Online Law Conversion Course Guide

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If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in law, but don’t have a law degree, you will need to take a law conversion course – an intense programme designed to prepare participants for the legal exams required to practise law in the UK.

This guide will focus on what you need to know and think about when exploring your course options, and the types of questions you should be asking the admissions teams once you’ve narrowed down your options.

What is a Law Conversion Course?

A law conversion course is a postgraduate, level 7 qualification that provides a route into the legal profession for individuals with a non-law undergraduate degree. For example, if you graduated with a degree in economics and now want to become a barrister, you’ll need to take a law conversion course before you can take the exams to qualify and practise as a barrister.

There are a number of different types of law conversion courses, but they’re all intensive programmes that cover the main areas of UK law.

Law conversion courses give students a solid foundation in law theory and practice and prepare them to go forward and take the required qualifying exams to practise law in England and Wales.

What Is Covered on a Law Conversion Course?

All law conversion courses cover the 7 foundational areas of law and are designed to bring graduates up to the same level as those who completed a 3-year undergraduate law degree. As such, conversion courses are intense.

7 areas of law covered as a minimum, with many courses covering up to 14 areas of law:

  • Contract law
  • Tort law
  • Criminal law
  • Constitutional/administrative law
  • Land/property law
  • Equity/trusts law
  • European Union law (this will continue to be a foundation subject for the foreseeable future)


Types of Law Conversion Courses

A number of universities still offer the GDL, but most now offer the Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL). You can also take a full Conversion LLM (Master’s of Law).

Here are the different types of law conversion courses:


The original law conversion course covers the 7 areas of law. Some GDL programmes provide elective modules mapped to the SQE for candidates interested in the solicitor route.


Newer version of the GDL mapped to the SQE. The PDGL covers the 7 foundational areas of law, but also focuses on areas likely to be in the SQE. For example, company law isn’t generally covered by GDL courses. Nearly all PGDL courses have a unit on company law.

LLM (Conversion)

Like the PGDL, but a longer course also mapped to the SQE. These courses are attractive for students wanting to get a broader understanding of law and for those looking to use the government backed master’s loan to fund their study.

Online Law Conversion Course Start Dates

The main start dates for law conversion courses are September and January each year. However, many online courses have more start dates available. You can check your chosen course page for specific information on start dates.

Course Duration and Structure

1-year full-time; up to 5 years part-time (check with individual universities about flexibility)

Online Law Conversion Courses Entry Requirements

Law is a highly-competitive field and a demanding professional career. As such, universities are looking for prospective law conversion course students to be able to meet the demands of the subject and intense nature of the course.

Academic Requirements

An undergraduate degree at 2:2 or higher in any subject. Some universities may ask for higher grades.

Applying for an Online Law Conversion Course

We recommend preparing your application 3 months before the course starts, so that you have ample time to get funding in place and prepare all the documents required for the application.

Documents Required

  • Online application form
  • CV
  • Personal statement
  • Previous certificates and transcripts
  • Some universities will also ask for 2 professional or academic references


English Language Requirements – International Students

Law is a complex subject, and the English language requirement can be set higher than for other postgraduate courses.

Generally, you will need an IELTS 7 or above, with a minimum of 6.5 in each area.

Online Law Conversion Learning Format

The flexibility, syllabus and learning experience offered will vary between universities. Some will offer weekly live tutorials, whereas others may offer more flexibility, with tutor interaction and feedback delivered asynchronously.

With an online law conversion course, you’ll access all the learning materials and resources through your university’s online learning platform, or VLE (Virtual Learning Environment).

Conversion Course – Age and Experience

While many take a law conversion course straight after completing an undergraduate degree, you get a varied mix of ages and career experiences with an online law conversion course.

Law schools welcome applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds, and understand the demands of taking an intensive course online while also managing work and family commitments.

For postgraduate degrees, mature students are considered as being over the age of 25, and for online conversion courses, you can find cohorts in which the majority of students are classed as mature.

Online Law Conversion Costs

The costs of an online law conversion course can range from £7,000 up to £15,000.
Most universities offer payment plans, enabling you to spread your tuition costs over the duration of your studies.

How To Fund Your Law Conversion Course

Financial Support
If you’re a UK resident and studying an LLM (Conversion) course, you could be eligible for the UK Government’s Master’s Loan.

A Master’s Loan is the postgraduate version of a student loan – you only repay the loan when you earn over a certain amount after graduating. With a Master’s Loan, you’re paid the money directly, and are able to use the funds for tuition as well as other course costs.

However, this type of loan is only available for full Master’s degrees, which means GDL and PGDL courses aren’t eligible for any government support.

Scholarships and Grants
It’s worth checking with universities if they offer any bursaries or scholarships for their law conversion courses. If nothing is available, it’s also worth checking The Scholarship Hub.

The UK Study Online Scholarship Draw is open to all Level 7 courses with over 120 credits.

Depending on your background, The Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme may also be an option.

You can find out more about funding options for online university studies, including commercial loans.

Useful Links

Search Online Law Courses

Regulation Authority

The Bar Council

2021 Changes Solicitor Degree Requirements

If you started a law degree or a GDL on or before September 2021, you can still take the LPC. However, for everyone else, the SQE route is what you need to take to become a solicitor in England and Wales.

The qualifications and exams you need to become a solicitor in the UK changed in 2021. Previously, law graduates needed to take the LPC (Legal Practice Course), a vocational postgraduate course, to become a qualified solicitor.

To be eligible to take the LPC, you needed to have either:

  • Taken a recognised qualifying law degree, or;
  • Held an unrelated undergraduate degree and completed the GDL (Graduate Law Diploma) conversion course


If you started a qualifying law degree or a GDL prior to September 2021, the LPC route is still open to you until 2036. For everyone else looking to practise as a solicitor, you’ll need to take the SQE 1 & 2 (Solicitors Qualifying Exam).

From September 2021, you don’t need a law degree to become a solicitor in the UK – you just need to hold an undergraduate degree in any discipline and pass the SQE 1 & 2. However, since the exams are challenging, it’s not advisable to attempt the SQE without completing a suitable law degree or conversion course.

To be eligible to become a barrister in the UK, you still need to complete a qualifying law degree or postgraduate law conversion course.

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