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Research degrees in Law

PhD ( 3 years Full-time / 6 years Part-time )

Overview

Please be advised that the application form will be unavailable between 07:00 and 17:00 GMT on Saturday 25 November for essential maintenance. Please try again outside of these times, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is holding an Open Evening for Post-graduate Research applicants to provide information about our PhD programmes (including the School of Law PhD programme) on Wednesday 8 November 2017. See the webpage for more details and registration.

Applications

Applicants should be aware that the deadline for applying to the PhD programme for entry in September 2018 is Thursday 1 June 2018. The application system will close for new applications at midnight on that day, meaning new applications cannot be submitted from that date and time onwards.

Overview

The PhD in Law programme at Queen Mary is one of the largest in the UK, with more than 150 research students. As a PhD student at the School of Law, you will be part of a diverse and cosmopolitan research community, as students come to Queen Mary from all over the world.

PhD students are a vital part of our research culture and you will be invited to attend regular research seminars at which faculty members, visiting scholars and PhD students present their work in progress.

This programme will:

  • Allow you to specialise in virtually any field of law you choose. All supervisors are qualified members of staff with their own major research projects and publications.
  • Give you research training, through a series of seminars at which you will be required to present your work, and through a formal research methods training course run at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. Participation in these courses is a compulsory part of the first year of research.
  • Allow you to study additional courses which are provided by the college on different aspects of the PhD research process.

Why study your PhD in Law 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 be able to join the School of Law Online Network (SOLON) and attend events organised by the group such as the postgraduate law research seminar series, social gatherings and writing retreats. You can also get involved with the Annual Postgraduate Legal Research Conference, one of the largest in the UK, organised and led by PhD students with support from Queen Mary academics.

Facilities

  • 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, you will have access to an unrivalled range of electronic law journals and databases.
  • Queen Mary provides free access to extensive online databases and collections including: Lexis, Nexis, Westlaw, Justis, Eur-lex, Hein-Online, Business Source Complete, Index to Legal Periodicals, International Court of Justice Reports, Kluwer Arbitration, Oxford Scholarship Online (Law), Reports of Patent, Design and Trademark Cases, UK Statute law database and United Nations Treaty Collection.
  • In addition to the Queen Mary Library and the British Library, you will be 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. You will also have access to the University of London Library at Senate House.

Structure

The normal period of registration for the PhD in Law is three years full-time and six years part-time. Full-time students must complete within four years and part-time students within seven years. You will be required to live in or around the London area for the duration of your doctoral studies.

Supervision

Supervision is available in virtually all fields of law. All supervisors are qualified members of staff with their own major research projects and publications. Search our academic staff list to find staff in your proposed field of research.

Research training

Research training is offered through a series of seminars at which you will be required to present your work, and through a formal research methods training course run at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. Participation in these courses is a compulsory part of the first year of research. Additional courses are provided by the college on different aspects of the PhD research process.

    Entry requirements

    The application process and documentation required

    1. Online Application
    2. Qualification documents
    3. English language qualifications
    4. Employment history - CV
    5. Funding
    6. References
    7. Additional documents
      1. Research proposal
      2. Statement of purpose

     

    The following guidance notes are in addition to the central College research degree application guidance notes provided on the online application page. You must read both guides when completing your application.

    The notes on this page are specific to the School of Law PhD programme, and take precedence over the College notes. For example, we will not consider applications which do not include a Research Proposal, CV and Statement of Purpose. Failure to submit all the documents that the School of Law requires (even if the online process has been completed) will mean that your application will not be processed and could delay your application.

    1. Making on online application

    To apply online, please click on the buttons on the top right side of this web-page under the ‘full-time application’ or ‘part-time application’ titles, depending upon which mode of study you want. These buttons are portals to the on-line application system - one you are in the application system, please follow the instructions.

