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Would you like to be part of our thriving research community?

As a research student, you will be a vital part of our research culture and we will encourage you to participate in the life of the Law School. Our research programmes promote a balance between individual study with supervision, and a communal learning environment whereby students working on similar research topics are encouraged to discuss their work with one another.

Each year, the Law School provides a retreat for its research students, which is intended to develop a self critical assessment of research techniques and provide you with the opportunity to benefit from each others experience. You will be invited to attend seminars and public lectures across the University, and a number of other training opportunities will be made available to you during your time here.

We offer the following Research Degrees:

  • PhD (mininum 3 years)
    This involves a thesis of up to 80,000 words.
  • MPhil (mininum 2 years)
    This involves a thesis of up to 60,000 words.
  • LLM by Research (mininum 1 year)
    This involves a thesis of up to 40,000 words.

You will attend a research methods and theory course during your first year of study, and meet with your supervisor at least once a month throughout your degree.

You will usually have obtained a Masters degree with merit in law or equivalent (including a thesis or dissertation), and at least an upper second class undergraduate degree. In exceptional cases, we will accept proof of work experience that has involved significant original and substantial writing.

You will need to provide:

  • Degree transcripts
  • Two academic references or, exceptionally, professional references.
  • If your first language is not English, your English Language Score (IELTS of 7.0 or equivalent)
  • Research proposal: ​2000-2500 words (MPhil or PhD) or 1000-1500 words (LLM by Research)​
    This needs to contain:
    • Proposed research title and rationale, and a working hypothesis or research questions
    • Research methodology, including any proposed field work
    • Survey of the relevant literature and a clear expression of the originality of the proposed work
    • List of publications (where appropriate) and research experience.

Supervision is available in many varied fields of law. The School with over forty members of staff is able to offer research supervision over a wide range of legal topics indicated in our research clusters and centres.

Before you apply, you are encouraged to refer to our staff pages to find members of staff with expertise in your intended research area. You are welcome to contact our staff directly to see if they can provide any advice on your proposed research, but will still need to submit an application and meet the selection criteria set by the University before any offer is made.

Our research training will help you::

  • evolve into a well-rounded socio-legal scholar, with the skills and experience necessary to gain employment in tertiary education, or in a national or international organisation
  • develop an informed and wide-ranging understanding of the research process
  • gain an understanding of relevant research methods
  • situate socio-legal research within a theoretical framework which draws upon key philosophical approaches to the social sciences
  • to frame and refine effective research proposals
  • enhance your study, presentation and writing skills

In your first year you will study the theoretical and methodological aspects of legal research, to help you develop the skills necessary to inform and deepen your own research.

You will be encouraged after your first year to attend a research student seminar, and present your work-in-progress papers and participate in critical discussion of theoretical texts. With the agreement of your Director, you may attend some taught modules offered by the school or other departments.

Academic fees for 2017-18
  Full-time Part-time
Home / EU Students £4,191 £2,515
Overseas Students £16,230 N/A

Learn more about other costs to help you plan your budget.

The school now offers four scholarships for our research degree, two of which are specifically for those researching in the areas of contract, trusts or property. These awards are for a period of three years and will cover your fees plus a stipend. They are open to all new applicants.

To express your interest, please complete our online form before: 28 February 2018.

Please make sure you have submitted a formal application before expressing your interest in this scholarship.

Other sources of funding are available to applicants, please see the links below for more details.
1st Year Review
2nd Year Review
Key Facts
Start Date 1 October 2018