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In a demanding and rapidly changing legal landscape, the highest quality training is required to succeed as a barrister. Northumbria University’s Bar Course Postgraduate Diploma will support you in acquiring the necessary knowledge and practical skills crucial to practice at the modern Bar.

Northumbria University's approach to Bar training replicates professional practice in a safe educational setting.

You will study the core knowledge subjects that include:

  • Civil Litigation (incorporating evidence and alternative dispute resolution)
  • Criminal Litigation (incorporating evidence and sentencing)
  • Advocacy Skills
  • Conferencing
  • Drafting
  • Opinion Writing
  • Professional Ethics
  • Legal Research

You will apply your knowledge and skills to practice in a broad range of briefs, instructed from the outset and focused upon the foundational areas of pupillage and early practice - family, civil and criminal law. You will develop your skills in advocacy, conferencing, drafting and opinion writing within the simulated context of these briefs, and this invaluable, practical experience will equip you to be immediately effective in pupillage.

Northumbria’s Bar training is led by a team of highly experienced barristers, and supported by our well-established network of guest speakers including members of the Bar, judges, and forensic scientists. 

You will benefit from generous contact hours throughout the course – including dedicated exam-focused teaching sessions– in which the teaching team will share their expertise to support you in preparing for the Bar Standards Board (BSB) centralised assessments. 

You may also gain, at no further cost, an additional qualification in mediation. 

Northumbria delivers opportunities to develop distinctive and unique knowledge and skills with opportunities to undertake:

  • Vulnerable witness training
  • Practitioner advocacy masterclasses
  • Teaching in respect of forensic science and forensic statistics
  • Participation in international mooting competitions
  • A mentoring scheme delivered in conjunction with the Bar

Together these opportunities will allow you to distinguish yourself in a competitive environment and ultimately thrive in this prestigious profession.

Our flexible suite of Bar Courses offer you the opportunity to learn in the way that suits you best, with full-time, LLM and separate Bar Knowledge and Bar Skills options available.

Please note: The Bar Course replaces what was formerly the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), as the BSB-regulated vocational stage of training for those who wish to become a barrister in England and Wales.

Course Information

Level of Study

Mode of Study
2 years part time
1 other options available

Northumbria Law School

City Campus, Northumbria University


September 2020

Fee Information

Discover more about Northumbria Law School

Discover more about the student experience and the academic experience here at Northumbria Law School.

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Your Bar training at Northumbria will be immersive, practice-focused and extremely supportive. By studying in a way that simulates professional practice, you will prepare yourself for a seamless transition from classroom to courtroom.

We will deliver the knowledge modules over both semesters, through a combination of lectures, seminars, podcasts and tutorials. We believe that face-to-face teaching is essential to allow you to discuss and debate the material with our academics, and learn from their extensive experience of the law.

Integrated with the knowledge modules, you will develop your skills through three practice streams focusing on the 3 foundational areas of practice in pupillage and the junior Bar – Family, Civil and Criminal Practice. You will practice Advocacy, Conferencing, Drafting and Opinion Writing in context of actual practice with the ability to access briefs entirely electronically – as in many areas of modern practice.

You will have opportunities to undertake Advocacy training involving non-civilian witnesses and expert witnesses, for example Crime Scene Investigators, Police Officers and Social Workers (please note, the range of witnesses may change year on year).

In addition, you will have access to specialist exam practice technique sessions to help you prepare for the centralised assessments, extra advocacy masterclasses, mooting competitions, a Qualifying Dinner, and a supplementary qualification in mediation.

Underpinning all of this is a strong emphasis on Professional Ethics, which will equip you with the knowledge required for the Professional Ethics assessment on the Bar Course and provide the foundation for the further assessment you will undertake during pupillage.

Book a Virtual Open Day / Experience The Bar Course at Northumbria

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At Northumbria you can expect exceptionally high standards of teaching from a practice-oriented teaching team, many of whom remain in practice at the Bar or sit as Judges.

We are enthusiastically supported by the broader Bar and Judiciary, who often deliver in-course and extra-curricular teaching as part of the Practitioner Programme – with a strong emphasis on the development of your advocacy skills. The quality of our teaching has also been recognised through a variety of awards and nominations. These include Law Teacher of the Year Award, the Attorney General’s Pro Bono Award and the Northern Law Awards.

