UCL Laws Research Degree Programmes

How to apply

All prospective applicants are encouraged to make an informal research enquiry about available supervision before applying. This should be sent directly to the academic you are interested in working with.

When you apply, you will need to identify suitable supervisors in your area of interest. You will need to submit a research proposal, which must contain a clear research question, the methodology you propose to adopt to answer that question, and the original contribution your research will make to the literature. Making a research enquiry helps define your interests, contributes to making your application successful, and also helps to ensure the identification of the best possible supervisor for your needs. At the enquiry stage a potential supervisor will only be able to indicate whether they would be available in principle to supervise your proposed research. Admissions decisions are made separately (see below).

UCL uses an online application process for MPhil and PhD programmes. This allows you to log in to check the status of your application and any decisions received, re-send reference requests and update your contact details.

Complete the online application form from the graduate study page on the main UCL website:


Application Procedure and Deadline
Applications for the academic year 2015/16 will be open from 5 September 2014. Deadline for submitting a completed application (including references) is Friday 14 November 2014. Once your application has been received by the Faculty of Laws, you will be sent an Application Information Request Form (AIR), which you will need to return to the Faculty before your application can be considered.

Interviews for short-listed applicants will take place between Monday 17 November and Friday 12 December 2014.

We are unable to accept any applications that reach the Faculty of Laws after the deadline of Friday 14 November 2014. If you have submitted an application before the deadline but it is incomplete (e.g. pending references) we will not be able to consider it due to short-listing taking place promptly.

Places on our PhD program are limited. We anticipate having over 100 applications for no more than 10 places commencing in 2015. This should not discourage you from applying, but it is possible we will not be able to admit every candidate who meets our academic criteria and has an interesting project that a member of the Faculty is willing to supervise.

What you will need to apply

UCL will only consider completed applications. To complete your application, you must submit an electronic copy of your academic transcript and your two referees must have uploaded their references via the secure website before the application deadline. It is your responsibility to ensure that your referees upload their references on time, as UCL will not consider any applications until references are uploaded.

Your academic transcript can be either a scanned version of a paper one that you upload with your application or one downloaded from your institution’s secure website.


Your application must be supported by two references from people who are able to comment upon your suitability for the proposed programme of study. If possible, at least one of the references should be from a recent teacher who is acquainted with your academic ability and research and writing skills. The ability of a referee to comment on your research skills and written expression is extremely helpful in our decision-making.

Referees for online applicants will need to complete the reference via the secure link that will be emailed to them once an application has been submitted. Before you submit your application, you should contact your referees to advise them that they will be contacted by UCL in relation to your application and ensure that you have a valid email address for each of your referees.

References must be received by the application deadline to be considered.

Academic Transcripts

Transcripts of qualifications are required. If transcripts are not written in English, they must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

Research Proposals

All applications for graduate research programmes must be accompanied by a research proposal. Information and guidance on preparing research proposals can be found on the Research Proposal page. Please consult this closely.

Application Information Request (AIR)
Once you have submitted your application and initial checks have been completed by Central Admissions, it will be passed to the Faculty of Laws. You will then be sent an Application Information Request (AIR), which you will need to complete as part of your application. The Faculty will not consider any application without a completed AIR.

Decisions on Applications

You will be able to see details of any decisions on your online application account and if an offer is made, you will be able to accept or decline the offer directly. Successful applicants are required to accept or decline their offer within 4 weeks or else they will lose their place.

Successful applicants will be sent a formal offer of admission signed by the Registrar. This letter will indicate whether the offer is unconditional or subject to the fulfilment of specific conditions. Details of UCL’s ‘General Conditions for Entry’ will also be provided. These conditions include the requirement that a student must comply with UCL’s registration procedure and must observe its statutes and regulations.

Overseas applicants should not leave their own country for the purpose of attending UCL before receiving a formal offer of admission either directly from UCL or through their sponsoring authority.