Qualifying with a non-law degree

The qualification system for solicitors has changed. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has introduced a new route to qualifying as a solicitor: the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

This page covers the previous system, which applied until autumn 2021, and still applies during the 10-year transition period to 2031 if you’re already on the path to qualifying.

Find out more about the Solicitors Qualifying Examination

If you have a degree in a subject that is not law, you can study the foundations of legal knowledge by taking the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).

This is sometimes called the law conversion course or the Common Professional Examination (CPE).

The GDL can usually be taken full-time for one year, or part-time for two years.

See the SRA’s list of GDL providers

Checklist for non-law undergraduates

  • Apply for a place on a GDL course
  • Research the type of firm or organisation that interests you and prepare your CV
  • Apply for vacation work experience schemes at firms you're interested in
  • Apply for a period of recognised training in your final term
  • Arrange funding for the GDL course (this may be through gaining a period of recognised training with an organisation that will sponsor you)
  • Attend law fairs and open days to meet firms face to face

Autumn term

Apply for a place on the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for the following year

Apply for a period of recognised training if you don’t already have one

Spring term

Optional steps:

  • Enrol as a student member of the SRA
  • Get a certificate of completion for the academic foundation of your training

The SRA no longer requires you to get a certificate of completion.

Summer term or after graduation

  • Arrange funding for the LPC

If you’ve secured a period of recognised training, your organisation may pay for this.

You can also:

  • apply for any scholarships or bursaries your training provider offers
  • apply for our Diversity Access Scheme
  • pay for the LPC yourself, if you can afford to do this

Qualifying as a disabled student

Education providers such as universities must make reasonable adjustments for disabled people if they are at a substantial disadvantage. For example, they must:

  • make special arrangements for exams and assignments, such as giving you extra time or special equipment
  • give you materials in a range of formats
  • give you support with study skills
  • make sure the exam room suits your needs

Before starting your course at university, you should:

  • give advance notice of your needs
  • make sure you declare your disability and your requirements at least one month before starting the course, if you haven’t in your application

If you’re a student with a learning difficulty, health problem or disability, you can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to cover any extra study-related costs.

You can get DSAs on top of your student finance. You will not need to repay DSAs.

Read more about DSAs on GOV.UK  

Next steps

After your GDL, you'll need to:

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