The PGDL route is ideal for those who want to fast-track their legal careers yet have completed a non-law degree or an LLB law degree from outside England and Wales. While the LLB Law program in the UK lasts 3 years, the PGDL can be completed in one year, full-time (or two years, part-time).

The PGDL is law conversion courses and cover the foundations of legal knowledge required for non-law graduate entry to both the solicitors’ and barristers’ professions before taking the SQE or LPC and undertaking a training contract (for aspiring solicitors) or BPTC and pupillage (for aspiring barristers).

On a full-time basis, each week you’ll have around 45 hours of lectures, tutorials, and self-study culminating in a three-hour final exam on each subject. The core subjects are the following:

  • Contract Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Equity and Trusts
  • European Union Law
  • Land Law
  • Public Law
  • Tort
  • Company law

Online PGDL vs In-Person PGDL

The entry requirements, content, and fees for online PGDL courses are generally the same as those of the on-campus courses. However, there are differences in the level of convenience and relationship with the course, peers, and lecturers that need to be considered before applying for the online PGDL. Below, the advantages and disadvantages of the online PGDL have been outlined.

Benefits of Studying the PGDL Online

There are several benefits to taking a PGDL distance learning course. They include:

  • Allowing you to qualify as a lawyer in the UK whilst living/working at home/abroad, saving you money and time relocating
  • Always having access to learning resources online so that you can go over a subject you’re having problems with as many times as you want (especially if you have missed lectures or classes)
  • Self-paced learning and independence in constructing your own study schedule to suit your individual needs
  • The ease at which you can balance your studies with other activities, such as exercise, work, and volunteering due to time saved travelling to and from the university
  • More time available to study and prepare for lectures and classes

Disadvantages of PGDL Distance Learning

The convenience of distance learning does not come without costs. The disadvantages of this form of learning include:

  • Missing out on extracurricular activities that require physical attendance e.g., some pro-bono projects or society events
  • A lack of interpersonal communication with peers and lecturers. Emails and Facebook or Whatsapp group chats do not compensate for face-to-face interaction
  • Possible lack of concentration and increased procrastination when studying from home and/or looking at a screen for a prolonged period of time
  • Lack of individual attention and feedback
  • Difficulty contacting professors and admin support when you can’t visit their offices on demand as it may take a while for your emails to be responded to.
  • Possible internet connectivity issues that may make the study process more difficult

Advantages and Disadvantages of in-person PGDL

The in-person PGDL has the converse advantages and disadvantages to those of the online PGDL.

Online PGDL Providers in the UK




Full-Time/ Part Time 

Course Start Dates

Entry Requirements

BPP University

Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, London, Manchester

Full-time & Part-time: £9,661 (Birmingham, Bristol and Cambridge), £9,538 (Manchester and Leeds), £11,938 (London, Online)

Full-time, Part- time

September, January , and May

2:1 or equivalent

University of Central Lancashire


Full-time £8000 per year, Part time £4250 per year

Full-time, Part- time

September, January

2:2 or equivalent. May be considered without degree

University of Law

Bristol, Exeter, Birmingham, Guildford, Reading, Chester, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Nottingham

Outside London -£9,850, London - £12,250, Hong Kong -HKD $100,000

Full-time, Part- time

October, May

2:2 or equivalent

Leeds Beckett University



Full-time, Part- time

September , January

2:2 or equivalent

Northumbria University

Newcastle upon Tyne

UK and EU - £8,720, International Fee -£8,720



Honours Degree, may be considered without degree

Nottingham Trent University


Full-time (9 months) -£8,890, Distance learning (2 years) - Year 1-£4,445, Year 2: £4,445*



2:2 or equivalent 

University of Wolverhampton


UK- £7800 per year, International fee- £13950 per year



A degree

Online PGDL Funding

There are several ways in which you could finance your PGDL studies. These include:

  • Law school scholarships
  • Loans
  • Law school flexible pricing structures
  • Inns of court scholarships
  • Law firm sponsorships

