Number of places: 84 FT
Fees (2014/15): £13,000
Most students on this course are drawn in by the opportunity to study at the only Russell Group university to run a BPTC. It doesn't hurt that Cardiff guarantees its aspiring barristers a two-week placement scheme and offers more contact time than rival providers, either. Students here attend 14 hours' worth of sessions a week, which take place between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Thursday. These mix knowledge and writing skills seminars, which take place in groups of 12, with advocacy classes in smaller groups of six.
The two-week placement includes a mini-pupillage at a local barristers set and a stint marshalling with a district or circuit level judge. Optional extras include a day-long expert witness handling seminar, a day of arbitration training and a Welsh advocacy course for fluent students.
BPTC students attend class in two buildings on the university campus, which is just outside Cardiff city centre, near Cathays Park. The park plays host to civic buildings like Cardiff Crown Court and the National Museum, as well as rolling lawns and formal gardens. When students aren't lolling on the grass, they benefit from teaching rooms equipped with electronic whiteboards and recording facilities; they also have access to the substantial university library opposite the law school. The university recently replaced its dedicated legal practice library with a computer-laden study space for postgraduate law students.
Pro bono opportunities include work for Welsh rugby clubs, the NHS continuing healthcare scheme and children's charity Cerebra. Students also have the chance to train with Cardiff's Personal Support Unit, which sees them advise litigants.
Cardiff's careers services group runs a mixture of large group sessions on CV writing and pupillage applications, and one-to-one sessions for advice and mock interviews.
Course leader Jetsun Lebasci tells us only a handful of students here secure pupillages by the end of their BPTC year, although more may go on to do so later. The course's high proportion of international students is likely a contributing factor, as is the fact that Cardiff lacks the established reputation of rival operators.
This course is worth crossing the border for if you want to undertake the BPTC at a well-known university. There's no need to speak Welsh to study in Cymru's capital, either.
Cardiff Law School