Postgraduate Diploma

Bar Professional Training Course (full-time)

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This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Bar Standards Board
Bristol Law School
One year
Full-time, starts September
Programme leader:
Delyth James
Key fact:
We equip our BPTC students with the skills, knowledge and opportunities to shine in a highly competitive pupillage market.

Page last updated 7 September 2016


The UWE Bristol Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) provides the foundation of your career as a barrister. Rigorous and demanding, yet stimulating and rewarding, the course will equip you with the advocacy, research, conference and mediation skills you need to excel at the Bar and beyond.

We aim to be as supportive of your pastoral care as we are of your academic progression, and alongside the teaching, the course provides excellent opportunities to help secure a pupillage.

Outstanding quality of teaching

The quality of teaching on the BPTC is nationally and internationally renowned, with tuition provided by a dedicated team of barristers, solicitors and judges and an unrivalled range of facilities to enhance your study experience. Our high student satisfaction rates are testament to the high quality of tuition on the course; and 85% of students would recommend our BPTC to other (BPTC, Bristol UWE, Full time student evaluation survey December 2014).

Employability-enhancing opportunities

To increase your chances of obtaining pupillage and improve your employability generally, you will also have the chance to:

  • participate in our award-winning pro bono Law Court Clinic
  • hone your mooting skills in our Bristol Chambers sponsored mooting competitions
  • appear in the Bristol Crown Court or in the Civil Justice Centre before real life judges in our Chambers sponsored family, criminal and civil commercial advocacy competitions
  • teach legal skills to LLB undergraduates.

Alternative dispute resolution training

At the end of the BPTC Course (and included in your fee) students can undertake commercial mediation training provided by an external Commercial Mediation Training organisation. This provides students with the opportunity to become an accredited Civil Commercial Mediator (this course would usually cost over £3,000).

You can also choose to study the BPTC part time.

Read the Chambers Guide review of our BPTC and this Lawyer2B's article on Bristol's thriving legal sector.

Hear more about what it's like to study law at UWE Bristol - watch about Sarah's film about putting learning into practice and Sophie's film about her experiences becoming a Barrister.

You can also come along to one of our law events and taster sessions.



The BPTC takes you from the initial stages in civil and criminal proceedings through to trial. You will firstly master the compulsory subjects within the criminal and civil areas, before moving on to two specialist options of your choice.

Compulsory modules

  • Civil Advocacy - covers how to undertake case analysis in order to prepare a case effectively, using basic advocacy skills. This includes understanding the relevant law, facts and principles, observing the rules of professional ethics and planning submissions. 
  • Civil Litigation, Remedies and Evidence - takes you through how to advise on the most appropriate remedies available to clients in civil proceedings, with a sound working knowledge of the powers of the civil courts, and of the evidential rules governing the resolution of factual issues.
  • Conferencing Skills - covers the factual, legal, procedural and evidential issues that might be raised in a conference as well as the objectives of holding one. You will learn how to conduct a conference, deal with all the relevant issues and advise a client appropriately.
  • Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing - equips you with a sound working knowledge of the procedure and sentencing powers of the criminal courts, and of the evidential rules governing their resolution of factual issues.
  • Opinion Writing - one of the two written skills taught on the BPTC, this module covers the factual, legal, procedural and evidential issues that may be relevant when writing an Opinion, as well as the appropriate structure and language to use.
  • Drafting - covers the factual, legal, procedural and evidential issues that are relevant when drafting statements of case, in particular the Particulars of Claim, the Defence and Third Party Proceedings. You will learn how to draft documents that are well structured, with correct headings, language and all necessary formalities.
  • Professional Conduct - introduces you to the core professional values underpinning practice at the Bar of England and Wales, and in particular the areas of Core Duties and Code of Conduct. You will learn how to properly identify ethical issues and respond appropriately in any given situation.
  • Resolution of Disputes Out of Court - introduces you to the range of ADR methods and teaches you how to advise on and conduct negotiations, mediations and arbitrations or adjudications. The module covers case analysis as well as the tactical and procedural requirements for conducting successful negotiations and mediations.
  • Criminal Advocacy - covers how to make submissions on behalf of a defendant in a plea of mitigation and for bail. You will develop the skills of examination-in chief and cross-examination in a variety of criminal case scenarios. The main focus will be on examination of witness techniques.

Optional modules

The teaching of optional modules takes place after the compulsory subjects. They are not intended to teach you substantive law, but rather to provide you with an opportunity to develop the skills you have acquired.

We offer a wide choice of optional modules to allow you to specialise in the area of law you are most interested in or would like to practise.

You will study a combination of two of the following optional modules:

  • Clinical Negligence
  • Criminal Law
  • Commercial Law
  • Employment Law
  • Family
  • International Trade
  • Landlord and Tenant
  • Refugee and Asylum Law

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

Highly experienced and supportive tutors, drawn from legal practice, as well as the academic side of law, will enable you to develop your knowledge quickly. Most of the course is taught through small group sessions, meaning you will benefit from substantial face-to-face contact with your tutors.

