Law students

DiplomaProfessional Legal Practice

Why this course?

The diploma qualification is essential for entry to both the solicitors’ and advocates’ branches of the profession. It meets the requirements of the Law Society of Scotland’s Professional Education and Training Stage 1.

The diploma is a vocational course. You’ll learn the ethical rules, practical knowledge and personal skills required of lawyers in Scotland.

We train you to be a practising lawyer. You’ll gain a thorough knowledge of legal principles and an appreciation of the practical context in which they’re applied.

We place great importance on preparing you for what really happens in legal practice by giving you hands-on experience in an office environment. We also use realistic simulations to recreate situations you’ll experience in your work.

As a graduate you’ll be well equipped for the job market in the legal profession or in other fields.

The diploma is offered over one year full-time or two years part-time.

You’ll study

The course starts with a week-long Foundation Skills course for both full-time and part-time students. It consists of lectures, demonstrations and workshops in the following areas:

  • Effective Communications
  • Case Analysis & Problem-Solving
  • Interviewing
  • Legal Drafting
  • Negotiation
  • Advocacy
  • Legal Ethics

The skills gained are further developed and assessed within the core and elective modules taken during the remainder of the course.

The core curriculum consists of seven compulsory modules, plus a choice of five elective modules.


Our library has a wide range of law reports, legislation, serials and monographs. It also has duplicate sets of key law report series, houses extensive collections in government publications and other related areas.

You’ll have access to a wide range of electronic information sources which can be accessed from home, including all the major legal databases.

Course content

Compulsory subjects:

  • Professional Practice & Ethics
  • Business & Financial Awareness
  • Conveyancing
  • Private Client
  • Civil Litigation
  • Criminal Litigation
  • Personal Injury Claims Handling

Plus a choice of five from the following electives:

  • Advanced Criminal Advocacy
  • Advanced Private Client
  • Business Accounting for Legal Professionals
  • Commercial Contracts & IP
  • Commercial Conveyancing
  • Company Law
  • Employment Law in Practice
  • Family Business
  • Family Law
  • Mediation & Mediation Advocacy
  • Practical Public Administration
  • Work-Based Learning Module in Legal Practice

Full-time students

There is a full time all week induction course of skills training in the first week of semester one. There is a further dedicated full-time skills training period in week one of semester two. Teaching of the core classes during the rest of semester one is mostly from Tuesday to Thursday each week. In semester two teaching may take place from Monday to Thursday depending on the elective classes selected.

Part-time students

There is the full-time all week induction course in week one of semester one and the same full-time skills training period in semester two as for the full-time students. Teaching takes place during semester one primarily from 6pm to 8 pm on Tuesday to Thursday. During semester two teaching may take place from Monday to Thursday depending on the elective classes selected.

Learning & teaching

You’re assigned to firms of four at the start of the course. Most of the teaching and learning is done in your firms. Teaching and supervision is provided by practising solicitors, who have been trained as course tutors.

In addition to learning legal subjects, you’ll also develop generic skills which you’ll require for your professional life including:

  • problem solving
  • oral and written presentations
  • interviewing
  • negotiating

Our virtual community & learning environment

The background to much of our practical work is the award- winning ‘virtual’ community of Ardcalloch. Ardcalloch is a town we’ve created. A wide variety of events take place in the town which give rise to legal issues of one kind or another for its citizens. This initiative has a world- wide reputation in legal education.

All these activities are conducted on and supported by the SIMPLE (Simulated Professional Learning Environment) IT process. This allows student firms to interact with clients, fellow firms and other simulated characters throughout a real transaction.

We have standardised clients who are specially trained ‘clients’ who assess and give feedback to you on your performance of legal skills.

Most of our electives involve active participation such as:

  • students conducting Employment Tribunal hearings before real Tribunal judges
  • conducting a criminal trial in the Sheriff Court
  • having client meetings in the negotiation of family disputes

One of the most positive aspects of the course is the opportunity provided to meet both fellow students and tutors. They’ll become fellow practitioners, and your paths will cross regularly during your working life in this relatively small legal jurisdiction.

