Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)


At The University of Law, we pride ourselves in offering the best legal training, and our Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) is no exception.

Our BPTC is designed to help you secure pupillage and prepare you for life as a barrister. You can expect high standards of tutoring by qualified practitioners with unparalleled experience in delivering advocacy. Choose our BPTC LLM and make your pupillage applications stand out, working on real life pro bono legal cases.

You'll be supported by our specialist careers service from the moment you accept your place. Our track record says it all: 71% of our full-time UK/EEA BPTC students graduating in 2017 secured a pupillage within one year of successfully completing their course. 

PLEASE NOTE: Arrangements for the transitional period between the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and the introduction of new Bar training pathways have now been announced. Please read this Bar Standards Board statement for details on how it might affect you.

Why choose our BPTC?

  • Increase your chances of pupillage with our BPTC LLM: gain legal work experience representing real clients and you could be eligible for a SLC Postgraduate Loan 

  • Study in a small class alongside the brightest students: we're the only BPTC provider that requires all students to undergo a live selection process before being offered a place

  • Up to 50 hours advocacy training so you're fully prepared for the Bar: apart from our small advocacy classes, you can test your skills in front of real barristers and judges at prestigious mooting competitions organised by our Advocacy Committee and also at our mock trials in courts 

  • Flexible study options: you can choose to study your BPTC-full time in Birmingham, Leeds or London Bloomsbury or part-time in Birmingham or London Bloomsbury

  • Succeed in pupillage applications and beyond with our Future Pupil Programme, part of our award-winning Careers and Employability Service, available from the moment you accept your place


We help our students get to the Bar by providing real life legal work experience opportunities. To support this, we're offering a Master of Laws (LLM) as a part of our BPTC programme.

Choose to study this award and you will have the opportunity to add an internationally recognised LLM qualification and real legal work experience to your CV and pupillage applications.

You will advise, manage and represent clients on a variety of cases in legal areas including family, housing and immigration law. As well as gaining valuable work and 'on your feet' advocacy experience, you will be paired with a Masters supervisor, who will guide you through a reflective learning process so that you can complete your reflective assessment and obtain your Masters Degree.

If you decide to study our BPTC LLM, there is an additional course fee, but you could be eligible for a Student Loans Company (SLC) Postgraduate Loan to help cover the cost. 


Our Selection Process

The University of Law is committed to producing exceptional advocates and so, since 2015, has been the only provider that requires all applicants to undergo an assessment before obtaining a place on the BPTC.

Top five reasons why Selection Events can benefit you

  1. Gain confidence in knowing whether a career at the Bar is right for you
  2. Practise your advocacy skills in a 5-minute "plea in mitigation"
  3. Take the opportunity to compete for Advocacy Scholarships
  4. Get vital practice for pupillage interviews
  5. Meet tutors and network with current and future students

Our rigorous Selection Process allows us to identify the brightest and most able students, creating a stimulating learning environment for all. As a result, when you undertake the BPTC at The University of Law you can guarantee that you will be studying alongside committed, focused and intelligent students, which in turn will push you to succeed.

Our selection interviews take place in February and at other times of year at our BPTC campuses each year.


Those students who make it through the initial paper-sift will be invited to undertake an assessment at one of our BPTC campuses. You will be asked to complete an oral advocacy test and a short interview with one of our BPTC tutors. Entry onto the course will be based solely on candidates' performance on the day. Decisions on our Advocacy Scholarships will be based partly on the candidate's performance during the oral advocacy test. 
During an assessment you will undertake:

  • A 4 minute 'plea in mitigation' in the magistrates' court - you will be given 40 minutes to prepare
  • A 10 minute interview with a BPTC tutor

There is no preparation required and we do not expect you to know any law: this is a test of your raw skills and potential as an advocate.

Advocacy Committee

Our unique Advocacy Committee is made up of the students who excelled during our selection process and who have shown organisational and leadership skills, particularly in relation to mooting. Led by the Master or Mistress of the Moots, they arrange entry into prestigious national and international advocacy competitions for BPTC and GDL students. They also arrange numerous internal competitions and workshops in association with local chambers which provide an excellent opportunity to test the skills you've developed in the classroom and forge links with leading practitioners. Competitions include:

  • The International Criminal Court Moot, The Hague
  • Francis Taylor Buildings Kingsland Moot Cup
  • IASLA Space Law Moot Court Competition
  • Insurance Law Moot at Southampton University
  • LSE - Featherstone Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Moot
  • Oxford International IP Law Moot
  • Southampton Inns of Court Mooting Competition
  • UK Mediation Competition
  • University of Bristol Intervarsity Moot
  • Imperial Novices Debating Competition 
  • ESU Debating Competition 

 Information on Scholarships and Bursaries 

*71% of our full-time UK/EEA BPTC students graduating in 2017 secured a pupillage within one year of successfully completing their course.



