LLM Professional Law - LLM/PGDL/CPE *

Attendance:
Full Time, Part Time
Starting:
September 2017
Campus:
Fees:
£7,900 per year for UK/EU Full Time 2017 entry (view all fees)
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In order to get you to the correct application form, we need to ask you a couple of questions:
1

Our LLM Professional Law course, which incorporates the Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL) / Common Professional Examination (CPE), will provide you with a Master’s-level qualification. You don't need a Law degree to apply - the course is available to any student with a qualifying honours degree in any subject.

While most providers deliver the course at graduate level as the Common Professional Examination / Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL), we have designed this course so that successful completion provides both a qualification at Master’s level and professional body accreditation.

Postgraduate Diploma in Law

Our PGDL is also available as a standalone course, if you do not wish to complete the full Masters course..

This course is accredited by the Joint Academic Stage Board, which represents the Solicitors Regulatory Authority and the Bar Standards Board of England and Wales, and upon completion you are eligible to undertake the next stage of legal training (the Legal Practice course if you want to become a solicitor or the Bar Professional Training course if you want to become a barrister).

Why Choose Us?

  • You’ll have regular support from tutors in a friendly and supportive learning environment.
  • This course is a conversion LLM – you don’t need a degree in Law to be eligible to study it.
  • The course is focused on practice-led, skills-based teaching and assessment.
  • You may have the opportunity to undertake an internship in the US, strengthening your employability prospects.
  • You’ll also have the chance to get involved with pro-bono projects in the UK, as well as other legal work experience that contributes towards your final award for the course.
  • Birmingham City University has just launched the UK's first Centre for Brexit Studies, researching all aspects of the UK's vote to leave the EU, including the impact it has on domestic law and legislation.

This course is open to International students

School of Law

Discover the School of Law

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

*Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2016

Campus Tours - Postgraduate

Didn't make it to an Open Day? You still have the opportunity to come and see what our postgraduate courses have to offer. If you would like to enquire about campus tour availability, just drop us an email.

*DLHE Survey 2015/16

Subject to approval

The content of this course has been refreshed and updated to make sure you graduate with the skills employers need in an ever-changing job market.

Our quality control experts are currently reviewing the content and we anticipate receiving formal approval shortly.

Entry Requirements

UK students
Essential

Minimum Second Class UK degree or international equivalent in any subject area.

EU / International students
English language requirements 2017/18
IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.0 minimum in all bands
Other accepted qualifications Visit our English language page

International Students

Entry requirements here

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
LLM/PGDL/CPE Sep 2017 FT 1 year £7,900 per year Apply online now
PT 2 Years £7,900 pro-rata

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
LLM/PGDL/CPE Sep 2017 FT 1 year £12,000 per year Apply online now
PT 2 Years £12,000 pro-rata

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Full Time Applications

To apply for this course full time, please fill in the application form on the Graduate Diploma in Law Central Application Board website.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements

.

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Additional costs

Students are required to purchase textbooks for each module, which range from roughly £30. Although not required, on some modules students may be advised to purchase a ‘cases and materials’ book, but second-hand versions are often appropriate.

The US placement also requires students to self-finance travel and accommodation while they are there. 

Find additional costs for your course

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Stage One - Full Time

The following modules apply to Full Time students.

Criminal Law
20 credits

This module will provide a comprehensive overview of common criminal offences against persons, property offences and defences under English law, as largely prescribed by domestic statutes and common law (case law). Through this overview, you will develop crucial practical skills, namely how to effectively undertake research, interpret and analyse sources of law and apply those findings to solve problems.

Constitutional and Administrative Law
20 credits

This module will explore the UK constitutional framework including sources of law, institutions, and key constitutional principles. It will enable you to develop a critical understanding of the UK constitutional institutions involved in the legislative process, including accountability mechanisms. You will explore UK administrative law which is concerned with review mechanisms which hold the Executive to account. You will also develop critical problem-solving skills by applying administrative law mechanisms to everyday problem scenarios.

Law of Obligations
20 credits

The Law of Obligations is a core module and covers two of the seven foundations of legal knowledge that must be successfully completed in order to proceed to the next stage of training for entry into the legal profession. The module aims to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the law of contract (introducing you to the ways in which the law regulates, polices and enforces contracts) and the law of tort (focussed on the more common tortious wrongs, associated defences and remedies) in English law.

