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.

Full-time draft timetable

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 8pm 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 & written presentations
  • interviewing
  • negotiating

Our virtual community & learning environment

The background to much of our practical work is the ‘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 are 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."

Fees & funding


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


  • £7,500

Rest of UK

  • £7,500
  • £15,700

How can I fund my course?

There are several scholarship opportunities available for students applying for this course. Please take a look at our scholarship search.

International students

To recognise academic achievement, the Dean's International Excellence Award offers international students a merit-based scholarship of up to £4,000 towards the first year of tuition fees of a full-time Masters programme in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.


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 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 £350 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.

Contact us


Please note: Applications for 2019/20 entry are now closed.

If you wish to apply to Strathclyde, please complete the online application below (available after 22nd February).

If you're a Strathclyde student or graduate and wish to apply to another university to study the Diploma, please complete our paper application form and send it directly to the university you wish to apply to.

Guidance notes

Please read the Admissions guidance notes and Law Society of Scotland Guidance Notes for Students before submitting an application.

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