LLM/PGDip Bar Training Course

Entry year
Course code
Bristol Law School
PGDip/LLM one year full time
Full-time; starts September
Programme leader
Georgina Ridsdale

This course is open for applications.

To apply, please visit the Entry section below.

Page last updated 4 June 2024


Maximise your chances of securing pupillage by building your legal knowledge and skills side by side. You'll embed your understanding through regular application of your knowledge to scenarios you are likely to experience when advising clients or in court.

Accreditations and partnerships:

By undertaking and successfully completing the UWE Bristol Bar Training Course (BTC), you will develop, and be able to demonstrate, the competencies required to be called to the Bar, as set out by the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

On the BTC course, you will build your legal knowledge and skills side by side, to embed your learning and maximise your chances of doing well on the course, and securing pupillage.

  • PG Diploma full-time course: Over nine months, you will undertake the seven compulsory modules required to complete the vocational component of training. Your tuition will be timetabled over three to four days a week, providing opportunities to work or undertake pro bono activities alongside your studies.
  • LLM full-time course: you will undertake the seven compulsory modules required for the vocational component which will take up to nine months. You then have a choice of further options, projects or dissertation modules leading to the master's award. These modules are designed to reinforce your development as a reflective practitioner with responsibility for your own self-development. Depending upon your optional choices/dissertation, this could take up to an additional 12 months to complete the master's qualification. Eligible students will be able to apply for postgraduate loan funding to complete the LLM course.

If you enrol on the PGDip course, you can subsequently transfer to the LLM, undertake extra modules and graduate with a master's.

Why study the Bar Training Course?

The BTC provides the foundation to your career as a barrister. Part of the vocational component of training for the Bar of England and Wales, it covers the advocacy skills, and detailed knowledge of the law, required to be able to confidently work with clients and present legal cases in court.

Why UWE Bristol?

Choosing to undertake your BTC (Combined) at UWE Bristol offers you the assurance of studying with a well-established education provider.

Taught by highly experienced tutors, who are all qualified barristers or solicitors, you will benefit from substantial face-to-face teaching, feedback and formative assessments, to embed your learning, hone your skills and give you the strongest foundation for your legal career.

Opting to study this course means that the knowledge and skills elements of your training will be taught together, in a way that is most reflective of life in Chambers, with both parts taught face to face to maximise your potential to succeed.

We place a strong emphasis on personal and academic support, giving you regular contact with your personal tutor at all stages, to support you with the rigorous demands of the course, alongside access to extensive university-wide resources.

Our well-established links to the local and national Chambers and Bar also open the door to significant career-enhancing opportunities, such as competitions, mock pupillage interviews, career talks, guest lectures and pro bono work, all designed to help you gain maximum value from your training.

Where can it take me?

The BTC prepares you for a successful career as a barrister, giving you the necessary skills, knowledge and network to maximise your chances of securing pupillage.

Many of our graduates go on to work as barristers, while others take this sought-after qualification into careers as legal associates, managers or legal advisers, or into other sectors.



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

PG Diploma Bar Training Course

You'll study: 

  • Criminal Litigation
  • Civil Litigation
  • Civil Advocacy 
  • Drafting, Opinion Writing and Legal Research
  • Criminal Advocacy
  • Conferencing 
  • Professional Ethics.

Completion of the Full Award, LLM Bar Training Course

The course offers the option for students to attain the remaining 60 credits to enable them to graduate with an LLM Bar Training Course:

You'll study

  • A 30 credit Project (Bar Professional Practice) together with any two of the 15 credit taught optional modules listed below, totalling 60 credits.

Optional modules:

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

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'll inform you. 

Learning and Teaching

Highly experienced and supportive tutors, drawn from legal practice and the academic side of law, will help you develop your knowledge quickly.

Most of the course is taught face to face through small group sessions, providing substantial contact and opportunities for discussion, with your tutors and peers.