To be eligible to take up your place, you must comply with the requirements for commencing a Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) set out by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). The Academic Stage Handbook gives you full information about these requirements.

  • You will be required to pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test by August of the year you commence your studies. The test opens on Monday 17 December. Further details on this test can be found on the Bar Standards Board website
  • You will need either a qualifying law degree (QLD) 2:1 minimum or an undergraduate degree in any other subject (2:1 minimum*) and a Graduate Diploma in Law/CPE
  • For qualifying law degrees, all offers based on predicted grades will be conditional upon achieving a 2:1 or above 
  • Applicants who meet the basic eligibility criteria may then be invited to attend a  selection interview at one of our campuses.       

    * For non QLD applicants with a 2:2, offers based on predicted GDL grade will be conditional upon achieving distinction or commendation
English language requirement
  • You must be fluent in English and you will need to be able to demonstrate your oral and written English is equivalent to:
IELTS (academic) Score of 7.5 in all four areas
Pearsons (academic) Score of 73 in all four areas
  • UK or Republic of Ireland award:
    • Qualifying Law Degree - 1st or 2:1
    • GDL - distinction or commendation
    • Medical, dentistry, veterinary degree - pass

If you are a non-EEA student you will also require a visa covering the full duration of your course (see below).

Selection event

In order to be considered for a place on the BPTC, applicants will be required to attend a selection interview in February at our BPTC campuses. At the interview you will undertake:

  • A 5 minute 'plea in mitigation' in the magistrates' court - you will be given 40 minutes to prepare
  • A 10 minute interview
Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)

Candidates seeking entry to the BPTC are required to pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) before being allowed to enrol on the course. The BCAT opens in April next year.

We strongly recommend you sit the test as soon as possible and no later than the end of August. We will guarantee to hold your offer open until you have successfully passed the test. Should you fail to pass, you are able to re-sit the test after 30 days. As you must successfully pass the test before you can enrol on the BPTC course, we encourage you to sit the test as early as you can – this will allow plenty of time should you need to take it again, before the deadline. For further information please check the Bar Standards Board website.

Inns of Court

You must join an Inn of Court before you can start the BPTC. The closing date for application to an Inn of Court is 31 May of the year your BPTC is due to commence. Please contact the relevant Inn for further details: 


Again, you must fulfil all eligibility requirements by the start of the course – failure to do so may result in you being prevented from joining the course. If you think that this may be a problem (for example, if you have late assessment results), please contact our Admissions Team as soon as possible on 0800 289997 (UK), +44 (0)1483 216000 (international) or e-mail 


BPTC selection criteria
  • Academic profile and achievement
  • Demonstrated fluency in English language
  • Oral and written communication skills 
  • Demonstrated commitment to a career as a barrister 
  • Demonstrated commitment to studying with The University of Law 
  • Any special circumstances revealed in your application 
  • Academic or other references


The criteria for admission onto the Master of Laws (LLM) is the same as for the BPTC.


The University of Law fully complies with equal opportunities legislation and actively encourages diversity within the legal profession. Our admissions process acts fairly and aims to enable students to make the best use of their talents. You are encouraged to tell us about any special requirements at the earliest opportunity. This will allow us to discuss how we may go about meeting your requirements.

Please see important information issued by the Bar Standards Board for those wishing to study for the Bar of England and Wales.

Important notice

You are advised to make your own enquiries with any professional bodies to which you may seek admission, to determine whether you will meet all their requirements, including academic, character and suitability requirements. The University cannot be held responsible for any decisions subsequently taken by a professional body concerning these requirements.

Visa requirements

If you are a non-EEA national who requires a visa to attend an assessment or study weekend, the University can provide you with a supporting letter to come to the UK as a Short-Term Student.  You can find further information about the Short-Term Study route on our Visa Requirements page.

Please note that you will not be eligible for Tier 4 sponsorship, as this is not permitted for online courses.

With its unique combination of face-to-face teaching and online training, the BPTC structure has been designed to reflect the litigation process that practising barristers encounter every day. 

What will the course cover?

