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Professional Legal Practice Diploma

Awards: Diploma

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Programme website: Professional Legal Practice

The Diploma in Professional Legal Practice is suitable for students seeking to enter the professions of solicitor or advocate in Scotland.

The content is determined by the national Joint Standing Committee on Legal Education, the Diploma Co-ordinating Committee and various working parties, which include representatives of all the universities and members of the legal profession.

The focus is on the practical skills required in the legal profession.

Compulsory courses include:

  • Conveyancing
  • Private Client
  • Civil Court Practice
  • Criminal Court Practice
  • Financial Services and Related Skills
  • Company and Commercial
  • Professional Skills and Responsibility

There are also a number of elective courses on offer, ranging from Construction Law to Estate Planning, which take place in February/March.

Students on this programme have a very full timetable in comparison with that at undergraduate level. It entails a large number of contact hours, much of the time in small workshop groups.

Participation in practical class work is regarded as extremely important and attendance is expected. Failure to attend workshops will disqualify students from sitting the final exams.

There may also be the need for substantial preparation for exercises and in-class assessment. There is an emphasis on legal skills throughout.

Courses will be taught by lectures and workshops. Students are expected to prepare in advance for all workshops by reading the required materials and by reflecting on the issues to be discussed.

By the end of this programme, students should have acquired a more sophisticated understanding and be equipped with basic skills and knowledge required for legal practice. This will include pervasive consideration of legal skills.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

To gain entry to this programme, candidates must:

  1. Have obtained an undergraduate law degree from a Scottish university (LLB), including passes in the required foundation subjects or;
  2. Have passed or obtained exemption from the professional examinations of the Law Society of Scotland in all subjects required under the Admission as Solicitor (Scotland) Regulations 2011.

At the University of Edinburgh, foundation subjects are normally taken in the first two years of the LLB, or during the Graduate LLB, and include:

  • LAWS08123 Public Law of the UK and Scotland
  • LAWS08125 European Union Law (Ordinary) A
  • LAWS08126 Family Law (Ordinary)
  • LAWS08130 Succession and Trust Law
  • LAWS08131 Commercial Law (Ordinary)
  • LAWS08132 Public Law and Individual Rights
  • LAWS08133 Property Law (Ordinary)
  • LAWS08134 Business Entities
  • LAWS08135 Delict
  • LAWS08139 Critical Legal Thinking
  • LAWS08141 Evidence (Ordinary)
  • LAWS08142 Criminal Law (Ordinary
  • LAWS08127 Contract and Unjustified Enrichment
  • LAWS08128 Scottish Legal System

These subjects map to outcomes that are universally required regardless of which university you study at. However the individual subjects that are required can differ in name at each university. You should check with your LLB university law school to confirm what the correct subjects are.

Applicants are ranked by grade point average, according to their performance (at first sitting) in the professional curriculum outlined above. This ranking is used by all Diploma providers to allocate places amongst them.

This criterion could be moderated (in either direction and at individual Diploma providers' discretion) by:

  • The class and type of degree obtained;
  • Overall number of fails in those subjects designed to meet the Law Society of Scotland's foundation programme outcomes
  • Other qualifications (both undergraduate and postgraduate)
  • Special circumstances affecting performance in foundation subjects (unless already taken into account)

The fact that an applicant has an offer of a traineeship at the time of applying for a Diploma place may also be a factor taken into account, but only as another possible factor when deciding among applicants who have extremely similar academic records.

International applicants

International qualifications cannot generally be used to meet the entry requirements to this programme. If you have graduated from an LLB in a different country, including England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you will need to meet the subject requirements of the Scottish Foundation Programme before proceeding to the Diploma. More information can be found on the Law Society of Scotland website.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 7.0 in writing and 6.5 in all other components.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 25 in writing and 23 in all other components.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 185 in writing and 176 in all other components.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 70 in writing and 62 in all other components.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Additional programme costs

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

Tuition fees

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Diploma in Professional Legal Practice Office
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 2008
  • Contact:
  • Edinburgh Law School
  • Old College
  • South Bridge
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9YL

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa.

Before beginning your application, please visit the Edinburgh Law School website.

You should read the full guidance and complete the pro-forma before your begin your online application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Diploma in Professional Legal Practice Office
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 2008
  • Contact:
  • Edinburgh Law School
  • Old College
  • South Bridge
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9YL