Weekly skills sessions, in small groups (no more than six students in Conference Skills and Advocacy sessions), will support you to develop the skills you will need to practise law and support clients effectively. You will take part in workshops, extended practice activities and role-play activities, and receive regular written and oral feedback on your skills. The sessions are also recorded to allow for subsequent reflection and analysis.

Studying the course means that Criminal Litigation and Civil Litigation are taught alongside the other subjects, and feed into them, to embed your learning at the deepest level.

For example, after studying sentencing in Criminal Litigation, you will be expected to apply that knowledge during a conference with a client awaiting sentence (Conference Skills), and to represent that client during their sentencing hearing (Advocacy).

Developing your skills under the supervision of experienced teachers, you will be supported to progress during the course to the level expected of a pupil barrister.

Guest lectures, mock trials with professional actors, and extensive online resources, such as recorded lectures, podcasts, blogs and demos, will further embed your learning and skills.

If you study towards the LLM, you will undertake further taught modules on specialist subjects (such as working with refugees), and complete a dissertation or project, to work towards your master's award.

See our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

Different awards

On successful completion of the UWE Bristol BTC, you'll graduate with either a PG Diploma or LLM award.

Students undertaking the LLM course will receive their transcript of results in the seven compulsory modules required for Call while they are still undertaking their option, project or dissertation modules.

If you do not successfully complete the whole course, you would still potentially be eligible for:

  • a PG Certificate in Legal Knowledge, if you pass Criminal Litigation and Civil Litigation
  • a PG Certificate in Legal Skills, if you pass Conferencing, Advocacy, Opinion Writing (to include Legal Research), Drafting and Ethics.

The certificates would evidence your attainment of particular competencies and would be of value to you in pursuing another legal or non-legal career.

Study time

PGDip: the course runs for nine months, from September to May, with up to 14 hours of face-to-face tutorial group teaching a week, over three to four days. You will be required to spend approximately 30 hours a week on independent study, on top of your taught contact hours.

LLM: The taught part of the course is delivered over one year full time.

You'll study further modules to complete the master's award. Taught option modules can be undertaken immediately after completing the compulsory modules, and account for up to 30 credits, with up to 20 hours of contact time per module a week. Alongside this, you'll undertake project or dissertation modules which are predominantly self-study. These modules are to be completed within the same academic year.


Civil Litigation and Criminal Litigation assessments are set by the Central Examination Board, on behalf of the Bar Standards Board, and examined using multiple choice questions.

Professional Ethics is set by UWE Bristol as an unseen assessment 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.

In most assessments, you will be graded as either Outstanding, Very Competent, Competent, or Not Yet Competent.

We use mock assessments with feedback to help you monitor and improve your performance, and prepare effectively. Our tutors have extensive experience of the centralised assessments, so are well placed to support you.

For added flexibility, there is some choice about when you take your assessments, although we structure the teaching to allow you to complete them at the earliest opportunity.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

This course is accredited by the Bar Standards Board.

Study facilities

You'll be based in the Bristol Law School, on our Frenchay Campus, with access to extensive facilities to support your learning, including:

  • Well-equipped classrooms, with IT equipment and whiteboards
  • Mock courtrooms, with equipment to record advocacy sessions for later analysis
  • Comprehensive resources online through our Blackboard system, including exam-style multiple choice tests, podcasts, pre-recorded lectures and demonstrations of oral skills by experienced practitioners.

The Law School sits within our £55m Bristol Business School building, which includes learning spaces for individual and group study plus conference rooms you can book.

You'll also have access to all the other facilities on our Frenchay Campus, including 24-hour access to our library, and a wide range of academic support, wellbeing and careers services.

Your tuition fee includes all the books and resources you need for the course (which will be provided to you) and the £875 BSB student fee.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Law facilities and see what's on offer here for you.


Postgraduate support

Our support includes access to fantastic facilities, study tools and career consultants, plus practical help to access everything from funding to childcare.


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Careers / Further study

The BTC prepares you for a successful career as a barrister, giving you the necessary skills, knowledge and network to maximise your chances of securing pupillage.