    2. Qualification Documents - academic entry requirements

    You will be expected to have a distinction on an LLM or equivalent qualification. In some circumstances the requirement will be applied flexibly, for example if an applicant has performed to distinction level in an LLM dissertation or has an outstanding undergraduate qualification. In exceptional cases, vocational experience in the proposed area of research may compensate for the lack of a master's degree, or a grade below that specified above. For example, working as a magistrate, judge, lawyer or expert for a considerable period of time, such as five years, in the proposed area of research will be taken into account. A relevant undergraduate degree in Law or its relevant equivalent qualification is necessary in all cases.

    Applicants need to provide copies from their most recently taken academic qualification. This should include both the transcript showing the breakdown of your mark, including specifically the mark for any dissertation component taken), and a copy of the certificate confirming the overall grade. If you have also previously taken an under-graduate degree in Law, please include copies of your certificate from this degree, confirming the overall grade.  For degrees taken in non-English speaking countries, applicants must submit transcripts translated into English by a notarized interpreter.

    If you are a current LLM or MA student, you should include documentation relating to your previous course of study (for example, your LLB).

    3. English Language Qualifications

    Documentary proof of English Language Competency, such as an IBTOEFL or IELTS test result certificate.

    Applicants whose first language is not English are required to provide proof of proficiency in English as part of the application process. To see if your nationality counts as the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) definition of an English speaking country (meaning you wouldn’t need to provide documentary proof of English competency), please go to the following web-page. If this page confirms that you do not come from a country which is categorized as English-speaking by the UKVI, then you will need to provide proof of English proficiency, in the form of a certificate showing you have taken the test no more than two years prior to your proposed entry point and you meet our entry criteria in any of these testing formats:

    • IELTS: 7.5 (with writing 7.5)
    • IBTOEFL: 109 (with writing 28/30)
    • Pearson Test of English: 73 (73 in writing).

    Applicants who apply without English documentation should be aware that any offer they will receive, should their application be successful, will be conditional upon their providing documentary proof they have taken a relevant English test and met the required mark. Therefore, applicants from outside the EU should be aware that student visas can only be applied for once an applicant holds an unconditional offer to their proposed programme of study.

    Exemption from this requirement:

    Only applicants who have completed another degree, within the 5 year period preceding their proposed entry date (example: LLB, BA, BSc, LLM, MA, MSc) requiring at least one year of full-time study at university level in a country where English is the mother tongue (not necessarily where the course was taught in English) are exempt from our English language entry requirements. Please note, you can check if the country where you took your degree meets the UKVI's definition of a country where ‘English is the mother tongue’ by visiting their webpage.

    Important Note – Applicants to the School of Law PhD programme must be aware the English language requirements for the PhD in Law are determined by the School of Law. As such, they are not the same as the general Post-graduate Research application and English entry-requirement guidelines as set out on the College’s central admissions and International Office web-pages, and the admissions policies confirmed on this web-page take precedent over the advice given in those web-pages.

    4. Employment History - CV

    You should include an up to date copy of your CV. This should include details of any legal vocational experience relevant to your proposed area of research, in addition to your academic background.

    5. Funding deadline

    There are a variety of different deadlines for submission of funding applications. In order to be considered for the funding award, you must also submit your main PhD application (and supporting documents) by that funding deadline date. Details of eligibility criteria are available on the funding page.

    Funding Deadlines

    There are a variety of different deadlines for submission of funding applications. In order to be considered for the funding award, you must also submit your main PhD application (and supporting documents) by that funding deadline date. Details of eligibility criteria are available on the funding page.

    6. References

    Applicants must provide two written references (not one, as mentioned in the central College Guidance Note), in the form of a letter of support from you referee. One of these references must be from an academic who taught you on your most recent course of study (which is normally the LLM degree or equivalent). Applicants who are current LLM students should obtain their references from staff currently teaching them on their LLM. For applicants without recent academic qualifications, vocational references may sometimes be accepted.

    7. Additional Documents

    In addition to the specified documentation, the School of Law application process also specifically requires a Research Proposal and a Personal Statement. Although you will be able to submit an online application without these documents, your application will not be reviewed without them.

    a) The Research Proposal

    You must demonstrate, through a research proposal submitted with your application form, that you have a coherent and viable research project. There is no template for this proposal but it should be sufficiently detailed for a potential supervisor to assess your understanding of the area of interest and the viability of the proposed research. The research proposal should set out the research methods which will be adopted and include a short bibliography of the key relevant literature in the area.

