PhD Programme objectives

  • The programme is run by the LSE Law Department, which is rated in the highest category in the UK for research (5*A)

  • You will join a community of over eighty research students and fifty nine research active members of staff making for a vibrant and intellectual research community

  • Students are assigned two supervisors upon registration who oversee their research project

  • First year students attend a PhD conference in May where they make a presentation on their research

  • First year students are formally assessed at the end of their first year. Part time students are formally assessed at the end of their second year. Successful completion of this assessment sees them put forward for full PhD registration

  • The normal period of registration is 3-4 years; full time students must complete within four years and part time within 6 years.

  • Several major LSE scholarships are awarded competitively to research students [see Funding].

  • Students come from all over the world. Demand greatly exceeds the number of places available and we have to be very selective

  • You must live within easy reach of London in your first year. You may live outside London with the permission of your department from your second year, on condition that you keep in regular contact with your Department and the School.

How LSE will support your research

We are keen to encourage the development of research in socio-legal studies and invite applications for research in areas of staff interest and expertise. The LSE PhD has always been of high quality and many outstanding PhD theses have been published. You will find staff interests and current PhD topics on the Research section of this site.

The normal entry requirement for the MPhil/PhD. programme is an average of 70 per cent on the LLM or equivalent qualification. The requirement will be applied flexibly, in particular to candidates who have performed exceptionally well in a dissertation or who have an outstanding undergraduate qualification. The number we accept is limited. With your application you should give the title of a broad general area in which you wish to undertake research, and a detailed outline (three or four pages) of a specific topic within that field indicating the ways in which you consider that extended scholarly research and analysis in the field will make a significant and original contribution to knowledge. You should also give some indication of the materials you expect to use, where you expect to find them and the methods of analysis you propose to use. If the proposal takes the form of a theoretical hypothesis, you should indicate how you propose to test it.

The Department will assist you by providing research training through the LSE's research methods courses run by the Methodology Institute, and at Departmental level, through the Law Department research seminars. This consists of presentations concentrating on the methodological problems of legal and socio-legal research, by members of staff, visiting speakers and research students. You are expected to attend the seminars and give presentations on your work. Some students are given the opportunity to teach undergraduates. Research students are also invited to the fortnightly staff seminars.

The main resources for research students are the LSE Library, Library of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, other University of London college libraries and the University Library. There are dedicated research student study areas for MPhil/PhD students to use.


MPhil/PhD Current Students




Current and Recent Research


MPhil/PhD Prospective Students


MPhil/PhD Applications

  • Frequently Asked Questions

  • Graduate Admissions

  • PhD Regulations

  • Regulations for Research Degrees

  • Student Services

  • Visiting Research Students
    Registration as a Visiting Research Student is for those who do not wish to proceed to a higher degree, but want to pursue their own research with a supervisor who can act as a sounding board and make some of the necessary contacts for empirical research. Applicants must be registered as doctoral students at overseas universities, wishing to undertake some aspect of their research in the UK. Applicants will be allocated an academic supervisor during their registration at LSE. Registration is for a minimum of one term and a maximum of one academic session. Some seminars and classes can be attended, subject to the advice and approval of the supervisor and teachers concerned. No degree or diploma is awarded, but an appropriate certificate of attendance can be provided on request. Applicants can apply via the Graduate Admissions Office and should include a research proposal.

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