Stage Two - Full Time

The following modules apply to Full Time students.

Property Law
20 credits

Property Law is a core module and covers two of the seven foundations of legal knowledge that must be successfully completed in order to proceed to the next stage of training to qualify into the legal profession. The module aims to provide you with an intellectually stimulating and practice-led, knowledge-applied education in both land law (the law of property as it relates to land) and equity and the law of trusts. The module will provide you with a sound basis of the knowledge needed in order for you to apply the legal concepts and principles involved in property law to typical legal problems from land law and trust law practice.

Law of the EU
20 credits

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the concept of the European Union as an organisation and, more particularly, to provide you with an intellectually stimulating and academically rigorous education in how the organisation of this body and the regulation that comes from it affects the UK. This will be approached through a critical examination of the EU as an organisation, and key aspects of substantive law, as well as a critical appraisal of how they apply in the UK, in addition to a problem based approach to learning and assessment.

Optional Module
20 credits

Students will have the option of one of the following modules. They are both worth 20 credits each.

American Legal Placement

The aim of this module is for students to experience a fusion of law and practice in an international context. This module provides students with the opportunity (subject to an application process) to apply to study abroad by undertaking an internship in America.

The module provides you with an overview of the American criminal or civil justice process and an opportunity to apply that knowledge and develop key legal practice and research skills through undertaking an internship in the United States and classroom exercises designed out of ‘real life’ examples. As such, the module delivers the ultimate ‘practice-led and knowledge applied’ approach to learning.

Independent Research Project

This module enables you to pursue detailed study of a particular topic within a field of law or jurisprudence (the theory or principles behind the law) that is of particular interest to you where the School of Law has expertise.

The module accommodates the specific requirement of the professional bodies of one other area of legal study, in addition to the study of the seven foundations of legal knowledge which must be successfully completed by anyone wanting to proceed to the next stage of training for entry into the legal profession.

Stage Three - Full Time

The following modules apply to Full Time students.

Advanced Legal Research
20 credits

This module enables you to gain enhanced knowledge and understanding of the techniques needed for advanced legal research. It serves a double purpose. As a foundation to other Level 7 modules in law, it supports you in acquiring the knowledge of research methods and skills in applying those methods required to succeed in postgraduate legal research – both in scholarship and for practitioners.

Secondly, the module as a whole and the particular mode of assessment are both designed to provide you with the essential foundation and framework for completing the Dissertation, and substantial support towards completion of a Live Project or Placement at postgraduate level.

Dissertation or Extended Placement Module
40 credits

The aim of this module is to provide a framework for you to undertake a piece of disciplinary-relevant research at Masters level the output of which may be either a placement, integrated project or dissertation. This is founded upon Birmingham City University’s teaching and learning philosophy which integrates theory into practice. The module allows you to conduct a study integrating the principles, tools and methods from your programme in particular the study of research paradigms and development of achievable methodologies in the Advanced Legal Research Methods module.

The format for the study whether it be a placement, practice-led integrated project or dissertation will vary depending on which one you choose, however it must relate to the specific programme that you are study on.

Dissertation

Conducting a dissertation allows you to engage in the rigorous study of a clearly defined legal topic or issue which may be in a legal practice context where appropriate. You will be required to write academically to a level of critical scholarship illustrating critical selection, categorisation and reflection. Studying a dissertation allows you to develop a higher level of knowledge and critical awareness through self-directed learning and autonomous enquiry. You will assess and reconcile complex legal issues or issues relevant to legal practice and present them in an academic and authoritative format.

Live Project

This has to adhere to the framework of ethical approval applied within the School of Law and will involve working alongside researchers within the School of Law and/or further afield in conjunction with an employer or one of our partners. Conducting a project requires you to possess a high degree of professionalism, the ability to manage the supervisory relationship and be able to collaborate with other stakeholders. Completion of the project allows you to specialise in a chosen field or area related to your legal study that shows critical knowledge and the application of research but also the demonstration of an outcome (result of the project).

