Plymouth University (GDL)

The Legal Cheek View

Home to harbours, marinas and fish markets, Plymouth has got the English seaside feel. For just £6,500, you can do the GDL at Plymouth University — one of the cheapest providers in the country. But note that if you’re planning to continue onto the LPC or BPTC, you’ll have to relocate elsewhere. Good news is that Plymouth has ties with Exeter, Bristol and Bournemouth, all of which do have LPC providers. For the BPTC, Bristol is your closest bet. Or, if you’re chasing the corporate dream, perhaps you’ll move to London.

In terms of teaching, the GDL is taught by “committed staff”. The law school has a more personalised approach to teaching the course, which is enabled by its very small intake of students. Tutors have a mix of backgrounds, and include solicitors, barristers and academics. One thing to note is that GDLers are assessed by a mix of coursework and exams in all of the core law modules, except EU law which is exam-only.

Be sure to check out what the careers service is up to. It runs a law clinic where GDLers can build on their work experience and interact with clients to boost their CVs. There’s opportunities to meet lawyers too – the law school has connections with local solicitors as well as the bar in Devon and Cornwall. The careers advisors also prepare GDLers with application form help, mock interviews and psychometric tests – the bane of any applicant’s life.

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A big perk of doing the GDL at Plymouth is that you’ll have the benefits that come with studying at a wider university environment. GDLers share study spaces with LLB students, and have access to all the social facilities enjoyed by all students at the Plymouth campus. These include sports clubs and various societies, including the Student Law Society.

The society is said to be good at inviting high-profile guest speakers to the campus, and putting on networking socials. They organise an annual mock trial, in which law students work on a mock case before presenting it to real magistrates. Fantastic experience for wannabe barristers. GDLers can also sign up for the client interviewing competition, which is sponsored by Bond Dickson.

On the weekends, have a wander around the Barbican district – an area mostly left undestroyed by the Blitz during WW2. As such, it’s filled with narrow cobbled streets and preserves 100 listed buildings. In the summer, jump into the outdoor Tinside pool, a 1935 art deco lido that overlooks the sea. There’s also an aquarium in the area, with one of the deepest tanks in Europe. But don’t get too close – you may come face to face with the sand tiger sharks that live there.

Key Info

Full time fees £6,500
Entry requirements 2:2
Full time places 30
Part time places n/a