The BPTC is one of the most important courses you can study when looking to become a Barrister and is compulsory for all would-be Barristers.
For those looking to become a Barrister or looking to work in the world of Law, the BPTC is one of the most essential qualifications available in the United Kingdom today.
The BPTC covers many different subjects and disciplines and allows students to gain first-hand knowledge of what being a Barrister is like.
What is the BPTC?
The BPTC is the Bar Professional Training Course, a postgraduate course that is essential for those looking to become a Barrister in the UK. The course is considered to be a vocational course, similar to the LNAT or the DipTrans.
The BPTC is designed to build on knowledge already gained either during a normal undergraduate Law degree or during the Graduate Diploma in Law.
The BPTC is, overall, a theoretical-based qualification and is mainly designed for classroom tutelage, however, there are also modules available on the course that are more practical-based. These areas are covered by the BPTC:
- Civil litigation and evidence
- Conference skills
- Criminal litigation, evidence and sentencing
- Dispute resolution
- Professional ethics
As well as these eight modules, you will also have two optional subjects that cover a more specialised area of the law. You will also need to complete a further twelve qualifying sessions at your own Inn of Court before you are allowed to present yourself before the Bar.
The BPTC and your Inn of Court will also give students the chance to look at more extracurricular activities and programmes to help you with your student CV, with things such as:
- Mock trials
- Pro-bono work
What is an Inn of Court?
The Inns of Court are professional associations for Barristers in England and Wales. A Barrister must belong to one of the four associations as the Inns have both supervisory and disciplinary authority over the members. These Inns provide members with dining facilities, libraries and professional accommodation as well as a church or chapel.
The four Inns of Court in England and Wales are:
- The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn
- The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
- The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn
- The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple
All of these four Inns are located close to each other in Central London. These Inns are some of the oldest institutions in the UK and have stood since the 12th and 13th centuries.
Barristers are free to choose which Inn they wish to belong to as each has its own awards, benefits and facilities, all of which will have a different impact on you and your career.
How long is the BPTC?
This depends on how you wish to study. Many students look to take the course full-time, in which case the course takes a year to study.
However, those that study the course as a part-time course will have to study for around two years.
What are the entry requirements?
The university entry requirements depend on the institute that you are applying to and will also depend on how you plan to study the qualification as well, either as a part-time or full-time student or if you plan to sit in-person or via a distance learning course.
Ordinarily, you will need one of the following:
- A qualifying Law degree at a 2:1 level or above.
- A non-Law degree at a 2:1 level or above and a Graduate Diploma in Law.
By the time the course begins, students should also be a member of one of the four Inns of Court, though this is not essential, having extra-curricular experience will greatly benefit your BPTC application.
You will also need to have sat the BCAT, a test administered by the Bar Standards Authority (BSA) before you can apply for the BPTC. Though it is possible to apply for the BPTC without having sat the BCAT, you will have needed to pass the BCAT prior to the BPTC beginning.
How much does the BPTC cost?
This depends on where you are studying the BPTC and will also depend on how you are planning on studying, either as a part-time or full-time student, how you plan to study, either in-person or via a distance learning course, will also impact the cost of the BPTC as well.
Overall, the BPTC generally costs anywhere between £15,000 and £19,000.
Are there any funding or scholarship options for the BPTC?
Yes, there are. One of the many benefits of belonging to one of the four Inns of Court is that you can be provided with a scholarship or a Masters scholarship to help ease the financial burden.
There will also be providers of the BPTC that will offer scholarships of bursaries for students, however, these are dependent on their admissions policy and not all providers will necessarily offer them.
Many students are eligible for financial aid to cover their BPTC if it is combined with the LLM as the LLM is a more widely recognised course and is essential for a number of legal jobs.
Which institutes offer the BPTC?
Not all universities or law schools are able to offer the BPTC as only approved institutes are permitted to offer it to students. The universities and institutes that are permitted to offer the BPTC are:
- BPP Law School
- City Law School
- Inns of Court College of Advocacy
- Manchester Metropolitan
- Northumbria University
- Nottingham Trent University
- University of Law
- University of the West of England
The costs of these providers change every year depending on the uptake and the general rise of tuition fees, however, the general costs of the BPTC are:
|BPP Law School (all locations)||£15,680 - £19,070|
|City Law School||£18,500|
|Inns of Court College of Advocacy||Variable|
|Manchester Metropolitan University||£14,550|
|Nottingham Trent University||£14,800|
|University of Law||£16,250 - £19,400|
|University of the West of England||£14,000|
These fees have been known to change and are subject to a number of influencing factors, but the general fees are similar to this.
The main factor that can change the fee, is the location that the students decide to study the course at. For instance, courses studied in London, tend to be more expensive than those studied elsewhere.