Placement

This option allows you to develop practical and academic skills by undertaking a placement or internship of work in a field allied to your programme. You will have the opportunity to resolve complex problems involving law or legal practice in a logical and professional manner as well as experience the relationship between the substantive and practical aspect of law in society. Through the application of learned skills, such as research, project planning and demonstration of professionalism you will be able to resolve practical problems and where possible, to devise remedial strategies. You will also develop confidence through direct contact with professionals in the field of your study. Ultimately you will be required to produce a piece of extended critical and reflective writing upon your placement experience.

Part Time - All Stages

The following modules apply to Part Time students.

Stage One

Law of Obligations
20 credits

The Law of Obligations is a core module and covers two of the seven foundations of legal knowledge that must be successfully completed in order to proceed to the next stage of training for entry into the legal profession. The module aims to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the law of contract (introducing you to the ways in which the law regulates, polices and enforces contracts) and the law of tort (focussed on the more common tortious wrongs, associated defences and remedies) in English law.

Stage Two

Property Law
20 credits

Property Law is a core module and covers two of the seven foundations of legal knowledge that must be successfully completed in order to proceed to the next stage of training to qualify into the legal profession. The module aims to provide you with an intellectually stimulating and practice-led, knowledge-applied education in both land law (the law of property as it relates to land) and equity and the law of trusts. The module will provide you with a sound basis of the knowledge needed in order for you to apply the legal concepts and principles involved in property law to typical legal problems from land law and trust law practice.

Stage Three

Constitutional and Administrative Law
20 credits

This module will explore the UK constitutional framework including sources of law, institutions, and key constitutional principles. It will enable you to develop a critical understanding of the UK constitutional institutions involved in the legislative process, including accountability mechanisms. You will explore UK administrative law which is concerned with review mechanisms which hold the Executive to account. You will also develop critical problem-solving skills by applying administrative law mechanisms to everyday problem scenarios.

Criminal Law
20 credits

This module will provide a comprehensive overview of common criminal offences against persons, property offences and defences under English law, as largely prescribed by domestic statutes and common law (case law). Through this overview, you will develop crucial practical skills, namely how to effectively undertake research, interpret and analyse sources of law and apply those findings to solve problems.

Stage Four

Law of the EU
20 credits

The Law of Obligations is a core module and covers two of the seven foundations of legal knowledge that must be successfully completed in order to proceed to the next stage of training for entry into the legal profession. The module aims to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the law of contract (introducing you to the ways in which the law regulates, polices and enforces contracts) and the law of tort (focussed on the more common tortious wrongs, associated defences and remedies) in English law.

Optional Module
20 credits

Students will have the option of one of the following modules. They are both worth 20 credits each.

American Legal Placement

The aim of this module is for students to experience a fusion of law and practice in an international context. This module provides students with the opportunity (subject to an application process) to apply to study abroad by undertaking an internship in America.

The module provides you with an overview of the American criminal or civil justice process and an opportunity to apply that knowledge and develop key legal practice and research skills through undertaking an internship in the United States and classroom exercises designed out of ‘real life’ examples. As such, the module delivers the ultimate ‘practice-led and knowledge applied’ approach to learning.

Independent Research Project

This module enables you to pursue detailed study of a particular topic within a field of law or jurisprudence (the theory or principles behind the law) that is of particular interest to you where the School of Law has expertise.

The module accommodates the specific requirement of the professional bodies of one other area of legal study, in addition to the study of the seven foundations of legal knowledge which must be successfully completed by anyone wanting to proceed to the next stage of training for entry into the legal profession.

Stage Five

Advanced Legal Research
20 credits

This module enables you to gain enhanced knowledge and understanding of the techniques needed for advanced legal research. It serves a double purpose. As a foundation to other Level 7 modules in law, it supports you in acquiring the knowledge of research methods and skills in applying those methods required to succeed in postgraduate legal research – both in scholarship and for practitioners.

Secondly, the module as a whole and the particular mode of assessment are both designed to provide you with the essential foundation and framework for completing the Dissertation, and substantial support towards completion of a Live Project or Placement at postgraduate level.

Dissertation or Extended Placement Module
40 credits

The aim of this module is to provide a framework for you to undertake a piece of disciplinary-relevant research at Masters level the output of which may be either a placement, integrated project or dissertation. This is founded upon Birmingham City University’s teaching and learning philosophy which integrates theory into practice. The module allows you to conduct a study integrating the principles, tools and methods from your programme in particular the study of research paradigms and development of achievable methodologies in the Advanced Legal Research Methods module.

