal profession.

This course is primarily aimed at non-law graduates from UK universities who are planning to enter the legal profession. If you do not have a UK or Irish undergraduate degree but do have relevant academic qualifications or significant vocational experience, you may also be eligible to join the course – contact us for more details.

Although it is fundamentally aimed at entry to the legal profession, it is a highly valued qualification in its own right and supports a wide range of career opportunities. The course is approved by both The Bar Council and the SRA.

The course offers a learning environment with focused support and attention. The course is based around a small group which means you will benefit from individual time with our academic staff. The teaching team is made up of experienced academics whose education is informed by their professional qualifications and experience and by their research and publication interests.

The course is also delivered part-time at the GTA University Centre (Guernsey) – to apply to study at this location, please click here.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2017, September 2018


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus or GTA University Centre, Guernsey for part-time


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Entry requirements:

A good UK or Republic of Ireland Bachelors Honours degree or equivalent academic or vocational qualifications that meet the entry requirements of the Solicitors Regulation Authority/ The Bar Standards Board. If English is not your first language you’ll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above.

Course details

This course covers the foundations of legal knowledge required by The Law Society and The General Council of the Bar. It has eight taught units.

You’ll have the opportunity to research and write a paper on a further area of law that interests you, and that you may wish to pursue in the future.

You can study this course full-time for one year or part-time for two years at our Talbot Campus, or part-time for two years at the GTA University Centre in Guernsey.

Core units

  • Legal System, Process & Skills: Learn about the main characteristics of the English legal system and legal methodologies. Through building on previously gained transferable academic skills, the unit initiates work with legal sources, processes and reasoning and, in particular, legal research. You’ll be placed in a position to become more effective in Stage 2 where research and other skills will be developed further. Another aim of this unit is to expose you to an area of law outside of those specified by the professional bodies as foundation subjects.
  • Law of Contract: This unit builds on the Legal System, Process and Skills unit, ensuring you can find legal sources and materials and apply the law to a range of formats. This unit links directly with the Land Law, European Union Law and the Law of Torts units. It’s relevant to all areas of the course where you’ll need a systematic and structured approach.
  • Law of Torts: Gain a sound understanding and appreciation of theories and principles of the Law of Torts.
  • Land Law: Develop your understanding of the foundations of Land Law.
  • Law of Trusts: This unit links with Land Law, especially on the division between legal and equitable ownership and in relation to trusts of land.
  • Constitutional & Administrative Law: After completing this unit, you’ll be able to show an understanding of Constitutional and Administrative Law.
  • Criminal Law: Learn about the foundations of criminal liability with particular reference to the major offences.
  • European Union Law: Appreciate the European legal method, the relationship of European community law to the English legal system and particular areas of substantive law.
  • Another Area of Law: You’ll take another unit covering another area of law.

Skipping individual units

If you’ve studied any of these areas of law before and want to apply to skip a unit, your application must be made with evidence before you start the course. We usually ask for transcripts, syllabus and unit specifications. We may also ask you to have a short telephone interview with the course leader.

To skip a unit, you’ll need to apply to:

  • BU if you are considering the Legal Practice course or Solicitor route to legal qualification.
  • The Bar Standards Board if you are considering the BPTC or Barrister route to qualification.

The Bar Standards Board will not recognise any decisions we make about skipping units. If you are in any doubt about your future career path, you should make separate applications to the Bar Standards Board and BU.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University’s taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for Graduate Diploma in Law/CPE.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.