Just a short distance from the coastline, the University of Central Lancashire is located in the City of Preston – officially the cheapest city overall for students to live in the UK. When we asked what they’d recommend about studying the GDL at UCLan, one student answered, “Price.”
The class times are “handy”: “I also completed it full time with a distinction whilst working 30 hours a week”, the student adds. Either they’re a GDL prodigy, or the way the teaching is structured really does give you a lot of time for life beyond the law books. The GDL classes only take place twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, timetabled between 2pm-8pm.
The GDL cohort is very small. There’s a higher tutor to student ratio than on most GDL courses across the country: “There were only eight of us on the course”, another student reports. As you’d expect at any GDL provider, the quality of teaching varies “wildly”, but it’s “overall very good”. Tutors are generally attentive to students’ needs, but “the best feedback, was on the dissertation”.
Most of the small group seminars take place in the grand, red brick Lancashire Law School. The building gives GDL students access to the moot courtroom, as well as the student-led Law Clinic, which offers free legal advice on issues ranging from accidents and injuries, family and immigration, to commercial, employment and consumer rights matters.
To pass the seven core law modules, you’ll need to sit an exam. But unlike at most GDL providers, the English Legal System is assessed by a compulsory moot. If you’re not the barrister type and thought you could avoid mooting at law school, at UCLan you’ll have to give it a go, but that’s not a bad thing. You might even discover new skills you didn’t know you had.
To break away from the law books, GDL students enjoy spending time in UCLan’s Students’ Union. It includes a video games room, and organises events such as hip hop ping pong, BBQs, and an outdoor cinema in the summer. You can also stroll along the River Ribble, which snakes its way through the city.
The Preston experience gives you the best of both worlds. Although it’s an uber-traditional city, it’s also a lively home to 30,000 students. It’s close to Manchester, where there are plenty of law firms to get involved with via open days and vacation scheme opportunities. Blackpool’s beaches aren’t far. But if it’s real calm that you need, the Lake District is only 40 minutes away.