Many of our graduates go on to work as barristers, working either as self employed or inhouse counsel, or for the Government Legal Profession or Crown Prosecution Service.

Other graduates take their BTC into careers as legal associates, managers or legal advisers, or into other sectors.

Alongside support from our award-winning university careers services, you'll receive careers advice and support specific to this course, including access to 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. We can also help with planning for a career overseas through our international careers service.

After completing the PGDip, you have the option of undertaking further taught, dissertation or project modules and graduating with an LLM Bar Training Course.

"Coming from a non-conventional route, I found the panel talk reassuring with panel members from varied routes becoming barristers. It was insightful hearing about their different career stages and perspectives" Melissa, 2023 Bar Training Course graduate.

Career-enhancing opportunities

Through our strong links with Chambers in Bristol and nationally, you will have regular opportunities to connect with practice, and take part in:

  • Chambers-sponsored advocacy and mooting competitions, and national and international mediation and arbitration competitions
  • 'Ask the experts' events
  • Mentoring, careers advice and talks
  • Advocacy master classes
  • Mock pupillage interviews
  • CV writing clinics
  • Judicial marshalling
  • The UWE Bristol Law Fair
  • The Bristol Bar Students Dinner.

As well as working with charities such as Support Through Court, we have our own Business Law Advice Clinic, where you can tap into diverse work experience opportunities, to give back to the community and enhance your employability at the same time.

At an additional, but highly reduced cost, we also offer students the opportunity to become a civil commercial mediator through an internationally respected mediation training provider.


Supplementary fee information

See our funding pages for more information.


Entry requirements

As stipulated by the BSB, you will need:

  • To hold a law degree/conversion course, which meets the requirements for study of the foundations of legal knowledge subjects
  • A degree classification (minimum 2:2)
  • Membership of an Inn of Court
  • English language ability (see below).

All students applying for a place on the UWE Bristol BTC course will be considered for an offer according to the extent that their application form demonstrates:

  • The potential to fulfil the BSB Professional Statement Competences
  • A commitment to a career at the Bar/in law
  • A record of legal work experience or other law related activity during their studies.

These criteria will be assessed by reference to answers on the applicants online application form.

Deferred entry

We do not accept deferred entry applications for this course.

English Language Requirement

All prospective barristers must be able to demonstrate that their English language ability is at least equivalent to:

  • 7.5 in the IELTS academic test (all sections)
  • 76 in each part of the Pearson test of English (academic).
  • 7.5 in the UWE Bristol English Placement Test (all sections)

All applicants should have an effective command of the English language and be able to use it appropriately, accurately and fluently to handle complex and detailed argumentation. International students will be required to produce a certificate evidencing the necessary IELTS or Pearson test scores.

Barristers should:

  • use correct and appropriate vocabulary, English grammar, spelling and punctuation in all communications
  • speak fluent English.

The method for verifying that a prospective barrister has met this requirement will be determined by UWE Bristol.

Potential exemptions

International students will be required to produce a certificate evidencing the necessary IELTS or Pearson scores unless they:

  • achieve an actual 2.1 LLB from a university in England or Wales, having studied in England or Wales or,
  • are predicted 2.1 overall in their LLB from a university in England or Wales, whilst studying in England or Wales. Applicants would be required to submit interim transcripts from their second year including an academic reference stating the prediction of a 2.1 or,
  • an actual LLM with merit or above from UWE Bristol at the point of application for a place on the BTC.

UWE Bristol reserves the right to require any candidates who successfully self-certify to undertake the IELTS academic test or Pearson test if they do not subsequently demonstrate the English language requirement set out above.

How to apply

Apply to study LLM Bar Training Course full-time.

Apply to study PGDip Bar Training Course full-time.

The application deadline is 20 July 2024. Please upload all relevant documents by this date.

We recommend that you apply well before the application deadline. Submitting your application early will allow time for our Admissions team to process your application.

Read more about international applications and key international deadline dates.

For further information