The expertise of staff extends beyond professional practice. As academics, the tutors at Northumbria Law School have expertise in a range of areas, with some members recognised as national or international leaders in their field. We host the Northumbria Centre for Evidence and Criminal Justice Studies, and our research groups include Gender, Sexuality and Law; the Northumbria Information Rights Research Group; and the International Law Research Interest Group.

“I think it’s very helpful to have someone teaching you how to do advocacy, for example, when they’ve spent the three days prior to your class in a trial situation.”

David McCormick, Northumbria alumni and Barrister

Teaching Staff / Meet the Team

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Northumbria Law School provides first-class teaching in a world-class environment. You will be based in our award-winning City Campus East building, which houses our mock courtroom and Student Law Office as well as an array of lecture theatres, classrooms and a dedicated postgraduate study area.

It is also home to our specialist Law Practice Library, which contains practitioner materials as well as a wide variety of journals, databases, and law reports. The range and depth of resources reflects our position as the largest law school in the North East region.

The 24/7 University Library achieves some of the highest levels of student satisfaction in the UK, and holds Cabinet Office accreditation for Customer Service Excellence.

Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) is an integral part of this course. You receive extensive support through our e-learning platform, Blackboard, where you can access a wide range of resources. These include online discussion forums, collaborative online learning, self-test materials and assessment tasks. We use Panopto software to record teaching, feedback and practical exercises in Conferencing and Advocacy. This is a valuable aid in the process of reflection, critical thinking and improvement.

Book a Virtual Open Day / Experience The Bar Course at Northumbria

Visit an Open Day to find out about life in Newcastle, tour our facilities, discover your funding options and chat to staff and students.

You will experience research-rich learning in both the knowledge and skills elements of Bar training, through enquiry-based tasks, case analysis and engagement with legal research.

The pervasive research culture of Northumbria Law School will facilitate your development of excellent research skills and a strong conceptual understanding of specialist areas of law.

The Law School’s research is focused on three areas: Law and Society; Legal Education and Professional Skills; and the Centre for Evidence and Criminal Justice Studies. Your tutors will discuss their own and wider research as it relates to the course, enhancing your learning experience and encouraging critical thinking.

Research / Northumbria Law School

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Visit an Open Day to find out about life in Newcastle, tour our facilities, discover your funding options and chat to staff and students.

On successful completion of the Bar Course you will be fully prepared for the demands of practice, and will be eligible for call to the Bar of England and Wales (subject to meeting the qualifying requirements of your Inn of Court).

At Northumbria, we aim to ensure that you are prepared in every way for pupillage selection and life as a barrister. The course will build on your existing legal knowledge and equip you with the skills, knowledge and values necessary for practice as an effective and successful legal professional.

Northumbria Law School is internationally-recognised as delivering excellence in training for the Bar, and we are an integral part of the local legal community. Local firms and practitioners often sponsor prizes celebrating student success on the programme – evidence of the high esteem in which our graduates are held and a remarkable opportunity for you to gain recognition. 

Previous graduates have gone on to positions as barristers in Newcastle and all over England and Wales, as well as in Commonwealth jurisdictions across the globe.


Find out how studying at Northumbria law school helped Jack secure his pupillage, and hear about Jonathan's journey to becoming a barrister.

Alumni Interviews

Watch four of our Northumbria Law alumni talk about their experiences, and their flourishing careers as barristers at Trinity Chambers and Dere Street here in Newcastle.

Book a Virtual Open Day / Experience The Bar Course at Northumbria

Visit an Open Day to find out about life in Newcastle, tour our facilities, discover your funding options and chat to staff and students.

Entry Requirements 2020/21

Standard Entry

Applicants should normally have:

A minimum of a 2:1 honours degree in Law or a minimum of a Commendation in the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). Applicants with a 2:2 honours degree or a Pass in the GDL will be considered exceptionally on an individual basis.

All applicants are required to join one of the four Inns of Court before commencing the course, and applicants must pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) introduced by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). Applicants must have achieved a minimum standard as specified by the BSB within the past five years. For more information please visit

English language requirements:

Please visit  

For further information and how to apply, please visit
Please review this information before submitting your application.


