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CPE/Graduate Diploma in Law

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Mode of study

1-year full-time

PG Code


Start date


CPE/Graduate Diploma in Law


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Postgraduate Loans: From 1 August 2016, students who live in England will be able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan in academic year 2016/17 of up to £10,000. Find out more

About the course

The CPE/Graduate Diploma in Law programme has become an established and widely recognised route into both branches of the legal profession.

The Joint Academic Stage Board externally validates the programme, which is specifically designed to enable non-law graduates to satisfy the academic stage of the process of legal training, thereby enabling successful students to embark on a vocational training course with a view to entering the legal profession as a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales.

Following successful completion of the diploma, students are eligible to progress to either the Legal Practice Course for solicitors or the Bar Professional Training Course for those wishing to qualify at the Bar.

Brunel Law School is one of the few London Law Schools to offer this programme. The programme at Brunel allows students to take advantage of the extra-curricular activities and services available to both undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Law School, as well as benefitting from the forward thinking provided by the Law Schools Research Centres.

The programme is offered in 1-year full-time.


The programme covers the compulsory modules that constitute a qualifying Law degree (and therefore exemption from the academic stage of legal training) in an accelerated format.


Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)

Course Content

The CPE in Law programme seeks to cover the 'compulsory' modules, which constitute a qualifying law degree (and therefore exemption from the Academic Stage of Legal Training) in an accelerated one year format. In accordance with The Joint Academic Stage Board regulations, students will be required to undertake eight modules including the seven 'compulsory' modules of the qualifying law degree (see below), and Evidence. Each module will be worth 20 credits and the overall programme will consist of 160 credits taken at level three.

Additionally, students will have to complete a formal induction programme lasting two weeks before the main body of the course begins. This induction programme will involve directed study and a course in English Legal Institutions and Method, and covers essential legal research skills in order to prepare students and furnish them with the basic skills that they will require for the study of law. This full-time programme is intended to run over a single academic year, with 40-50 study hours over 36 weeks, inclusive of a two week period for the formal induction course and a two week examination period at the end of each term.

The CPE/GDL programme consists of both compulsory modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Year 1


Contract Law

Tort Law

Criminal Law

Public Law

Year 2


EU Law

Land Law



Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel



Career opportunities for graduates are wide-ranging. You may take advantage of your professional exemptions and train to become a barrister or solicitor, but your graduate diploma could take you into careers other than law, including industry, commerce, public administration and the social services.

In addition, the course has been attractive to law graduates from other jurisdictions who wish to acquire a thorough grounding in the common law of England and Wales, in order to facilitate international practice from their own jurisdiction.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Entry Criteria 2017/18

  • A UK first or second class (2:1) Honours degree or internationally recognised qualification in an academic discipline other than Law.
  • Applicants with a 2:2 Honours degree or internationally recognised qualification will be assessed on an individual basis by the CPE Director and an interview may be required.
  • Applicants who hold other qualifications and/or have substantial relevant professional work experience will be considered on an individual basis and in such cases an interview may be required by the CPE Director.

If your degree is from an institution outside of the UK and ireland, the Certificate of Academic Standing is no longer required to do the CPE from the Solicitors Regulations Authority, but The Bar Standard Board still requires it.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU Entry Requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)

Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.

However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English. Find out more information about English course and test options.

Teaching and Assessment


Modules will be taught through lectures and seminars.

Students will be required to read set materials in preparation for these classes. These materials will be made available either through the school, in the library or on the web. Students will be expected to discuss the material and undertake research exercises.

Modules are assessed by various combinations of coursework and/or examination. All modules allow for optional formative assessment (i.e. which are not part of your final assessment grades) in order to provide students with ongoing feedback. This should enable students to obtain feedback from teachers and appreciate what is required from written work at an advanced level.

Special Features

Law at Brunel University London is well-established and highly rated for its published scholarship. It is well known amongst law firms for its distinctive undergraduate sandwich courses.

The Law School at Brunel provides a personalised approach to the CPE programme, with a relatively small class cohort that allows students to get to know both the academic staff and each other during the year of study.

The course begins with a two-week, specially designed induction programme, delivered by an experienced CPE lecturer, in order to facilitate your transition to legal studies.

The Law School is currently establishing a CPE Alumni Network that you will be able to benefit from as a student, in the form of talks on careers options and advice, through contact opportunities, and later by joining.

Brunel has an excellent, award-winning Professional Development Centre, with a dedicated contact point for Law.

Fees for 2017/18 entry

UK/EU students: £9,500 full-time

International students: £14,400 full-time

Additional course related costs

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).