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Studying to become a barrister

After completing a law degree, or a Graduate Diploma in Law if you're a non-law graduate, you will need to take the Bar Course Aptitude Test before applying for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

Before you start the BPTC, you will also need to join one of the Inns of Court, with which you will complete 12 qualifying sessions during your BPTC.

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A competitive job market

Every year around 1,700 people study a BPTC

Every year around 480 Pupillages are offered

People can apply for Pupillages for 5 years after their course

This means that every year there are around 3,000 people applying for Pupillages

On average, only 34% of BPTC students go on to get a Pupillage

Graduate Diploma in Law

The Graduate Diploma in Law (also known as the CPE) is a law conversion course for non-law graduates. The GDL takes one year to complete with full-time study. You will need to undertake this qualification if you are a non-law graduate who wants to pursue a career as a barrister.

Sitting the Bar Course Aptitude Test

Once you have completed a law degree or the GGL, you will need to sit the The Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT). The BCAT is a screening measure to ensure that people studying the BPTC are capable of achieving the qualification. It is necessary to take this test before applying for BPTC courses. It costs £150 if taken in the EU, and £170 if taken outside the EU.

BCAT opened on 4 February 2019 and closes on 16 September 2019

Joining an Inn of Court

Before you begin the Bar Professional Training Course, you must first belong to one of the fours Inns of Court. The Inns of Court are professional associations of barristers and only they have the power to 'call' .

The deadline to apply to join an Inn is 31 May in the year before the start of your BPTC training course.

All BPTC students must pass 12 qualifying sessions with their Inn before they can graduate from the BPTC.

Choosing your Inn

Qualifying sessions
The Inns of Court offer scholarships for the BPTC and the GDL.
Scholarships for the 2019-20 BPTC open in September/October and close on 2 November 2018.
Scholarships for the GDL close on 3 May 2019 (the first Friday in May in the year the course starts).

Applying to study the Bar Professional Training Course

As of 2019, to qualify as a barrister, you need to do the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). This is a one year course run at a university.

The first round of applications was from December 2019 to 18 January 2019.

The clearing round for applications in 2017 will take place between 12 April 2019 and 2 September 2019.

IMPORTANT: The training route for barristers is changing. Students who enroll on the BPTC this year (2019) will be last to do so and there will be transitional arrangements in place until 2021. Graduates who want to become a barrister after 2019 will be able to train and qualify via a range of different pathways. Find out more via the Bar Standards Board website