    For guidelines on writing a PhD proposal see our Research Proposal Guide [PDF 224KB].

    There is no word limit for the research proposal, but research proposals which are well-written, clear and concise are usually more successful. Please disregard any other guidance note which suggests that the Research Proposal should be no longer than 500 words.

    b) The Statement of Purpose / Personal Statement

    Your statement of purpose should explain why you want to undertake this particular research and how it will help your life and career. It should be one side of A4. This document gives you the opportunity to include any information that you believe is relevant to your application which you haven’t included in another part of your application papers. For example, if you do not have an LLM, but would like to apply on the basis of vocational experience, you could include your justification for doing so here. Please also include details of how you intend to fund your studies and living costs in each year (year 1, 2, 3 and 4).

    Important Additional Information about the application process

    Interviews and feedback

    When we have reviewed an application and supporting documentation, and if we are interested in supervising your PhD, the final stage of the process is an interview to discuss your proposed research and other details of your application. You should therefore be available for interview if requested. We will carry out telephone interviews for overseas applicants or UK applicants who currently live or study overseas. Offers of study will only be made following a successful interview.

    We receive a high volume of applications so we cannot offer individual feedback on unsuccessful applications.

    Entry Points

    The PhD programme is open for entry in September only. We recommend that you apply early:

    • The application process can take a number of months, and applicants should be aware that the deadline for applying to the PhD programme for entry in September is at the beginning of June each year. The application system will close for new applications at this point, meaning new applications cannot be submitted from that date. Applicants wanting entry in the September of the following year should note that the PhD application system will reopen for new applications in late September each year.
    • Non-EU applicants who need to receive an offer before September in order to apply for a student visa should apply even earlier, in April or May.
    • If you are currently taking your LLM and the date of your graduation (not the date of your last class or assessed work) falls after September, you will have to apply for entry in the following year.

    Supervision

    There are a limited number of supervision places with each academic, so apply early to ensure that we can match you with an appropriate supervisor. Search our staff list to find staff in your proposed field of research.

    Unlike other programmes at Queen Mary, we do not advise you to contact individual academic staff members about supervision before you apply and, while you can name your proposed supervisor on your online application form, it is not a requirement. This is because all new applications are reviewed by our Director of Graduate Studies. The Director has an overview of the supervisory capabilities and availability of all academic staff within the school. If your application is considered strong enough, the Director will ensure that it is reviewed by academics with expertise relevant to your proposed area of study.

    Contact us

    For general enquiries about the application process contact Gareth Skehan, PhD Admissions Administrator

    email: g.skehan@qmul.ac.uk
    School of Law,
    Queen Mary University of London,
    67-69 Lincoln's Inn Fields
    London WC2A 3JB

    Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8214
    Fax: +44 (0)20 7882 8101

    Academic support

    Assessment

    You will be assessed in the first year of study to check that your progression is satisfactory. If you are a full-time student you will be required to submit written work and prepare a presentation for two assessors. If you have attended all the mandatory research training and your written work and presentation are deemed satisfactory, you will continue on the next stage of the PhD programme. If your report is unsatisfactory you will be set a number of academic targets that you will need to meet or you will be will be de-registered. Your progress will be assessed in each year of study. Failure to demonstrate progression to the required standard may result in de-registration from the programme.

    Thesis

    The thesis, which must be presented in accordance with University of London regulations, is read by at least two examiners appointed by Queen Mary University of London, who also examine the candidate orally. A PhD thesis must form a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the subject and afford evidence of originality, shown either by the discovery of new facts or by the exercise of independent critical power. The length of a PhD thesis is a maximum of 100,000-words. College regulations require that each student is normally allocated two supervisors and you may expect to see your primary supervisor every two weeks or so during term-time in the initial stages of your research.

