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Common Professional Exam - GDL

Why study this course?

Our GDL/Common Professional Examination course is one of the longest running and highest rated of all such courses in London. The Joint Academic Stage Board (of the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board) has given it special commendation for its exceptionally high quality, including teaching, management and careers enhancement initiatives.

It is taught exclusively in the beautifully renovated Guildhall School of Business and Law at 84 Moorgate, right in the heart of the City of London.

In the most recent Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of all 2017 graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

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The Common Professional Exam will give you a sound knowledge of the seven areas of law considered fundamental by the professional bodies.

The course aims to:

  • develop an understanding of the English legal system to provide a thorough grounding in the foundations of legal knowledge
  • train you in the professional skills of legal research, analysis and presentation in a friendly and nurturing environment

You may choose your own title for your research dissertation, subject to approval, which gives you the early opportunity to specialise in an area of particular interest to you.


Assessment includes an examination in each of the seven foundation subjects (each worth 10% of the total assessment), a research essay in a legal area entirely of your own choice (worth 10%), four short essays covering different areas of the foundation subjects (worth a total of 10%), and a case and statute analysis exercise (worth 10%).

There is also a test on the English legal system, which you must pass but which does not normally count towards your final assessment.

You will be required to have:

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Students who have failed any units on the CPE/GDL, LLB or any other law course at this or any other institution will not be considered for a place.

Accelerated study

If you have studied any of the foundation subjects to degree level, you may be able to get exemptions from those subjects and only take the remaining subjects.

To apply for exemptions, you need to present a full transcript of your degree results, including the credit point rating for each subject.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2018/19 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

Following a two-week introductory course on the English Legal System and Legal Method, the course comprises seven taught modules plus a research dissertation in a subject of your own choice. There are additional coursework essays and a case and statute analysis test.

The seven taught modules are the foundation subjects prescribed by the Joint Academic Stage Board on behalf of the Law Society and General Council of the Bar:

  • Criminal Law
  • Obligations A (Contract)
  • Obligations B (Tort)
  • Property Law A (Land Law)
  • Property Law B (Equity and Trusts)
  • UK Public Law and Human Rights
  • Law of the European Union
  • Eighth Area of Legal Study (dissertation)

In the first year, part-time students for the following examinations:

  • Obligations A (Contract)
  • Obligations B (Tort)
  • UK Public Law and Human Rights
  • Law of the European Union

"Studying Law at London Metropolitan University has been one very interesting aspect of my life. I have been able to gain the much needed commercial awareness in today's world. The support I have received from the tutors have given me the ability to stand and discuss on topical issues within and outside the United Kingdom. I have also been motivated to obtain an advanced degree. I strongly believe that the knowledge I have received from my studies at London Metropolitan University would enable me to face the challenges ahead as well as contribute my quota to the development of society."

National Student Survey 2016

On graduation, you'll be eligible to undertake either the Legal Practice Course or Bar Professional Training Course, and from there to proceed either to a training contract with a firm of solicitors or a pupillage in a barrister's chambers.

The Common Professional Exam (CPE) is a well-recognised route to a legal career, and many employers in the legal field actively favour postgraduate students who have a proven expertise outside the area of law.

Success on the CPE will also enable you to apply to take an LLM if you wish to pursue an academic career or simply to expand your legal knowledge.

We're investing in an exciting, multimillion pound transformation of the London Metropolitan University campus, between 2016 and 2020. We’re moving all of our activity to one place, our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching locations of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2018. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of- the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

How to apply

If you're applying for a full-time place on this course, you must do so through the Central Applications Board.

If you're applying for a part-time place, use the apply button to begin your application.

When to apply

You are advised to apply as early as possible as we will only consider your application if there are places available on the course.

Fees and key information

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