The format for the study whether it be a placement, practice-led integrated project or dissertation will vary depending on which one you choose, however it must relate to the specific programme that you are study on.

Dissertation

Conducting a dissertation allows you to engage in the rigorous study of a clearly defined legal topic or issue which may be in a legal practice context where appropriate. You will be required to write academically to a level of critical scholarship illustrating critical selection, categorisation and reflection. Studying a dissertation allows you to develop a higher level of knowledge and critical awareness through self-directed learning and autonomous enquiry. You will assess and reconcile complex legal issues or issues relevant to legal practice and present them in an academic and authoritative format.

Live Project

This has to adhere to the framework of ethical approval applied within the School of Law and will involve working alongside researchers within the School of Law and/or further afield in conjunction with an employer or one of our partners. Conducting a project requires you to possess a high degree of professionalism, the ability to manage the supervisory relationship and be able to collaborate with other stakeholders. Completion of the project allows you to specialise in a chosen field or area related to your legal study that shows critical knowledge and the application of research but also the demonstration of an outcome (result of the project).

Placement

This option allows you to develop practical and academic skills by undertaking a placement or internship of work in a field allied to your programme. You will have the opportunity to resolve complex problems involving law or legal practice in a logical and professional manner as well as experience the relationship between the substantive and practical aspect of law in society. Through the application of learned skills, such as research, project planning and demonstration of professionalism you will be able to resolve practical problems and where possible, to devise remedial strategies. You will also develop confidence through direct contact with professionals in the field of your study. Ultimately you will be required to produce a piece of extended critical and reflective writing upon your placement experience.

Course Structure

For the first part of the course, you will learn primarily through a focus on problem-based learning supported by face-to-face teaching sessions and directed learning exercises provided through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle).

In this first part of the course (the PGDL stage) you will learn about how to study law and how to present legal argument, as well as the key substantive legal rules and principles relating to certain ‘foundation’ areas of law. For those who have enrolled for the LLM version of the course, the Masters stage of the course enables you to further develop your legal knowledge, research, presentation and analysis skills either in relation to a particular theoretical topic of interest to you or in the context of a practical placement.

Teaching sessions and directed learning exercises will be designed to help develop the skills and techniques needed to successfully complete the module assessments, and to forge a successful career in the legal sector. Engagement with teaching sessions and materials on the VLE is monitored by teaching staff to encourage engagement and provide a basis for individual and group feedback.

There are a range of assessments on the course, including oral assessment, written coursework, portfolios, employer assessment, reflective essays and more traditional exams. The range of assessments has been designed to ensure achievement of the course learning outcomes and the development of skills that we view as essential for a future successful career in practice or the further study of law, while retaining balance to ease assessment pressure points.

Hours of study – Full-time students

During semesters one and two, you will usually be required to attend eight to twelve hours of face-to-face teaching sessions each week (spread over two days) and dedicate at least a further 32 additional hours to completion of directed learning tasks, background reading and preparation for the teaching sessions.

Hours of study – Part-time students

During semesters one and two, you will usually be required to attend four to six hours of face-to-face teaching sessions each week (over one day) and dedicate at least a further 16 additional hours to completion of directed learning tasks, background reading and preparation for the teaching sessions.

For those who have enrolled on the full time LLM version of the course, in semester three you will undertake an online course on advanced legal research methods/practical legal research, and either a dissertation or an extended placement and reflective piece of writing on your placement experiences. This module will take place in semester 5 for Part Time students

Students choosing the dissertation option will need to communicate with their supervisor on regular occasions throughout the module. 

Our course is accredited by the Joint Academic Stage Board (representing the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority and the Bar Standards Board).

International Opportunities

Our American Legal Practice module provides you with the opportunity to undertake an internship in the United States (subject to an approval process), where you could gain work experience in a law office, innocence project or judge’s chambers. The placement also requires you to fund your travel and living costs.

Further Study

Upon completion of the GDL, there are a range of courses you could then study to further increase your knowledge and employability. Options for further study at our University include:

  • LPC
  • LLM Human Rights
  • LLM International Business Law
  • PhD

Student stories Darren Middleton

I chose to study at Birmingham City University as it offered me the chance to obtain the qualifications that I wanted at a competitive price. They gave me the opportunity to achieve my qualifying law degree in the form of the Graduate Diploma in Law / Common Professional Examination (GDL/CPE) and go on to do the Legal Practice Course (LPC), which I am currently studying, so that I am able to become a lawyer.

