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LLM Professional Law - LLM/PGDL/CPE

  • Level: Postgraduate Taught
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Study mode: Full Time, Part Time
  • Location: City Centre

Looking for a law conversion course in Birmingham? Our LLM Professional Law is open to graduates from all subjects.

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.

Postgraduate Diploma in Law

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

What's covered in the course?

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.

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.
  • Our Law Clinic can give you opportunities to volunteer with local charitable legal advice providers and to work alongside legal professionals undertaking pro-bono work, allowing you to make a genuine difference to the lives of Birmingham residents.
  • 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.

Find out more

Visit us to find out more

Come along to one of our upcoming events where our staff will be on hand to answer all your questions.

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

New £10,906 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,906 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements
Typical Offers (UK Students)

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

Additional information for EU/International students

Applications from international applicants with equivalent qualifications are welcome. Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In additional to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

English language requirements 2017/18

6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

Other accepted qualifications Visit our English language page
International Students

Entry requirements here

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

  • UK students
  • International students


Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £8,800 per year
  • Apply
  • Year 1 (40 credits) £2,000
  • Year 2 (80 credits) £4,000
  • Year 3 (60 credits) £3,000

Fees for Part-time students

This course can be studied on a Part-time study basis. The cost per year of study is based on credit requirements for that year as shown here.


Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £13,200 per year
  • Apply
  • Year 1 (40 credits) £3,000
  • Year 2 (80 credits) £6,000
  • Year 3 (60 credits) £4,500

Fees for Part-time students

This course can be studied on a Part-time study basis. The cost per year of study is based on credit requirements for that year as shown here.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF 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 up to a maximum of five per cent.

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

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.

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

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 £10,906 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans


In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

Criminal Law
20 credits

The 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.

Law of Obligations
20 credits

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 (focused on the more common tortious wrongs, associated defences and remedies) in English law.

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.

Property Law
20 credits

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 principals 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.

Independent Research Project
20 credits

This module enables you to pursue a 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.

Legal Method
0 credits

The module accommodates the requirement of the Joint Academic Standards Board, comprising the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority and Bar Standards Board, for students to acquire a knowledge and understanding of the fundamental doctrines and principles which underpin the law of England and Wales.

Advanced Legal Research Methods
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.

Dissertation / Live Project / Placement
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.

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.

For more information on attendance requirements, course contact time and suggested self-study hours, download the course specification.

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

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.

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 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 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

Lauren Haddock Staff Profile Picture 100x150

Lauren Haddock

Senior Lecturer, Course Director for the Postgraduate Diploma in Law/LLM Professional Law

Lauren Haddock joined Birmingham City University in July 2015, following a number of years as a visiting lecturer whilst working in the industry.

Full Profile

Sarah Cooper Staff Profile Picture 2017 100x150

Dr Sarah Cooper

Director of Research, Reader in Interdisciplinary Legal Studies

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.

Full Profile

Dr Ewan Kirk

Senior Lecturer

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.

Full Profile

Jill Molloy

Senior Lecturer

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.

Full Profile

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.

Full Profile