    Fees

    Tuition fees for Home and EU students

    2018 entry

    www.qmul.ac.uk/postgraduate/tuitionfees

    Tuition fees for International students - 2018 entry

    www.qmul.ac.uk/international/international-students/tuitionfees

    You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.

    You can also contact us using the following details:

    Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676 or email: fees@qmul.ac.uk

    Funding

    • The School of Law provides a number of Law PhD Studentships and Scholarships, awards full details are usually announced in September / October each year.
    • Queen Mary funding information on funding a PhD
    • 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. Detailed information about postgraduate funding options is available in our Postgraduate Funding Guide [PDF]. 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.

    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 Counseling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

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

    For more information see our Advice and Counselling pages, or contact us on: +44 (0)20 7882 8717.

    Funding

    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 (pdf).

    Read more about funding a masters.

    Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079
    email bursaries@qmul.ac.uk

    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

    Profiles

    Dr Hélène Tyrrell

    I began my PhD studies at QMUL in October 2010 and was awarded my PhD in 2014. My thesis ‘The Use of Foreign Jurisprudence in Human Rights Cases before the UK Supreme Court’ is now under contract to be published as a monograph. QMUL was an obvious choice for me since there was clear research expertise in my interest area and the London location made my empirical work a great deal easier. Working towards a PhD can be difficult but the process was made a lot easier by my incredibly supportive supervision team and the strong collegiate atmosphere among my fellow PhD colleagues. Weekly research skills seminars, and the student-led subject seminars, annual conference and social activities helped to bring everyone together as a strong research community.

    Hélène is a Lecturer in Law at the Newcastle Law School, Newcastle University.


    Dr Jack Simson Caird

    My PhD was titled “Identifying the value of parliamentary constitutional interpretation”. Essentially my aim was to work out the significance of parliamentarians using the rules and principles of the UK constitution in their scrutiny of legislation. I had a great time working on my PhD at Queen Mary. My supervisors were outstanding, they provided expert supervision as well as practical and moral support. I made great friends on the PhD programme, and the thriving community of graduate students made the process a lot less than lonely and more fun than it might have been. The facilities were perfect, I based myself at the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, which is the perfect environment for legal research. There is a thriving academic community in London, with so many world-class law schools, which means there are always interesting seminars going on throughout the year. It was so good, I would almost be willing to do it all again!

    Jack is Library Clerk in the House of Commons Library.


    Dr Jo Braithwaite

    I received my PhD in 2008 having completed the second half of my PhD studies at Queen Mary. My project was an empirical study of equality and diversity policies in City law firms. My motivation in undertaking a PhD was to investigate and write on a topic which struck me as interesting and significant. I also wanted to develop my legal research and writing skills and gain experience of university teaching. I received excellent and expert support from my supervisor and I learned a great deal in terms of my research project and more broadly. In addition, QMUL offered methodology training and practical workshops which were very helpful, and a lot of peer support. I also enjoyed teaching as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. All in all, I found the experience of studying at QMUL a very positive one, and it certainly helped me to take the next steps in my career.


    Miss Alicia de la Cour Venning, ESRC researcher at QMUL

    I was encouraged to take up doctoral studies at QMUL’s School of Law having worked previously with Professor Penny Green and the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI), and given Queen Mary’s reputation for excellent scholarship and diverse research culture. My research investigates the motivations of non-state armed groups to comply with international humanitarian norms, using Myanmar as a case study. Doctoral students in QMUL’s School of Law are exceptionally well supported, having the opportunity to: engage in thorough research methods training; attend general doctoral research seminars; present work at the QMUL conference and seminars; and participate in regular social events with other students.


    Natalie Gail Simone Corthésy (Year III PhD candidate CCLS)

    CCLS offers an excellent academic environment teaming with outstanding scholars, academic supervisors as well as a robust postgraduate professional development programme. There is a constant flow of international experts in a wide field of research competences, many occasions to share your research with other postgraduate students and the wider academy, and ongoing opportunities to learn new skills including academic publishing and teaching.

    CCLS provides the perfect enabling environment for research. It also ensures students receive pastoral care in respect of preparation for the job market.


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