Law School Scholarships

BPP University PGDL Scholarships

The institution offers a number of scholarships for PGDL students, including BUT not limited to:



Eligibility Criteria

Career Commitment Scholarship


Aptitude for a legal career – evidence of strong communication and leadership skills, innovation or entrepreneurship skills, and resilience Strong work ethic - circumstances where you have shown exceptional discipline and drive, in an academic, professional or personal context Commitment to the legal profession - relevant work experience (legal or otherwise), pro bono or voluntary work Academic excellence – any relevant achievements in addition to grades Personal background – BPP welcomes candidates from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in law

Full Fee Scholarship

Full fee

As above

Dean of Law School Scholarship

Full fee

Aimed at high achieving students who can demonstrate an outstanding standard of academic achievement and commitment to their legal career.

Future Leader Scholarship

Full fee

Offered to those showcasing outstanding leadership skills or innovation ability, with the drive and ambition to become a future leader within the legal profession.

Lord Holmes Scholarship

Full fee

Awarded to those demonstrating a unique and inspiring legal career journey - overcoming obstacles or providing outstanding contribution to charitable causes.

University of Law PGDL Scholarships



Eligibility Criteria

Set for Success

Full fee

2:2 or above, come from a household with an income of £25,000 or less

Choose Law

£2000 and full fee

2:2 or above, come from a household with an income of £25,000 or less

Law First


1st or a Distinction at master's level Highest score in online assessment

The Lord Blunkett Widening Access Awards


2:1 or above, come from a household with an income of £25,000 or less, highest score in the online assessment

Charles Russell Speechlys Scholarship


2:1 or above, come from a household with an income of £25,000 or less, highest score in online assessment

Nottingham Postgraduate Award


You will need to have offered, accepted and been sent confirmation of your acceptance of a course place with the University

Nottingham Trent University

NTU awards Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL) scholarships worth up to the value of half the tuition fee.

Other Universities

The other universities listed above offer scholarships for prospective PGDLstudents as part of wider postgraduate courses funding schemes.

Some non-university organisations also offer postgraduate scholarships. FindAMasters offer postgraduate scholarships available for all subject areas at any university currently listed on


The Student Loans Company Postgraduate Loan worth up to £11,222 is available for students applying through Student Finance England and joining a PGDL course after 1st August 2020. Students must be either a UK national resident in England or Wales or an EU national resident in England on the first day of first academic year but within with EEA throughout the preceding three yea

Alternatively, many high-street banks and companies offer loans too. Lendwise is a specialist UK education finance platform focused on postgraduate loans and professional qualifications. There is also a company called Future Finance who offer flexible student loans for university between £2000 – £40,000.

PGDL Sponsorship via Law Firms and Inns of Court

If you are pursuing a career as a solicitor and you secure a training contract before commencing your studies, your law firm may offer to cover the PGDL costs for you. Some law firms may even offer to retrospectively pay for your PGDL fees if you’ve already started the course.

If you want to become a barrister, the four Inns of court offer scholarships to pay for both your PGDL and your BPTC (which you have to take after the PGDL). To succeed in getting a scholarship, you need to: demonstrate intellectual ability; demonstrate motivation to succeed at the Bar; demonstrate ability to get on with a range of people; and financial need is also taken into account.

Law School Flexible Pricing

It is worth noting that BPP and the University of Law offer the option to pay your PGDL costs in instalments by direct debit, making it easier for students to fund their course through lower installment amounts.

For example, the University of Law offers different payment arrangements:

  • Single payment;
  • Two instalments: one in September, one in January;
  • Four instalments: one in September, one in December, one in February and one in May;
  • Ten instalments: between September to June


The online PGDL would most likely benefit those who want to work full-time or part-time while studying and want the flexibility and time savings that distanced learning offers, allowing them to balance their studies and work experiences that may aid their future careers. Conversely, if that does not apply to you, taking advantage of in-person studies allows you to build a rapport with fellow PGDL students and lecturers to reap the full benefits of face-to-face interaction, such as, frequent individual participation and enhanced feedback processes.

By Elissa Abbara