About the course
The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Intellectual Property Law and Practice is a vocational course for people embarking on a career in intellectual property (IP) law and practice. It is a one-year, part-time course, taught by senior practitioners and academics, and designed to provide a grounding in the fundamentals of IP law and practice.
The diploma comprises a two-week residential programme held in September at Oxford's Merton College and a series of weekend workshops held from October to June in London law firms. Teaching is provided by a mix of practising and academic lawyers and covers the full range of IP subjects, including patents, trademarks, unfair competition and passing off, trade secrets, designs, copyright and moral rights as well as key aspects of litigious and non-litigious IP practice and procedure.
The residential programme is taught by means of a series of lectures delivered in close succession which contextualise the various course elements and make conceptual links between them, and also deal with the more theoretical elements of the course. The workshop sessions involve interactive seminars in which students are taught in small groups by experienced IP practitioners, and help them to build on the theoretical grounding gained from the residential programme.
The diploma is assessed by five written assignments, each of 3,000 words, and two examinations. The assignments are spread throughout the year with each relating to a particular workshop and taking the form of a practical exercise, such as the drafting of statements of case or instructions to counsel. The examinations are held at the end of the year and are each two hours in length.
The great majority of students who take the diploma will be trainees or newly qualified solicitors with law firms and barristers' chambers; and as a result, their normal career path after completing the diploma will be to continue work with the firm and the chambers in question, though with an enhanced professional profile and an expanded skill-set which will enable them to progress to senior positions more rapidly.
The University of Oxford has an excellent careers service with which the faculty has close ties; the Careers Service organises a number of events of specific interest to students wishing to pursue a career in law, and offers one-to-one advice from members of staff with knowledge and experience specific to the legal sector. The Law Faculty has an extensive network of relationships within the legal profession and each year offers a number of talks and events run by law firms and barristers’ chambers.
Changes to the course
The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.
Entry requirements for entry in 2017-18
Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:
1. Academic ability
Proven and potential academic excellence
Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in any discipline.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.4 out of 4.0.
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
Other appropriate indicators will include:
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.
Performance at interview(s)
Interviews are not normally held as part of the admissions process.
Publications are not expected.
Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience
It is anticipated that candidates will be trainee or newly qualified solicitors or barristers with a UK Law Firm or Chambers embarking on a career in IP, although other equivalent professional qualifications will be considered.
2. English language requirement
Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.
3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places
The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:
- The ability of the Law Faculty to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work.
- Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.
The provision of supervision is subject to the following factors:
- The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Law Faculty and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff.
- Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Law Faculty.
Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, maternity leave or change in employment.
4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties
Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.
Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.
Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.
All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).
Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.
6. Other information
Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.
The Law Faculty is fortunate to have outstanding library facilities provided by the Bodleian Law Library, which benefits from the deposit of legal materials published in Great Britain, and shares in the advantages of being part of the largest university library in the country. The law library has undergone an extensive refurbishment which has resulted in upgraded facilities for all students.
Currently, the Law Library offers the vast majority of its holdings - some 550,000 items - on open shelves across four floors. Older legislation is housed in the Book storage facility and is retrievable within half a day. The library serves a large community of postgraduate readers and academics in their research requirements. In particular, it has excellent UK, US, French, German, Italian and Spanish resources, extensive Commonwealth materials, strong European Union and international law collections. It also has extensive holdings in the philosophy and sociology of law, legal history, comparative law, criminology and Roman law. To complement the paper collection, the law library provides extensive online legal resources, with databases from many jurisdictions and covering many legal topics.
The library has over 50 workstations for the use of readers, each providing access to the internet, legal databases, Microsoft Office applications and Endnote. There is a Graduate Reading Room with network connections and a wireless network which covers most of the library. Three small discussion rooms, and a larger seminar room, can be booked for small group work. The law librarians offer a range of research classes to support specific research needs of graduate students, and provide one-on-one advisory research support for researchers.
There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.
A number of Research Council awards are available each year from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (further details will be announced in October 2016), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
Annual fees for entry in 2017-18
Total annual fees
The fees shown above are the annual tuition fees for this course for entry in the stated academic year; for courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges. College fees are not generally payable for non-matriculated courses although a small number of courses may permit college affiliation for which a charge will be made.
Tuition fees are payable each year for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay tuition fees).
For more information about tuition fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details on the impact of the result of the UK referendum on its membership of the European Union.
Students will need to cover the cost of travel to the two-week residential programme held in Oxford at the beginning of the course. You may commute to this programme on a daily basis. You may choose to be accommodated at Merton College at an extra cost. The cost is expected to be in the region of £1,000 for 10 nights, including breakfast and dinner. Students can also choose to stay over the weekend for an extra cost of £84 per night including breakfast. You will also need to cover the costs of travel to the workshop sessions that comprise some of the course content; all of these sessions currently take place in London.
In addition to your tuition fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.
For the 2017-18 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between £1,002 and £1,471 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our Living costs page. If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.
This is a non-matriculated course and students studying non-matriculated courses do not become members of an Oxford college. More information about matriculated and non-matriculated courses can be found on the Matriculation page.
How to apply
You do not need to make contact with academic members of staff before you apply.
The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:
Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.
More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.
A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.
Up to 500 words
Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas that interest you and/or you intend to specialise in.
Please also indicate in your statement whether you would like to be accommodated at Merton College during the residential programme and whether you would require weekend accommodation (8-9 September 2017). For charges associated with this accommodation, please see the additional costs on the Funding tab.
This will be assessed for your reasons for applying, evidence of your motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study, and your ability to present a reasoned case in English.
References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, academic and/or professional
Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.
Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement and motivation. Both professional and academic references are acceptable.