The staff on the GDL/CPE are so enthusiastic, approachable and knowledgeable about their subject areas. For the vast majority of my time in the School of Law, I have benefited from small class sizes and strong contact with tutors.

Employment Opportunities

Previous students have gone on to successful careers in the legal professions. We have recent ex-students currently working as solicitors at  regional law firms such as Duncan Lewis, Syeds Law Office Solicitors and Wragge & Co, as well as national and international firms, such as and at national and international firms such as DLA Piper. We also have ex-students who have qualified as barristers and one who is a QC.

We also have a number of students who have used the course to further their own business or current career paths and those who have entered non-legal professions (such as banking). 

Our GDL includes several ways you can help improve your employability: 

  • Graduate Plus Scheme
  • US internship (within an optional module)
  • UK work placement (within an optional module)
  • Pro bono projects that provide voluntary legal work experience opportunities and networking opportunities
  • Parliament and Supreme Court trip
  • Legal careers sessions and networking events
  • Debating and Mooting societies

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs
Student stories - Julian B. Knowles QC

After completing the Common Professional Examination (CPE) - now known as the Graduate Diploma in Law - in 1993, Julian B Knowles has built a distinguished career as a barrister specialising in criminal law and human rights law.

Making the move to London after graduation, he spent a year at the Inns Court School of Law and went on to spend time as a pupil barrister, before commencing practice in 1995.

Making his mark early, he won his first House of Lords case after being in practice for less than a year. No stranger to working on cases attracting global media attention, he went on to successfully defend General Pinochet and Siôn Jenkins, and he is also part of a team of counsel that has fought against the death penalty around the world.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Curzon facilities eatery
Curzon facilities staircase
Curzon facilities student hub

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

The Curzon Building

This course is based at the City Centre Campus – and specifically The Curzon Building, alongside other Law, Business, Social Sciences and English courses

The £63m building offers students a unique social learning space, including a dedicated student hub incorporating student support services, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development.

The facilities at the Curzon building include two bespoke Law Courtrooms, replicating a Crown court and a Magistrates court. These rooms will play a key part in your learning experience, allowing you to try your hand in mock court cases, whilst also being the venue for our Mooting and Debating Societies.

On top of this, the Curzon building houses an extensive Law library, with books covering every aspect of Law history.

The Curzon Building also features:

  • An impressive new library with access to over 65 million full text items and stunning views of Eastside City Park
  • Your Students’ Union which is located in a beautifully restored 19th century pub, The Eagle and Ball
  • A modern 300-seat food court with space to study and socialise
  • Brand new, accessible IT facilities with full Office365 for all students for free
  • Shared facilities with the wider campus including the Parkside Building and Millennium Point

Sarah Cooper Staff Profile Picture 2017 100x150

Dr Sarah Cooper

Interim Director of Research / Reader in Law

Dr Sarah Cooper is a Reader in Law and Interim Director of Research in the School of Law. Sarah teaches English Criminal Law, and leads the School of Law’s modules in American Criminal Procedure and Evidence, and American Legal Practice, which prepares students to be interns in the United States.

Dr Ewan Kirk

Senior Lecturer and Tutor LLB Year 3

Ewan Kirk is currently the Senior Personal Tutor on the LLB Programme within the Law School. Ewan currently teaches EU Law and Intellectual Property Law at undergraduate and postgraduate level. His areas of research interest include intellectual property law and internet law.

Jill Molloy

Senior Lecturer, LLB Year 1 Tutor, Module Leader for Evidence, Proof and Argument

Jill Molloy is a Senior Lecturer in Law, and LLB Year 1 Tutor. She is the module leader for Evidence, Proof and Argument and co-teaches the lectures in Criminal Law on the LLB.

Sonya Smith

Sonya Smith

Deputy Head of the School of Law (Academic Programme Development)

Sonya Smith is Deputy Head of the School of Law (Academic Programme Development) at Birmingham City University. Prior to joining the University Sonya was previously a solicitor dealing first of all with family law matters, then moving into employers’ liability and personal injury claims.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295