Diploma Professional Legal Practice

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Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Accreditation: Law Society of Scotland’s Professional Education & Training Stage 1
  • Study mode and duration: 9 months full-time; 24 months part-time
  • Applications open: Spring 2024

Study with us

  • required for entry to the legal profession in Scotland
  • experience a unique method of learning the practical application of legal principles
  • work collaboratively in firms and apply your professional skills to legal simulations
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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.

A real benefit of the course is the opportunity 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.


THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What 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. Watch our video to hear about the innovative elective Project Management for Lawyers. The first Diploma in Professional Legal Practice course of its kind in Scotland that via an experiential learning platform teaches project management and commercial awareness.

Full-time students

There is a full-time all-week induction course of skills training in the first week of Semester 1. There is a further dedicated full-time skills training period in week one of Semester 2. Teaching of the compulsory classes during the rest of Semester 1 is mostly from Tuesday to Thursday each week. In Semester 2, teaching may take place from Monday to Thursday depending on the elective classes selected.

Professional Legal Practice diploma timetable

Part-time students

Year 1 Part-time students undertake the same full-time induction course in week one of Semester 1 as the full-time students. Teaching takes place during Semester 1 primarily on a Tuesday. During Semester 2, teaching may take place from Monday to Thursday, depending on the elective classes selected.

Year 1 part-time students will also be expected to attend the Transactional Learning Project towards the end of semester 1 – dates to be confirmed.

For year 2 part-time students, teaching will take place on a Wednesday and Thursday in Semester 1 and for Semester 2 will take on a Monday to Thursday again depending on the elective classes selected.

*This document is a guide only, and exact times will be confirmed when offers are made.

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Course content

Semester 1 Compulsory subjects:

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

Semester 2 Elective (five to be chosen):

  • Advanced Civil Advocacy
  • Advanced Criminal Advocacy
  • Advanced Private Client
  • Commercial Contracts & IP
  • Commercial Conveyancing
  • Company Law
  • Employment Law in Practice
  • Family Business
  • Family Law
  • Mediation & Mediation Advocacy
  • Practical Public Administration
  • Project Management for Lawyer’s
  • Work-Based Learning Module in Legal Practice
  • General Practice – Problem Based Learning

Learning & teaching

You’re assigned to 'firms' of three/four at the start of the course. Most of the teaching and learning is done in your firms. Collaborative learning, professionalism and blended learning are embedded into most aspects of the course. 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 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.

Our virtual community & learning environment

The background to much of our practical work is the ‘virtual’ community of Ardcalloch – a town we’ve created. A wide variety of events take place in the town which give rise to a variety of legal issues for its citizens. Throughout the course you will be involved in conducting a number of simulated legal transactions.

All these activities are conducted on and supported by a professional learning/case management IT system called iCasework. iCasework allows student firms to interact with clients, fellow firms and other simulated characters throughout a real transaction.

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

Chat to a student ambassador

If you want to know more about what it’s like to be a Humanities & Social Sciences student at the University of Strathclyde, a selection of our current students are here to help!

Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you might have about courses and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into their experiences of life in Glasgow and Scotland.

Chat to a student ambassador
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Entry requirements

Academic 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 and the Admissions Scoring System document.

Take a look at the Law Society of Scotland Guidance Notes for Students.

English language requirements

Please check our English requirements before making your application.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

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Fees & funding

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

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland




Additional costs

Materials comprise text books, three sets of the rules governing civil, criminal and professional procedures and practices. Hard copies of all the text books and rules are available to students at discounted prices. Last year they cost £300 and the cost is likely to be similar this year. Some of the texts are available free electronically on line. All course Handbooks are provided electronically.


Please refer to the Admissions guidance notes document.

Financial assistance & scholarships

There are a number of different grants/scholarships available to help you fund your Diploma. See the Law Society of Scotland Funding Directory and also take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Visa & immigration

International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

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

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Scholarships

  • EU Engagement Scholarships are available to EU applicants who would have previously been eligible for Home (Scottish/EU) fee status.
  • EU and International 50% Merit Scholarships available to self-funded, international fee-paying offer-holders (includes those classed as EU fee group). The scholarship entitles the recipient to a discount of 50% on tuition fees.
View all our scholarships

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish postgraduate students

Scottish postgraduate students may be able to 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 support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Applications for 2024/25 will open on 8 March 2024

You're permitted to apply to up to two Diploma providers. If you're a Strathclyde student or graduate and wish to apply to another university to study the Diploma, please get in touch directly with the university you wish to apply to for a copy of their Paper Application form. 

Guidance notes

You must read the following before submitting an application:

You'll be asked to confirm that you have read these when submitting your application.

You may also wish to read our Professional Legal Practice FAQ’s document before submitting your application.

Please note: You're not required to complete the referees section within the application. You should be able to skip over this and submit your application, as it's not a mandatory section. Please contact us at hass-law-diploma@strath.ac.uk if you require assistance.

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Contact us

Diploma Admin Team

Email: hass-law-diploma@strath.ac.uk