With a flashy new £46 million campus which includes two mock courtrooms (“a massive improvement” on the old site), it is impressive that Birmingham City University still offers one of the cheapest GDL’s in the country. Currently at just over £5,000 for the year, it’s half the average GDL price tag in London.
Beyond the futuristic study spaces in the six-storey facilityan insider has said that there’s “some excellent tutors with an in depth knowledge of their subject and a passion for teaching it”. Another has reported that, “we had a couple of incredibly good teachers”. Course materials “pretty much give you everything you need to secure a decent mark”.
There’s less spoon-feeding here and students are encouraged to be more proactive than at traditional GDL providers: “You have to teach yourself a substantial amount of work” comments one student. Feedback is “usually helpful” although “it does require a lot of chasing up and perseverance” and, again, this “is dependent upon the individual student”.
It’s ‘the-more-you-do-the-more-you-get’ culture at play here. When asked about how well the university prepared students for actual legal practice one insider has said that “the course alone may not have prepared me as much as the extra curricular activities that I became involved in”, and “without this I would feel much less confident”. It’s “up to the individual student to pursue the relevant work”. Another adds, “if pursued, the pro bono opportunities available were extremely beneficial and all students should be encouraged to participate”.
There are a number of well-regarded law-related societies, including the “good mooting team”. Historically, the Student Mooting Society has been very successful: in the last 10 years it has beaten some of the country’s most nerdy universities including Oxbridge, Nottingham and Warwick.
Birmingham City has also launched the UK’s first ‘Centre for Brexit Studies’, which has committed to “researching all aspects of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, including the impact it has on domestic law and legislation”. Sounds like a gold mine for stocking up on that commercial awareness.
So while it seems you might have to do a bit more of the running, this GDL is good value for money. Here’s something you hardly ever hear GDL students say: “it’s cheap and it effectively gets you through the GDL course, with decent marks”.