By studying for an MA by Research degree at Queen Mary, you will be part of a cosmopolitan research community, which includes students from all over the world.
Who is the Masters by Research in Law aimed at?
The MA by Research is for students who want to undertake in depth and individually supervised research on topics of their own choice. It is ideal for students who want to proceed to doctoral study or for students wishing to enhance their career prospects by developing expertise in a specific area of law and improving their 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.
Theoretical and inter-disciplinary, as well as more practical and traditional approaches, are all accommodated in this programme. Though the emphasis is on one-to-one supervision, the MA by Research can extend to many areas. The Department of Law has well-known strengths in areas such as legal theory, legal history, international law, human rights, migration law, property law, European law, company law, comparative law, family law, medical law, criminal law and criminology, comparative law, constitutional law, and any number of areas of traditional public and private law. Students interested in commercial areas of law, including arbitration, banking and finance, communications, corporate, economic regulation, IP, IT, media and tax, can also apply to draw on the expertise of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies.
At the same time, the programme's reasonable workload and less emphasis on taught modules, allowed me to take the courses on a part-time basis, whilst working at King & Spalding's London office. In my opinion, one of the programme's greatest advantages is that it enables you to study the subject you prefer with the guidance of very qualified professors. Silvia Marchili MA by Research. Read more about our students...
Structure of MA Research programme
The MA by Research course is available on both a one-year full-time and two-year part-time basis. All students enrolled in this programme will undertake supervised research with a view to submitting a 20,000 word dissertation by the end of the year. Students whose thesis receives a mark of 70 per cent or above are eligible to apply for the PhD programme.
Note - Students who join the PhD programme after completing the MA Research cannot continue paying fees at the MA Research level, but will have to pay fees at the current level for the PhD programme.
Students will also attend a Research Methods module which will expose them 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.
The module entitled '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. In addition, students must submit a 20,000 word essay which accounts for the remaining 75 per cent of the final grade for the programme.'
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.
English Language Qualifications
Non-native English speakers will be required to have achieved a minimum overall score of 7.5 IELTS (must have 7.5 in writing) or equivalent.
Online application is the preferred method of application.
Please submit a research proposal between 2 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.
Full guidance notes are provided during the online application process.
Online application is the preferred method of application. If you have any difficulty using the online form please read the online application guidance notes accessible from your online application. If you then cannot resolve the problem or are unable to access the online form please contact the Admissions team by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Academic staff on the MA Research Programme
Research Methods and Theory Module:
- Leader & Contributor (first term)
Professor Richard Nobles
- Leader and Contributor (second term)
Professor Kate Malleson
Professor David Schiff
- Can I take the programme by distance learning?
Unfortunately, we do not offer this.
- Can I study the programme on a part-time basis?
Yes, you can. You would write your two essays in the first year and your dissertation in the second year.
- Do I have to attend classes and, if so, how many days do I have to attend?
You attend one two-hour seminar per week.
- Can I progress to taking a PhD?
Yes, provided you attain an overall 70 per cent in your finals.
- Is there more than one intake per academic year?
No, you can only register for both full and part-time in September.
For detailed research enquiries contact:
Professor Richard Nobles
For general information contact:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8095
Silvia M Marchili, Argentina
MA Research in Law
For the last few years, I have been a lawyer with King & Spalding, which is an international law firm with many offices around the world. I have practiced in Argentina, the UK and the US, and I am devoted to general international arbitration and investment arbitration. I found in Queen Mary's MA by Research programme a great opportunity to develop my research project in an encouraging academic environment and with great support from the faculty. The seminars on methodology were very useful and encouraged me to reflect on my ongoing research, which is focused on investment arbitration before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
At the same time, the programme's reasonable workload and less emphasis on taught modules, allowed me to take the courses on a part-time basis, whilst working at King & Spalding's London office. In my opinion, one of the programme's greatest advantages is that it enables you to study the subject you prefer with the guidance of very qualified professors. In addition, taking a course with students with very diverse backgrounds and interests is also an enriching experience.
In summary , the MA by Research program has enabled me to balance my academic and my professional life.
Wiktor Sawinda, Poland
"Since 2005 I am participating in doctoral studies in Warsaw (Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Legal Studies). My doctoral thesis is focused on the subject of judicial independence in the opinion of judges. My wide-range survey (on almost 700 judges) undertaken in 2007 allowed me to localise many dysfunctions and threats for judicial independence. One group of threats concerns relations between judiciary and the executive power.
My MA dissertation at Queen Mary is devoted to relations between these state powers in UK in the period of constitutional transition. This subject is very helpful for acknowledging a different than polish, way of imposing cooperation between state powers and gives me a significant chance to look at the polish political and constitutional system from a distance. I am sure that many British solutions, will find place as remedies applicable in the polish legal system.
Queen Mary was the only university in London that offered me a MA course in Law by research. It was the thing I needed, since I was not interested in a MA taught course as I had already completed one. The School has easy and comfortable access to great research resources (not far from accommodation) and excellent, engaged and caring staff, very helpful to someone doing research by him/herself. I appreciate the very friendly atmosphere reinforced by possibilities of attending staff seminars and other meetings, helpful in keeping regular unofficial contact."
Jemima Joll, UK
MA Research in Law
"I chose to do the LLM course part-time at Queen Mary's which I really enjoyed. You were really stretched academically but there was a great cross section of nationality of students and good teaching in small groups and a huge range of options to chose from.
I learnt about the MA Research programme through a friend, who was on the LLM with me, who was going on to do it. It is a halfway house between the LLM and a PhD, it's different from the LLM as there is less emphasis on taught modules and more on personal research. It is a good way to see if you are really cut out to do a PhD in terms of both academic ability and the ability to sustain individual research over a long period, which can be quite isolating. You chose the area you would like to research in depth and write a 20,000 word thesis on it.
Through regular meetings with your supervisor you are not left to flounder alone. Deadlines are given to submit chapters and advice is given in terms of publications, structure etc. My thesis is entitled "Should parents be allowed to consent to cosmetic reconstructive surgery on behalf of their children?" focusing particularly on children who have Downs syndrome. I have found it a really interesting area to research, as there has been quite a lot in the press around this particular area e.g. the American child Ashley. What I am ultimately going to do with it, will depend somewhat on my result in September!"