BPP is the first law school to reveal details of its conversion course to prepare non-law graduates for the solicitors’ ‘super-exam’.

The course, available from next September, will be shorter than the current Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), and will not have a single end-of-year exam season. At the moment, students are assessed at the end of their studies.

The course, called the PGDL, will cover the foundations of legal knowledge assessed by the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE). Students will also be taught additional skills and topics after research by BPP found that over three quarters of City firms expect trainees to have more knowledge than basic SQE preparation will provide.

According to BPP the course, which will last for eight months as opposed to nine, but has the same notional learning hours as the GDL. It will provide non-law graduates with all the training they need to pass the first stage of the SQE, the university said.

The price of the PGDL will be revealed next month, BPP said. Rival University of Law has yet to announce details of its conversion course. 

Laura McBrien, lead designer of the PGDL at BPP, said: ‘We are excited that the new structure and content will help students to reflect, progress, and ensure they are ready for the world of work following the completion of our programme, whatever their career aspirations.’ 

Chair of the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) Amy Clowrey said: 'The JLD are pleased to see education providers beginning to announce their proposed new SQE preparatory courses. It is noted that the SQE preparatory course will aim to satisfy the requirements of city firms and will therefore go above and beyond the level of knowledge required to pass the SQE. The worry with this approach is that this will result in a two-tier profession.

'Those who cannot afford to take the preparatory courses will likely self-teach in order to pass the SQE, whereas those who have access to funds will be able to undertake these city-approved SQE preparatory courses. This is a major concern.' 

The SQE is due to be introduced in autumn 2021. In July, the Solicitors Regulation Authority revealed that the first stage of the exam could be entirely multiple choice after a pilot found that the written section placed members of ethnic minorities at a disadvantage.