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Law by Research (September start)

MA ( 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time )


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Applicants should be aware that the deadline for applying to the MA Law by Research programme is 5pm Tuesday 31 July 2018. Applications for 2018 entry cannot be submitted from that date and time onwards.

The MA Law by Research is an ideal choice if you want to undertake in-depth and individually supervised research on a topic of your own choice. It is ideal if you are aiming to proceed to doctoral study, or if you wish to enhance your career prospects by developing expertise in a specific area of law, and improve your research and writing skills. The ability to undertake a major piece of research is a transferable skill which is relevant to many different kinds of employment.

The programme accommodates practical and traditional approaches, as well as theoretical and inter-disciplinary. Though the emphasis is on one-to-one supervision, the MA Law by Research can extend into many areas. The Department of Law has well-known strengths in many areas of law including criminal law, human rights and public international law. Students interested in commercial areas of law, including arbitration, banking and finance, tax, intellectual property, IT and communications law can also apply to draw on the expertise of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS). View the law staff list to see the full range of expertise within the School.

This programme will:

  • Offer you the choice to really specialise in an area of your choosing.
  • Give you a solid foundation if your aim is PhD study - if you receive a mark of 70 per cent or above you will be eligible to apply for the QMUL Law PhD programme.
  • Give you research skills and methodologies.

Why study your MA Law by Research at Queen Mary?

The School of Law has consistently been ranked in the top 10 law schools in the UK for the quality of our research, and many of our internationally recognised staff act as advisers to governments, industry and NGOs, both nationally and internationally.

The Postgraduate Law Centre is based in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Holborn, the legal district of London, near to numerous law firms, chambers and the Royal Courts of Justice and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, one of the leading law libraries in Europe.

We have a number of active research centres and institutes across a diverse range of legal areas, each one focuses on a particular area of law and brings together staff with similar research and teaching interests.


You will have access to facilities and equipment, including the Postgraduate School of Law Centre in Lincoln's Inn Fields which comprises workstations, wireless internet access, projectors and a common room. You will also have access to the Lock-keeper's Cottage Graduate Centre dedicated solely to the use of graduate students in the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, with the use of a common room and interdisciplinary training workshops.

As well as housing the Law Library and a European Documentation Centre, the Queen Mary Library at Mile End provides access to all the main British, European and international textbooks, law reports and periodicals and also offers one of the best commercial law collections in the country. Through the University of London College network, students have access to an unrivalled range of electronic law journals and databases.

Queen Mary provides free access to 84 law databases including: LexisNexis, Westlaw, Justis, Eur-lex, Hein-Online, Business Source Complete, Index to Legal Periodicals, International Court of Justice Reports, Kluwer Arbitration, Lawtel, Oxford Scholarship Online (Law), Reports of Patent, Design and Trademark Cases, UK Statute law database and the United Nations Treaty Collection.

In addition to the Queen Mary Library and the British Library, postgraduate students are able to access the well-stocked law library at the University of London’s Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS). The Institute, located at Russell Square, a few minutes’ walk from Lincoln’s Inn Fields, is one of the major law libraries worldwide. Access to the University of London Library at Senate House, which is a general library with a very large collection, of particular interest to those studying legal theory and commercial law, is available to all Queen Mary students.

MA Law by Research students have access to the School of Law Online Network (SOLON) and are welcome to attend events organised by the group such as the postgraduate law research seminar series, social gatherings and writing retreats. You will also be able to attend our established Annual Postgraduate Legal Research Conference, one of the largest in the UK, organised and led by PhD students with support from Queen Mary academics.


MA Law by Research is available to study full-time for one year or part-time over two years.


Undertaking a masters programme is a serious commitment, with weekly contact hours being in addition to numerous hours of independent learning and research needed to progress at the required level.


Part-time students will complete the programme over two academic years. In the first year you will complete the research methods module, and in the second year, you will complete the dissertation.Teaching is generally done during the day and part-time students should contact the course convenor to get an idea of when these teaching hours are likely to take place. Timetables are likely to be finalised in September but you may be able to gain an expectation of what will be required.

Core modules

  • Research project (20,000-word dissertation)
  • Research methods module

The research methods module will expose you to a broad range of theoretical and practical approaches to legal research. This module will be taught through one two-hour seminar each week. In the first-term the programme covers theoretical topics including ethics and law, law and economics, systems theory, liberal theory, and critical theory. In the second term, the programme has a methods focus and covers areas such as research interviews, literature review and historical research methods. These second-term seminars will, so far as is possible, be tailored to the dissertations of enrolled students.

For more information

For detailed research enquiries contact:
Dr Miriam Goldby

    Entry requirements

    A minimum of an upper-second class honours degree or an equivalent qualification from an overseas university.

    We welcome applications from anyone interested in pursuing a research project in a very specific area of the law, for example contract, criminal, banking or IP regulations for which a law degree would be necessary, or a legal aspect of another academic or professional discipline for instance judiciary, politics, history, philosophy, literature, economics, medicine, theology, journalism, or other social, natural or human sciences, for which a related but non-law degree would be acceptable.

    A research proposal of between 2,000 to 3,000-words. It should identify the question that you will attempt to answer through your research (simply identifying general topic areas or subjects is not sufficient). You should also set out your research methodology (empirical, qualitative, library based etc,) and provide a bibliography of the works that you consulted in formulating your research question.

    Non-native English speaking applicants will be required to demonstrate a proficiency in the English language (minimum IELTS 7.5 or above or equivalent).

    International applicants

    Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency. Find details on our English language entry requirements.

    Learning and teaching

    As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is by one two-hour seminar per week. You are assigned a supervisor who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.

    Independent Study

    For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions, reading and producing written work.

    The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

    Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


    Theory and method in legal scholarship accounts for 25 per cent of the final grade for the programme, and is assessed by two 2,500-word essays.

    You will also complete a dissertation of 20,000-words, which accounts for the remaining 75 per cent of the final grade for the programme.

    Academic staff on the MA Law by Research Programme

    Research Methods and Theory Module:


    Tuition fees for Home and EU students

    2019/20 Academic Year

    Full time £9,150
    Part time £4,575

    Tuition fees for International students

    2019/20 Academic Year

    Full time £16,350
    Part time £8,175


    There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

    These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

    School of Law scholarships

    The School of Law offers a range of scholarships for Law Masters programmes each year. Full details are made available on the law funding page from October – November each year.

    Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

    We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

    Read more about funding a masters

    Alternative sources of funding

    Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

    Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country.

    Detailed information about postgraduate funding options is available in our Postgraduate Funding Guide.

    Read more about funding a masters.

    Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

    Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

    We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

    Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

    Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717



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