What do students think of the learning & training they receive?

Here’s a few comments from our graduates:

"I think the firm concept works very well and I cannot speak highly enough of their use as a learning tool."

"The method of teaching is very effective. The firm work allows for us to make any mistakes in a safe environment and prepare us for our traineeships. "

"The teaching approach is very unique. Students have hands on approach to learning. The firm experience was very efficient in promoting good work. The general experience is one of a kind."

Entry requirements

LLB degree (or equivalent) which meets the requirements and outcomes of the Law Society of Scotland’s foundation programme. Please read the Admissions guidance notes for full details of the admissions process.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • 2017/18 - £7,200 (full-time study)

Rest of UK

  • 2017/18 - £7,200 (full-time study)

How can I fund my course?

There are several scholarship opportunities available for students applying for this course. Opportunities include:

For more general information please look at our scholarship search.

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

For a number of eligible courses, Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students can apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students a living cost loan. Find out more about the scheme and what courses are eligible.


Please refer to the Law Society of Scotland Guidance Notes for Students  document.

Financial assistance

See Law Society of Scotland Funding Directory.

Career Development Loans

See the Admissions guidance notes  for further details.

The Pritchard Educational Trust

It was established to assist those who are of academic ability and wish to qualify as solicitors but who, through financial constraints, are unable to do so. Particular emphasis is given to those students embarking on the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice.

Applications for the 2016/2017 session are now open. The deadline is Friday 20 May 2016. You can make an application through the Law Society of Scotland, who deal with the administrative requirements of the trust. Please note all applications are passed on to the trustees for their consideration on an individual basis. The trustees will decide year on year how many grants to distribute, and in recent years between two and five grants of around £2,500 have been distributed. Applications will be considered based on a combination of academic achievements and financial constraints and pressures. All applicants to the Pritchard Trust should provide information about any financial support they are receiving, in addition to the loan from SAAS in this form. 

For more information and to download the application form please visit the Law Society’s website.

All applications and queries should be sent to:

The Clark Foundation for Legal Education

The Foundation invites applications for Grants and Scholarships from persons practising law in Scotland whether as solicitors or advocates and from persons studying at Scottish Universities or other institutions of higher education based in Scotland.

The purpose of the Foundation is to promote and advance the legal and business education and training of Scots lawyers and students of Scots Law. Awards will be made annually in September and application forms should be returned no later than the end of March.  To request an application form please email

Course materials

Materials comprise both textbooks and course handbooks.  All of the compulsory textbooks are available to you at a total discounted price of approximately £260 from the University of Strathclyde branch of John Smith’s bookshop. Hard copies of all necessary handbooks will be £100.  Distribution of the handbooks usually takes place during the first week of term by which point payment is required in full.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


Where are they now?

Here’s some of the roles our graduates are working in:**

Job titles include:

  • Compliance Assistant
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legal Support Officer
  • Paralegal
  • Senior Legal Assistant
  • Trainee Advocate
  • Trainee HR Law Consultant
  • Trainee Solicitor

Employers include:

  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service
  • Victim Support
  • Solicitors’ and Lawyers’ offices

**Based on the results of the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey (2010/11 and 2011/12).

Contact us


Applications for 2016/17 are now closed

Please read the Admissions guidance notes for full details of the application process and the Law Society of Scotland Guidance Notes for Students . You should apply as follows:

  • Strathclyde LLB students who are applying to complete their Diploma at Strathclyde University should apply through the online application form (links below) by Friday 15 April 2016. References are not required.
  • Graduates from other Universities who wish to apply to study for their Diploma at Strathclyde should complete the paper application form which you will get from your graduating University and return it to them, and the online application form below by Friday 15 April 2016. 
  • Strathclyde LLB students who wish to apply to another University to do their Diploma should complete the paper application form  and return it to Kirsty Stewart, Law School, Graham Hills Building, level 7, 50 George Street, G1 1QE or email, This form will then be passed to the University you’ve chosen to apply to and they will then be in touch to confirm receipt of your application.

Take a look at the postgraduate taught applicant guide.

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