students studying in the law library


Bar Professional Training Studies/PGDip BPTC

Please note that the information on this page is currently under review. Applications for this course will be submitted to us directly and more information will follow soon.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Bristol Law School
One year full-time; two years part-time (followed by Dissertation/Project modules).
Full-time; part-time
Programme leader:
Delyth James
Key fact:
Develop the skills and knowledge you need to shine in a highly competitive pupillage market, with the Masters degree that delivers opportunities for specialist legal study, and for you to develop your research skills through a dissertation.

Page last updated 9 October 2019


Develop your knowledge of litigation; your skills in written and oral advocacy, research, conference, mediation and negotiation, and build a strong foundation for your future as a barrister. Our LLM Bar Professional Training Studies (BPTS) is demanding yet rewarding. The course equips you with an LLM qualification, includes the interim award of the PG Diploma Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and allows eligible students to apply for a postgraduate loan. We will support you throughout your studies and you will have numerous excellent opportunities to help secure a pupillage. 

Outstanding quality of teaching

You will be taught by a dedicated team of barristers, solicitors and judges, with access to an unrivalled range of facilities to enhance your study experience. 

Real-world experience

We will provide you with opportunities to enhance your opportunity to successfully obtain pupillage.

  • 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 family, criminal and civil commercial advocacy competitions sponsored by the Chambers
  • Advocate in front of members of chambers from the Western Circuit on the occasion of our advocacy masterclasses (twice annually)

Alternative dispute resolution training

At the end of the course, you'll have the opportunity to train with an external commercial mediation training organisation, to become an accredited Civil Commercial Mediator.

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 Sarah's film, '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.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



The BPTS 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.

Year one

You will study the following 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 BPTS, 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.
  • Legal Research Methods - develops your understanding of the need for investigation of all relevant factual and legal issues involved in a transaction or matter. You will learn how to undertake systematic and comprehensive legal research and how to present the results of your research.

The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

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.

In addition, you will study two of the following optional modules:

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

At the end of Year one, you would have completed the interim award of the PG Diploma Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

Year two

You will study the following optional modules:

  • Research and Practice Portfolio, or
  • Continuing Professional Development Portfolio plus Bar Professional Development.

Following the one year taught part of the course, you have a choice of completing two self-study M level modules for 15 and 45 credits or a dissertation for 60 credits. There is a small amount of additional tuition. This will give you the final 60 credits necessary to complete your Masters in Bar Professional Training Studies. Your project/dissertation will have a practical focus to help you develop as a reflective practitioner responsible for your own professional development, as required by the BSB's new CPD regime. 

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

You will be taught by our team of highly experienced practitioners with extensive practical experience as barristers, solicitors or judges. You'll develop a strong background in law, studying a blend of real-world legal practice and academic areas. And you'll benefit from substantial face-to-face contact with you tutors, learning in small group sessions.

You'll be supported by a range of innovative and nationally recognised online learning support. This includes recorded lectures, MCQ tests and recorded demonstrations all available to compliment your studies.

You'll develop your skills continuously, attending weekly skills sessions and receiving written and verbal feedback. All our advocacy tutors are Advocacy Training Council (ATC) accredited and Resolution of Disputes Out of Court (REDOC) tutors are accredited mediators to ensure that your learning is of the highest standard.

The content you cover will reflect real-world cases, and you will have the chance to participate in mock trials with professional actors. 

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

Study time

You'll study a number of compulsory subjects in your first year, as well as a choice of options in the final term. Typically there will be up to 15 hours a week dedicated to formal training with Fridays usually kept free of teaching for consolidation and reflection. In addition you'll be expected to spend around 20 hours a week studying independently.

Dedicated support

You'll be supported throughout your studies and after you graduate. Your personal tutor will be there for you to meet frequently or contact by phone or email. We operate an open door policy and are readily available to meet with students. There are also further support mechanisms available within the University way of faculty student advisors.


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.

You'll also receive feedback after mock assessments to help you monitor and improve your performance.

Please note there is a Bar Standards Board statement that will be available for you to download at the time that you receive your offer letter; this statement sets out transitional arrangements for centralised BPTC assessments post September 2020 (when new BPTC training will replace current courses). The transitional arrangements will not impact on the vast majority (possibly all) students starting the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) in September 2019; your position should be no different from students who began the course in September 2018; however in some exceptional cases you might be subject to the new arrangements.

Additionally, UWE, Bristol Law School expects to be an authorised provider of the new pathways from September 2019.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Study facilities

All our professional law students will be based at our brand new Law School at our main campus, providing world-class facilities and a professional learning environment.

You'll have access to:

  • Two showcase law courts with equipment to record advocacy sessions for later analysis
  • A 300-seat Harvard lecture theatre
  • Law resource room and a dedicated Pro Bono office
  • Dedicated study rooms for the use of BPTS students
  • A 24-hour dedicated chambers library and a nationally recognised online learning system

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

Pro Bono Unit

The Bristol Law Court Clinic has developed a comprehensive programme which provides opportunities for you to undertake legal pro bono work in and around Bristol in all areas of law.

Alternative dispute resolution

As another way to help you stand out in the competitive pupillage environment, you'll also have the opportunity to qualify as an accredited mediator at the end of the BPTS for an additional cost.


Careers / Further study

Students undertaking this course do so in order to qualify as a Barrister.

The LLM Bar Professional Training Studies will prepare you for a successful career as a barrister giving you the skills, knowledge and network you will need to secure a pupillage. You will be able to take part in mock pupillage interviews in front of members of chambers; CV clinics offered by barristers on the Western Circuit; panel events during which you can ask barristers, solicitors and law practitioners pertinent questions. There are also other networking opportunities available via the twice annual advocacy masterclasses run by local barristers in which a barrister will teach advocacy skills to a small group. Additionally local judges and senior counsel attend to offer lecture presentations on advocacy skills and case analysis.

Additionally you also have access to our dedicated law careers support services.

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



Full time course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Award Fee15000
International-Full Time-Award Fee15000
Offshore-Full Time-Award Fee15000

Part time course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Part Time- Annual (Per Year) Fee7500
International-Part Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee7500
Offshore-Part Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee7500

Supplementary fee information

Further information about fees and funding.


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.

For information about international visas, please contact the student visa support service.

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.

How to apply

You should apply through BarSAS for the Postgraduate Diploma BPTC. You will automatically be offered the LLM BPTS if you do not require a Tier 4 visa.

Tier 4 visa students will be offered the PG Diploma, and can top up to the LLM after finishing the Diploma.

For further information

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