GDL Scholarships

Students can apply for scholarships to support them during their law conversion course. Eligible courses for an award are: Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), LLM conversion course, and the two-year postgraduate LLB conversion course. These courses may be taken full time or part time.

In 2024, the Inner Temple will offer £200,500 in GDL scholarships.

Breakdown of Awards

There are two Princess Royal Scholarships; one award of £10,000 and one award of £7500.
Four major scholarships are available. These are the second tier of scholarships and are awarded to the next 20 best scoring candidates. The value of each Major Scholarships is determined by financial assessment. The minimum award is £3000 and the maximum award is £13,000.
There are approximately 30 Exhibition Scholarships available each year available to those who perform very well in their scholarship application and interview. The value of each Exhibition Scholarship is determined by financial assessment. The minimum award is £3000 and the maximum award is £13,000.

The Guaranteed Funding Scheme

The Inner Temple is the only Inn that will guarantee a GDL scholarship winner an award of at least equal value for their Bar Course.

Students who receive a GDL award from the Inn, and successfully complete their law conversion course, will automatically receive an award of the same amount for their Bar Course, without further interview. GDL award holders therefore have the certainty that a minimum level of funds will be available to them from the Inn throughout their period of study for the Bar.

Holders of GDL awards are, however, encouraged to apply for a higher award for their Bar Course year. This application should be made in the autumn prior to the start of the Bar Course. By applying for a higher Bar Course award, scholars will not jeopardise their right to the guaranteed funding.

Applicants who are unsuccessful at obtaining a GDL award are welcome reapply for a GDL award in the following application round, and are also welcome to apply for a Bar Course Scholarship Award on obtaining a Qualifying Law Degree.

Application Procedure

Applications for 2024 are now open. Please click through below to access the application portal.

Our 2024 GDL scholarship round will open on Monday 18 March and close at 1pm on Friday 3 May. Interviews will take place on Friday 14 June and Saturday 15 June. Please click through to the scholarship application portal here.

Application Process

Inner Temple awards are intended to be awarded only to those who wish to practice at the Bar of England and Wales once qualified. Applicants should apply for a scholarship in the summer before starting the conversion course. Applicants applying in 2024 must intend to start their conversion course in the academic year following their application. Students may only apply for a scholarship from one of the four Inns of Court. Names of applicants are shared between Inns to ensure that students have not applied to more than one Inn.
The criteria are: - Academic performance - Evidenced by academic performance at university or academic potential shown through improvements at each academic stage. - Advocacy Potential - Deploys precise and well-reasoned arguments, with clarity and fluency. Can demonstrate persuasiveness and conviction, can tailor style to the audience. - Professionalism and Interpersonal Skills – Ability to build productive working relationships, treat people with courtesy and respect regardless of their background or circumstances. Responds appropriately to those from diverse backgrounds and to the needs and sensitivities created by individual circumstances. - Motivation – A very high level of commitment to a career at the Bar, together with a sound understanding of the profession and any current intended area(s) of practice. Being adaptable and flexible by being self-aware and self-directed.
The application form is broken down into 6 sections – contact information; educational details; legal and non-legal work experience; supporting information; references and equality monitoring. The ‘supporting information’ section includes professional statement/ essay style questions, which are specific to the scholarship you are applying for. Please note that if you submit an application, you will be asked to provide details on your financial circumstances in May, via a separate form within the scholarships portal. Candidates submit one application form and are considered for all Inner Temple GDL Awards (listed above) at the same time.
Applicants are required to arrange for two references to be included in support of a scholarship application, which can be either academic or professional references. All referees should have known the applicant for at least 6 months, and references should be as detailed as possible. Please note that family members cannot provide references. As part of the application form, applicants will be required to provide the names and contact details for their referees. An automatic email will then be sent to the referees, asking them to upload their reference directly to us.
In line with the Inn’s commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, we invite applicants to submit contextual recruitment information, as part of the scholarship application process. Inner Temple is continuing to use the Rare Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) which allows us to understand each applicant’s achievements in the context in which they have been gained. We seek to award scholarships to the best people, from every background, regardless of their personal circumstances, and the CRS will help us to do that. The CRS is only ever used to screen people in, not out. Under no circumstances are candidates put at any disadvantage for supplying this information. Contextual recruitment information is collected via a separate form after the submission deadline.
Applicants are asked to complete a financial means assessment form after submitting their scholarship application. As part of this, applicants are asked to provide details of their financial situation for their upcoming Bar Course year. This includes income, outgoings, other financial support available (in the form of scholarships, grants, savings, and financial support from family/ guardians/ partners), and course fees. The financial assessment data is only considered, after the scholarship interviews have been conducted and the scholars have been selected, based on merit as assessed against the Inn’s scholarships criteria. The Inn's goal is to financially level the playing field amongst our scholars. The financial means assessment uses the collected financial data to calculate how much funding will be available to each scholar during their bar course year. The value of Major Scholarships and Exhibition Scholarships are determined based on this calculation. The minimum value of a scholarship is £3,000 and the maximum value of a scholarship is £13,000.

