Programmes

MPhil/PhD Law

  • Graduate research
  • Department of Law
  • Application code M3ZL
  • Starting 2018

LSE Law is the UK's pre-eminent research institution for law. Our academics are the authors of influential and often path-breaking scholarship, and many have globally leading reputations. As one of UK's largest law departments, with over 70 academic members of staff, LSE Law is well known for its interdisciplinary and contextual approaches to the study of law.

Our PhD Law and PhD Law (Socio-Legal Theory) programmes offer the opportunity to undertake advanced legal research at one of the world's best law schools. Students in our PhD programme receive excellent training, and work under the supervision of leading scholars with strong international, comparative and interdisciplinary commitments. Our doctoral students become members of a lively academic community which is at the cutting-edge of legal scholarship and which plays a major role in the education of lawyers and law teachers from around the world.

Students in our PhD programme work under the supervision of two academics. We also provide specialised training for PhD students, both through our own training course and through courses run by other units of LSE, especially the Department of Methodology and the PhD Academy. PhD students are also welcome to attend any other LSE course, subject to the approval of the lecturer.

We aim to provide our PhD students with the opportunity to gain teaching experience, and also offer the opportunity to become involved with the organisation of mooting, academic conferences, pro bono work, and our working paper series. Each year two PhD students also serve as LLM advisers. 

Programme details

Key facts

MPhil/PhD Law
Start date 27 September 2018
Application deadline 8 January 2018
Duration Three to four years full-time (minimum 2); six years part-time
Availability UK/EU: Open 
Overseas: Open
Tuition fee UK/EU: £4,299 (provisional) (for the first year)
Overseas £17,904 (for the first year)
Financial support LSE PhD Studentships (deadline 8 January 2018)
Minimum entry requirement LLM or equivalent with an average of 70 per cent
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Law (see 'assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.

Programme structure and courses

In addition to progressing with your research, you are expected to take the listed training and transferable skills courses. You may take courses in addition to those listed, and should discuss this with your supervisor. At the end of your second year (full-time), you will need to satisfy certain requirements and if you meet these, will be retroactively upgraded to PhD status.

First year

Training courses
Compulsory

Doctoral Research Seminar
Equips students with the skills required to undertake advanced legal research. 

Law Department seminar series

One other relevant course

Second year

Training courses
Compulsory (not examined)
Minimum of three workshops of Advanced Qualitative Analysis Workshops

Optional (not examined)
Staff Seminar Series and PhD Seminar Series

Third year

Training courses
Compulsory (not examined)
PhD seminar series

Fourth year

Transferable skills courses

Optional (not examined) 
Staff Seminar Series

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar. 

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.

Supervision, progression and assessment

Supervision

You will be assigned two supervisors who are specialists in your chosen research field, though not necessarily in your topic. 

Progression and assessment

Full-time PhD students must complete their doctorate within four years, and part-time students must complete it within six years.

At the end of the first year (or, in the case of part-time students, second year), your progress is formally assessed. Successful completion of this assessment then sees you registered as a candidate for the PhD degree. 

As part of this assessment (or ‘upgrade’) process, you will present your work-in-progress at our Upgrade Conference, attended by staff and other PhD students. Third year doctoral students also give a seminar on their work-in-progress, again attended by staff and other PhD students.

Careers

Once completed, the majority of our students undertake academic appointments, whether as lecturers or post-doctoral researchers. The remainder have received tenancies in barristers’ chambers or work in law firms, or NGOs and consultancies. Over the last four years, our PhD graduates have been appointed to lectureships at universities that include Cardiff, Durham, King’s College London, Liverpool, Middlesex, Queen Mary, SOAS, Southampton, University College London, and York, and outside the UK at the Graduate Institute of International Studies (Geneva), University College Dublin, Victoria University (New Zealand), Queen’s University (Canada) and St Thomas University (Canada). Other graduates have been selected for post-doctoral fellowships at (among other institutions) the European University Institute and the University of Haifa.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme 

Support for your career

Many leading organisations in the field give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers

Student stories

Aseel Al-Ramahi

MPhil/PhD Law
Wembley, UK

 

Aseel-Al-Ramahi-170x230

The programme is well organised and there is a strong support structure for students. I also benefit from working with my colleagues – LSE's student diversity is truly enriching. I chose LSE because of its reputation as being one of the best institutions in the world and because of my supervisor. The expertise in the department and the long tradition of successful PhDs are very important to me. The opportunity to attend numerous diverse lectures that are so much part of the fabric of this place has helped me develop into a well rounded intellectual.

Yaniv Roznai

MPhil/PhD Law
Tel-Aviv, Israel

Yaniv-Roznai-170x230 

As a PhD student in the area of constitutional law, I particularly like the ability to delve into an independent research of topics that are of a theoretical interest but also have a practical importance to modern democracies. This is extremely important for me, as the Israeli reality provides a vast platform for research since it involves various and complicated constitutional issues.

Panos Kapotas

MPhil/PhD Law
Athens, Greece

Panos-Kapotas-170x230

I was drawn to pursue my PhD at LSE by the prospect of working with people whose work I admire and the possibility to carry out my research alongside colleagues coming from almost every legal culture around the globe. Studying law at a top-class academic institution, with a plethora or resources and without the constraints of a taught course. LSE offers a fascinating combination of a vibrant academic community and a truly multicultural environment.

Assessing your application

We welcome applications for research programmes that complement the academic interests of members of staff at the School, and we recommend that you investigate staff research interests before applying.

See the LSE Experts Directory for more information

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including existing and pending qualifications)
- personal statement
- references
- CV
- outline research proposal
- sample of written work.

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency. You do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE, but we recommend that you do. See our English language requirements.

When to apply

The application deadline for this programme is 8 January 2018. However to be considered for any LSE funding opportunity, you must have submitted your application and all supporting documents by the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details.

Minimum entry requirements for MPhil/PhD Law 

Our normal entry requirement is an average of 70 per cent in an LLM or equivalent qualification. If you do not meet this requirement, you may still be admitted where there is strong, alternative evidence of your suitability for our PhD programme. On the other hand, if you do meet this requirement, you should be aware that there is no guarantee of admission. We typically receive many more applications with an LLM average of 70 per cent or over than we have places available.

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.

More guidance on what is required form a successful research proposal can be found on the LSE Law PhD programme FAQs page.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet our minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission. 

See international entry requirements

Fees and funding

Every research student is charged a fee for each year of their programme. The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2018/19 for MPhil/PhD Law

UK/EU students: £4,299 for the first year (provisional)
Overseas students: £17,904 for the first year

The fee is likely to rise over subsequent years of the programme. The School charges UK/EU research students in line with the level of fee that the Research Councils recommend. The fees for overseas students are likely to rise in line with the assumed percentage increase in pay costs (ie, 4 per cent per annum).

Fee status

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home (UK/EU) or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

Scholarships, studentships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide over £11.5 million in scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, the EU and outside the EU.

This programme is eligible for LSE PhD Studentships. There is no separate application process; applicants who have been offered a place in our doctoral programme will be automatically considered for funding. More information can be found on the Law Department’s PhD funding page.

For MPhil/PhD Law, the funding deadline is the same as the application deadline for the programme: 8 January 2018.

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas. 

Check the latest information about scholarship opportunities

External funding 

There may be other funding opportunities available through other organisations or governments and we recommend you investigate these options as well.

Find out more about external funding opportunities.

Teaching

Students may apply to teach for the Department on the Undergraduate programme, from their 2nd year and must have successfully completed the Upgrade Review. 

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