Fees and Funding 2020/21 Entry

Full UK Fee: £12,000

Full EU Fee: £12,000

Full International Fee: £12,000


The fees above include the Bar Standards Board fee (which will be £870 in September 2020 - £575 for the Bar Knowledge Course and £295 for the Bar Skills Course where students elect to take one of these programmes as opposed to the full Bar Course - and which is subject to change each year thereafter at the discretion of the BSB): Upon joining the course, you will be provided with the core textbooks that you require for your studies (you may purchase additional texts if you wish, but they will not be ‘recommended reading’ and you may find that the University library has copies of any additional texts that you may wish to browse/refer to). Additional costs include: the Bar Course Aptitude test (BCAT) (prescribed by the BSB) at £150.00 within the EU and £170 outside the EU (again, the cost of this is subject to change) ( N.B. if you need to re-sit the BCAT, each attempt costs £150.00 within the EU and £170 outside the EU and is subject to change): and the Inn membership fee which was between £100.00 and £110.00 in 2019. All of these additional costs are mandatory and subject to pricing by independent bodies (and so the prices given above may possibly change from year to year). Students must also attend 10 ‘qualifying sessions’, run by the Inns of Court. These may include dinners, lectures, advocacy training or residential weekends. One such session is included in your fees - the Northumbria Bar Dinner. The remaining 9 sessions are funded by the student and the cost varies depending on what you choose to attend and its location. Costs will typically include travel, event costs, accommodation and meals if necessary.

Scholarships and discounts

Click here for Home/EU scholarships and discounts information

Click here for International scholarships and discounts information

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How to Apply

How to Apply

Application for most courses is direct to the University via our online application form. Simply click on the 'Apply Online' button you will see on each of our course entries.

However, there are some courses where the application method is not directly to the University. These are:


Postgraduate Research
If you wish to apply for postgraduate research then please submit a research enquiry.

Application Deadlines 

Whilst most of our courses do not set an exact deadline for applications, you are advised to apply early to secure your place and organise any sponsorship or funding. Overseas students should submit applications to us by no later than 31 July for courses starting in early September or 1 December for courses that commence in January. This allows sufficient time to process our decision, for you to obtain visas and to organise your accommodation and travel arrangements.

Graduate Teacher Training Courses
Equal consideration is given to all applications received by UCAS Teacher Training by the main application deadline, details of all deadlines can be found on the UTT website.

Law professional courses
For details about the selection and allocation process for the full-time Law Professional courses please see the relevant website. For the Legal Practice Course (LPC)/Common Professional Examination and the Graduate Diploma in Law (CPE/GDL) courses, and for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC and BPTC LLM)

 Master of Fine Art (MFA)

Master of Fine Art (MFA) We encourage all applications to the MFA programme for entry in September 2017 to apply prior to our guaranteed application review date of 1st June 2017. After this date, we will review applications subject to there being remaining spaces on the programme.


Decision Making Process

Most courses require at least one reference, but some may need two. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure Northumbria receives a satisfactory academic reference. If you have not been in education for a number of years, then a reference from your employer may be acceptable.

We try to reply to applicants as soon as possible but you should receive a response within 10 working days, and this will be one of the following.

  • Conditional offer which will normally be upon the completion of your undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification and achieving a particular classification or grade. You will be required to send us a confirmation that you have passed your current degree course as soon as you receive notification to enable us to confirm your offer. 
  • Unconditional offer is made if you have already met the entry requirements of your chosen course 
  • Reject your application 

You will be asked to confirm your acceptance in writing of any offer made.

Fairness and Transparency
The University is committed to a system of admissions that ensures fairness, transparency and equal opportunities within the legal framework of the UK and best practice. All reasonable effort will be made to ensure that no prospective or existing student is unreasonably treated less favourably on the grounds of age, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, creed, disability, sexual orientation, gender, marital or parental/carer status, political belief or social or economic class, or any other type of discrimination.

Tuition Fee Assessment
Tuition fees are set at different levels for Home/EU and International Students. Before you begin your course the University must establish your tuition fee status. In many cases, the University will be able to make this assessment without requiring any additional information.