Knowledge areas
Core skills

Study options

Mock trials

Master of Laws (LLM)

Knowledge areas
  • Civil litigation and evidence
  • Criminal litigation, evidence and sentencing
  • Professional ethics
Core skills
  • Advocacy, including examination-in-chief, cross-examination and civil applications
  • Conferencing
  • Drafting
  • Opinion writing
  • Resolution of disputes out of court
Study options

In your final term, you’ll choose to study two options from a list that includes:

  • Advanced criminal litigation
  • Alternative dispute resolution: mediation
  • Chancery
  • International commercial practice
  • Employment tribunal practice
  • Family practice
  • Immigration practice and asylum
  • Judicial review
  • Personal injury and clinical negligence
Mock trials

We give you as many opportunities as possible to hone your essential advocacy skills and put what you learn into practice:

  • Participating in mock trials in real courtrooms with real judges and senior barristers
  • Online advocacy skill demonstrations with feedback from practising barristers
  • Visits to the High Court, Magistrate’s Court, Crown Court and County Courts
Master of Laws (LLM)

If you study our BPTC LLM, you will undertake pro bono legal cases under the Legal Advice Clinic at your campus. You will take part in the Full Representation Service which includes representing lay clients in courts and tribunals. You will meet regularly with your supervisor and work with your student partner(s) on the cases - meeting clients, writing letters of advice, pleadings and representing the clients at hearings.

BPTC Full-time (48 hours of training & study per week)
  • Up to 12 hours of formal training per week, including individual sessions of up to 1.5 hours
  • This course is organised across four days (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday), giving you one day a week to dedicate to consolidating your learning or undertaking a pro bono activity of your choice
  • You will expect to devote around 30 hours to private study every week
BPTC Part-time weekend (24 hours of training & study per week)
  • Up to 14 study weekends per year spread evenly over the academic year – Saturday and Sunday
  • This will include 12 hours of formal training per study weekend
  • You will expect to devote around 10 hours private study every week, between each teaching weekend

BPTC LLM: Full-time and Part-time weekend


If you choose the BPTC LLM, you will need to anticipate working on LLM cases approximately 4 -5 hours a week with more in some weeks e.g. where there is an initial interview or a hearing.

  • Full time students: you have a private study day most weeks and have classes in either the morning or afternoon so can use the other part of the day to work on your LLM.
  • Part-time students: please ensure that you can be available in the week on occasion for appointments that cannot be scheduled at other times such as court hearings.
Course assessment

There are 12 assessments in total with practice assessments held for every module spread across the course. Prizes, sponsored by chambers, are available for the highest-scoring student in each subject.

BPTC LLM assessment


You will keep a reflective journal throughout the year about your pro bono work, and then submit your Critical Reflective Report at the end of the course.



BPTC Full-time Programme Demands (PDF)
BPTC Part-time Programme Demands (PDF)

Course start dates
Location Full-time Part-time
Birmingham Applications opening soon Applications opening soon
Leeds Applications opening soon  
London Bloomsbury Applications opening soon Applications opening soon

BPTC 19-20 Full-Time Course Dates (PDF)
BPTC 19-20 Part-Time Course Dates (PDF)
More information on our locations

Fees for 2020 courses coming soon.





Come and meet us at one of our open days or at a number of our law experience events where you can take advantage of our excellent connections with firms and practising lawyers.

Book an open day or event here.

Applications for our 2020 courses are opening soon.



Our BPTC director, specialist careers consultant and a BPTC student share top tips on how to make your BPTC application stand out.

At The University of Law, we recognise that your ultimate goal is to obtain pupillage, progress onto tenancy and hone all the skills and experience you need to develop your practice. That’s why we ensure that every step of the way, you have dedicated careers support and a wealth of opportunities to progress.

A personal careers service

The University of Law has the UK’s largest law careers and employability service, with more than 30 experts providing support as soon as you accept your place. Through one-on-one careers appointments, live and virtual workshops, the careers team advise on:

  • CVs and cover letters
  • Mini-pupillage applications
  • Which sets to apply to based on your interests and profile
  • Pupillage applications: drafting and review
  • Interview preparation, including spotting and debating current affairs and relevant legal topics
  • Mock interviews
  • Deciding between pupillage offers
  • Post-BPTC employment, scholarships and further study

As well as bespoke advice and assistance, our careers team are able to organise a wide-range of events and presentations thanks to our excellent links with chambers across the country. 

Typical events include:

  • Inviting the barristers on pupillage committees to discuss and answer questions about the pupillage application process
  • Specialist panels and external speakers discussing the nuances of specific practice areas e.g. Commercial & Chancery and Family
  • Presentations by external speakers including specialist practitioners and representatives from the Inns of Court
  • Discussion on the non-legal aspects of being a barrister including talks from a chambers’ client care manager and a tax consultant
  • A small number of evenings hosted by specific chambers, reserved for ULaw students only
Pro bono opportunities

The University runs a varied pro bono programme at all of our campuses, which allows our students to gain experience in dealing with real cases while helping the local community. You’ll get valuable first-hand experience of client relationships, legal research and drafting, whilst helping those who may not otherwise have access to legal support and advice.

Current projects include: Legal Advice Centre, Streetlaw, Royal Courts of Justice Personal Support Unit, Family Law Advice Clinic, Environmental Law Foundation, Communities Empowerment Network and County Court Runner Scheme. These projects are separate from those undertaken on the BPTC LLM. 

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