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The Benefits of Modular Learning

At the University of Law, we strive to make our courses manageable while still getting you through your studies as quickly as possible, so you can get on with your career and reach your goals.

By Editorial Team. Published 24 August 2018. Last updated 16 August 2023.

Some of our courses, like the PGDLMA Law (Conversion), and MA Law (SQE1) – our conversion courses – do this with a modular approach to your learning. But what is modular learning and how can it help you? We asked Peter Goodchild, National Programme Director for our law conversion courses, to give us the lowdown on the benefits of the modular course structure.

A more balanced approach to studies

Modular learning means we can split your year into terms. So, for the full-time PGDL, we’ve split the year into two terms. You study four modules in your first term (September to December), and four modules in your second term (January to May). It’s the same if you start in January. The part-time PGDL runs over two years rather than one, but the course has the same term splits, so each term focuses on two modules. All the benefits we see for modular learning seem to go across both full-time and part-time courses.

If you’re doing one of our master’s courses, the conversion component of your course is modular, just like the PGDL above. You then undertake your extra modules, again these are spread across separate terms.

More time to reflect

Studying law, and especially sitting law assessments, can be a little different to other subjects. We find that students doing their PGDL after a non-law undergraduate degree may take some time to adjust to the particular styles of legal research and essay writing. By having only four modules to start with, you get to ease into it, allowing a gentler learning curve and plenty of time to reassess your performance from one set of modules to the next.

“Exit velocity”

Using the two-term modular approach, we’ve noticed a phenomenon in our students which we like to call “exit velocity”. This is where students have just finished their first term assessments and get to step back and breathe for a moment. They then come back to the second term with the techniques, skills and understanding they gained from the first, which means they get a head start on their remaining subjects. Make no mistake, the law is a tough subject that demands a lot of energy but getting to change gear between terms seems to make all the difference.

Assessment insurance

If you were to take all your assessments at the end of the year, you would be putting all your eggs in one basket. You’d have to remember everything you’d learned over the nine months. One attempt at it all. It would be a lot of pressure.

By splitting your assessments, you can use the first set to your benefit. Having a first batch of assessments earlier in the year means you can get feedback and pointers from your tutors. So, when it comes time for your second set of assessments, you will have refined your technique and can go into them with greater confidence, feeling (a little) less pressure. And you also get two sets of practice assessments, so there are three chances to further develop your skills before your final summer assessments.


Find out more about our postgraduate courses.