Guidance can be found on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website to help you understand how Higher Education Institutions (HEI's) make an assessment on your fee status.

Selection Process 

Applicants who may not have the standard entry qualifications are welcome to apply and may be interviewed. Some courses will interview as part of the selection process. This applies particularly to courses in art and design, teaching and health.

Health Screening
Applicants for Nursing, Midwifery, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Primary (Early Years) and Social Work will be required to complete a health questionnaire. They may be required to attend for doctor or nurse assessment at the University Health Centre.

Prior to beginning their programme, all applicants to Nursing, Midwifery, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy are advised to start a course of Hepatitis B vaccinations, available from their own GP. In addition, Midwifery applicants must provide evidence before they commence training that they are immune to Hepatitis B or have Hepatitis B non-carried status.

Applicants to these courses who have had contact with MRSA in the previous 6 months may be asked to provide evidence that they are not colonised by submitting negative swabs results prior to commencement of training. Alternatively, they may be screened on commencement of the programme.

All applicants will receive vaccination screening at the University Health Centre on commencement of their programme.

Disclosure of Criminal Background
To help the University reduce the risk of harm or injury to any member of its community caused by the criminal behaviour of other students, it must know about any relevant criminal convictions an applicant has.

Relevant criminal convictions are only those convictions for offences against the person, whether of a violent or sexual nature, and convictions for offences involving unlawfully supplying controlled drugs or substances where the conviction concerns commercial drug dealing or trafficking. Convictions that are spent (as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) are not considered to be relevant and you should not reveal them.

If you are applying for courses in teaching, health, social work and courses involving work with children or vulnerable adults, you must complete the section of your UCAS application form entitled 'Criminal Convictions'. You must disclose any criminal convictions, including spent sentences and cautions (including verbal cautions) and bindover orders. Further information on how to complete this section is available from the UCAS booklet 'How to Apply'. For these courses, applicants are required to undergo police clearance for entry and will need to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) enhanced disclosure form. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). Access to the DBS checking service is only available to registered employers who are entitled by law to ask an individual to reveal their full criminal history, including spent convictions - also known as asking 'an exempted question'. The University is such a 'registered employer' and will send you the appropriate documents to fill in if you are offered a place in the course.

If you are convicted of a relevant criminal offence after you have applied, you must inform the university immediately. Do not send details of the offence; simply tell the University that you have a relevant criminal conviction. You may then be asked to supply more details.

Anti-fraud Checks
Please note that the University follows anti-fraud procedures to detect and prevent fraudulent applications. If it is found that an applicant supplies a fraudulent application then it will be withdrawn.

The University reserves the right to cancel an application or withdraw any offer made if it is found that an application contains false, plagiarised or misleading information.


Disabled Students

Northumbria welcomes enquiries and applications from disabled students whether disability is due to mobility or sensory impairment, specific learning difficulties, mental health issues or a medical condition. Applications from disabled students are processed in the usual way, but applicants should declare their disability at the application stage so that the University can contact them to assess how to meet any support needs they may have. Disabled applicants may be invited to visit the University so that this can be done in person.

To find out more contact:
Disability Support Team
Tel +44 (0)191 227 3849 or
Minicom +44 (0)191 222 1051


International Students

The University has a thriving overseas community and applications from International students are welcome. Advice on the suitability of overseas qualifications is available from:

International Office
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne

Tel +44 (0)191 227 4274
Fax +44 (0)191 261 1264

(However, if you have already applied to Northumbria and have a query, please contact or telephone 00 44 191 243 7906)

Provision of Information
The University reserves the right at any stage to request applicants and enrolling students to provide additional information about any aspect of their application or enrolment. In the event of any student providing false or inaccurate information at any stage, and/or failing to provide additional information when requested to do so, the University further reserves the right to refuse to consider an application, to withdraw registration, rescind home fees status where applicable, and/or demand payment of any fees or monies due to the University.

Study Options

The following alternative study options are available for this course:

To start your application, simply select the month you would like to start your course.

Bar Course


Any Questions?

Call our clearing hotline now on +44 (0)80 0085 1085

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