Certain subjects are also supported with online resources (for example, recorded lectures, MCQ tests and recorded demonstrations) to enable you to supplement your work and knowledge remotely at a time to suit you.

Weekly skills sessions with written and verbal feedback allow you to continually develop your skills. All advocacy tutors are ATC accredited and all REDOC tutors are accredited mediators to ensure our teaching is of the highest standard.

We aim to make the content covered as realistic as possible, and you will have the chance to participate in mock trials with professional actors.

For more details see our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

Study time

The full-time BPTC lasts 32 weeks, starting in mid-September. Enrolment is followed by the compulsory subjects in terms one and two and then a choice of two options in term three. Up to 15 hours a week is dedicated to formal training and students are then expected to study independently for approximately 20 hours a week to reinforce their learning. Fridays are kept free of teaching for consolidation and reflection.

Dedicated support

You will receive a high level of support both during your studies and after you graduate. You will be able to meet frequently with your personal tutor, or contact them by phone or email, to discuss any aspects of the course. We also offer extensive careers support.


Civil Litigation, Criminal Litigation and Professional Conduct assessments are all set centrally by the Bar Standards Board and examined using multiple choice and short answer questions. Opinion Writing and Drafting are set locally as unseen assessments in controlled conditions. All other assessments are also set locally and are either completely seen or partially seen, in that you will receive information in advance to research the relevant areas of law.

Mock assessments with feedback will also be given to help you monitor and improve your performance, and deal effectively with all forms of assessment.

For more detail see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Study facilities

Bristol Law School has excellent, state-of-the-art facilities, including:

  • dedicated study rooms exclusively for the use of BPTC students
  • mock law courtrooms, with equipment to record advocacy sessions for later analysis
  • a 24-hour dedicated chambers library, giving you access to a vast range of legal resources
  • a nationally recognised online learning system

A £50m project is also underway to build the new Faculty of Business and Law building. Located in the heart of the campus, the building will provide innovative teaching spaces, including two showcase law courts, flexible social learning spaces and an external business engagement space.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.

Pro Bono Unit

The Bristol Law Court Clinic has developed a comprehensive programme to provide opportunities for you to undertake legal pro bono work in and around Bristol in all areas of law, particularly advising and representing victims of domestic violence. This service won the Best New Pro Bono Activity at the Attorney-General's Pro Bono Awards 2011.

Student feedback

We recently conducted a course review of our BTPC to find out what students thought. Here are a few of their comments:

"The overall experience of education is taken to a whole new level, with highly competent teachers and first class facilities."

"The majority of the tutors are outstanding and they genuinely care about your progress."

"Excellent support from tutors and BPTC programme leader. Excellent facilities. Very helpful feedback. I would definitely recommend the BPTC."

"I feel confident that UWE is preparing me to do well in the course and overall as a future barrister."

Alternative dispute resolution

As another way to help you stand out in the competitive pupillage environment, as a BPTC student you also have the opportunity to qualify as an accredited mediator at the end of the BPTC for no additional cost.

We are not alone in believing this is important for aspiring barristers. Lord Neuberger, Master of the Rolls, speaking at a civil mediation conference, said "if mediation is to be litigation's twin, it should be embedded from the very beginning of a lawyer's training".


Careers / Further study

The BPTC prepares you for a successful career as a barrister and is designed to give you the necessary skills, knowledge and network to secure a pupillage.

Many of our graduates have gone on to secure work as barristers, while others are working as legal associates, managers and legal advisers.

We have a dedicated law careers member of staff, as well as offering CV clinics, careers talks, 'ask the experts' events and mock interviews, to enhance your chances of obtaining pupillage and help you plan your career path.

After completing the BTPC, you also have the option of taking a top-up LLM in Advanced Legal Practice by writing a 15,000 word dissertation on a practice-based subject you are interested in (course fees apply).

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.


Full Time Course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Award Fee13950
International-Full Time-Award Fee13950
Offshore-Full Time-Award Fee13950

Supplementary fee information

More information on fees can be found on our tuition fees pages.

For funding options, please see our funding and scholarships information.


Entry requirements

Applicants must have joined an Inn of Court by 31 May of the intended year of entry and should have completed the academic stage of study by having either:

  • A qualifying law degree of second class honours or above


  • A qualifying non-law degree of second class honours or above AND to have achieved a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).

If English is not your first language, you will also need to demonstrate your English Language proficiency as prescribed by the Bar Standards Board and the English Language conditions contained within your offer letter.

Applicants will be required to pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test before an offer of a place on the course can be confirmed.

In determining whether to accept an application, we take into account a number of factors, including:

  • Your actual or predicted academic record
  • Your statement in support of your application
  • Commitment to the profession as evidenced by attempts, successful or otherwise, to obtain placements, mini-pupillage or any other experience in a legal setting
  • Your reference

For further information

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