Interview Process

In the last round of Bar Course applications, The Inner Temple interviewed every applicant. It is the Inn's intention, numbers permitting, to continue to offer interviews to all candidates that apply for a Bar Course Scholarship. The Inn offers candidates the choice of attending either an online or in-person scholarship interview. Online interviews are held via Zoom and in-person interviews are held at the Inner Temple. Applicants are asked to indicate on their application form, which format of interview they would like to attend, and based on this, are invited to book an interview slot after submitting their application form.
Online interviews will take place on the evening of Friday 14 June, 2024. In-person interviews will take place on Saturday 15 June, 2024. Candidates are advised to keep these dates free as it is difficult to arrange interviews outside of these times. Once an interview is booked it is very difficult to change the date or time of the interview.
On the day of your interview, when you arrive you will be greeted by the Scholarships Team, registered and shown to the waiting area. A couple of minutes prior to the start of your interview, one of the team will collect you from the waiting area and take you through to your interview. Interviews are conducted by a panel of members of the Inn and will last approximately 20 minutes. All panel members will have been sent your application form prior to the interviews. The questions asked will be based on information from your application form and the criteria listed above. There will also be a situational test during the interview, where the panel will give you a statement, on a topical issue, and ask you to present the arguments for and against. This will be an oral test and you will not be expected to have prepared for it in advance.
After the interviews, results are usually distributed within 2 weeks via email.
Each year we hold pre-interview briefing meetings with candidates prior to the interviews. During these meetings, candidates are given further information about the interview format.

How will my application be assessed?

Criteria Description Assessment Method

Academic Performance

Evidenced by academic performance at university or academic potential shown through improvements at each academic stage.

Application form 

Advocacy Potential 

Deploys precise and well-reasoned arguments, with clarity and fluency. Can demonstrate persuasiveness and conviction, can tailor style to the audience.

Application form & interview performance

Professionalism and Interpersonal Skills

Ability to build productive working relationships, treat people with courtesy and respect regardless of their background or circumstances. Responds appropriately to those from diverse backgrounds and to the needs and sensitivities created by individual circumstances.

Application form & interview performance

Motivation

A very high level of commitment to a career at the Bar, together with a sound understanding of the profession and any current intended area(s) of practice. Being adaptable and flexible by being self-aware and self-directed.

Application form & interview performance

GDL Scholarship Statistics

Application Stage 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023

Number of applications

108

123

80

87

139

Number of Interviews (after withdrawals)

106

120

77

77

135

Total Awards

34

36

30

32

43

Alternative sources of funding for the GDL

Student Finance

If applying for the LLM conversion course, students are eligible to apply for a Masters Loan (of £11,222 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2020) from Students Finance England.

Postgraduate Loans

Post-graduate loans which cover the cost of course fees and living expenses are available from companies such as Future Finance and LendWise.

Course Providers

Many course providers have their own scholarship schemes which can provide a contribution towards the cost of undertaking the GDL or equivalent conversion course.

Differing Course Types

It is also possible to undertake the GDL part-time over 2 years at certain providers, which enables the splitting of the cost of fees.  If undertaking the GDL part time, it is possible to apply for an Inner Temple scholarship in the spring before you start the course as well as the spring in the first year of your training, if your application is unsuccessful first time around.