L.L.B - Alternative Degree Route in The UK

Alternative Degree Route in The UK

There are also conversion courses available for non-law graduates, available as an alternative to the full-length LL.B. degree course. One such example of a conversion course in England and Wales is the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law), which takes one year to complete.

In the UK, as well as in other Common Law jurisdictions, the main approach to this, is the Graduate Entry (undergraduate) LL.B. degree, where graduates from another discipline can complete the LL.B. as a second degree, although this may occasionally require taking qualifying law courses within the first degree to meet professional requirements in full. Therefore it is not entirely correct to regard it as an 'accelerated' degree.

This 'double degree' system was, at one time, an alternative route to the former B.L. degree (now obsolete) but students were required to have independent means to complete the second degree. The current Scots LL.B. degree, a direct-entry undergraduate degree, meets all professional requirements when coupled with the Diploma in Legal Practice. The Diploma was introduced circa 1980; prior to this, all professional exams were taken within the degree itself (or as part of an earlier non-law degree), limiting the scope for academic study.

Therefore the pursuit of the double degree nowadays, for school-leavers at least, is mainly to indicate that one can be adept at two disciplines. Unlike Joint Honours, a second degree is undertaken separately, within the prescribed timeframe. The first non-law degree will almost invariably be an arts degree although science or other degrees are not unknown. Rarely, the double degree principle is found in reverse; just as an arts or science degree can provide exemption from the full academic (not professional) requirements of a subsequent law degree, similarly a law degree can provide exemption from the full academic requirements of a subsequent arts or science degree. In this case, it is more likely that the second degree will be taken as a self-funding mature student, possibly on a part-time basis.

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