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Law MPhil/PhD

UCL Laws has one of the most selective MPhil/PhD programmes in the UK, and produces graduates of internationally recognised quality. Ranked the leading legal research environment in the UK, UCL Laws attracts the leading figures in the field to our extensive programme of events, informing debate on critical legal issues.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2017

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 years
Part time: 5 years

Tuition fees (2017/18)

£4,915 (FT) £2,455 (PT)
£17,710 (FT) £9,020 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 5 September 2016
Close: 25 November 2016

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of a good upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree in an appropriate subject, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

We have a strong preference for a recognised LLM or equivalent Master's degree and would normally expect a distinction overall, with evidence of first-class ability (or equivalent) in extended written work/dissertation.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Advanced. Further details are available on the departmental website.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:


UCL Laws has a strong international and multi-disciplinary research environment, focused around all sixteen of our research centres, institutes and groups. Bringing together outstanding researchers from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds and jurisdictions, our research centres and institutes nurture individual research, but also actively encourage and support collaboration and partnerships that expand cross-disciplinary research.

Research areas

  • Antitrust, Regulation and Competition Law
  • Comparative and Foreign Law
  • Contract, Restitution and Tort
  • Corporate, Finance and Insolvency
  • Criminal Justice
  • Empirical Legal Studies
  • Environmental Law
  • European Law
  • Family Law and Bioethics
  • Human Rights, Employment and Equality Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • International Business, Insurance and Trade
  • International Commercial Law
  • Judicial Studies
  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
  • Law and Economics
  • Law and Ethics
  • Law and Religion
  • Law of the Sea
  • Legal Education
  • Legal History and Roman History
  • Litigation and Dispute Resolution
  • Medical Law
  • Property and Trusts
  • Public, Admin and Constitutional
  • Public International Law
Much research is undertaken under the auspices of the following research institutes and centres based in the faculty, in whose activities research students are encouraged to participate:
  • UCL Judicial Institute
  • Centre for Ethics and Law
  • Centre for International Courts and Tribunals
  • Institute of Brand and Innovation Law
  • The Bentham Institute.
More information can be found on the department website: Law MPhil/PhD


There are a number of Faculty Research Scholarships available, for which all applicants are automatically considered. The Peter Birks Scholarships, made possible through a generous gift from an anonymous donor, are available to support applicants studying private law.. The faculty may also offer other studentships from time to time. Additionally, UK/EU applicants may be eligible to apply for Research Council Studentships (AHRC, ESRC).

The faculty also supports a number of other scholarship and funding opportunities, and provides all PhD students with an annual Personal Research Allowance. Full details of funding opportunities can be found on the UCL Scholarships website.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Our PhD graduates have entered a wide range of career paths including top academic positions in UK and overseas, international organisations, private sector, NGOs and government.


A graduate from the UCL Laws PhD programme will have developed advanced skills in legal research, analysis and writing, public presentations and in almost all cases teaching in university level. This is also one of the only Law PhD programmes in the UK that provides training in quantitative and qualitative research methods as an intrinsic part of the programme. Our graduates are therefore well placed to pursue careers in the global academic world, but the research, analytical and writing skills obtained during the PhD also transfer easily to high level work in government, non-governmental organisations and the commercial sector.


UCL Laws is widely recognised for the impact that its research has on real world legal problems, and is ranked number one in the UK for its research impact. We have long-established links with the judiciary, the legal, public and private sector. This is reflected in the outstanding quality of our extensive annual programme of seminars, lectures, debates and conferences on a wide variety of critical legal issues. Through this programme our PhD students have the opportunity to engage personally with leading members of the judiciary, legal profession, commercial and financial sectors, government, NGOs and leading international academics.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Laws has been one of the leading centres of legal education in the world for almost 200 years. Ranked the leading research environment in the UK, UCL Laws' community of intellectually dynamic scholars responds to today's global challenges. Through our research, we help to shape government policy, national and international law and practice.

Combining a strong theoretical foundation in the law with world-leading expertise in empirical legal studies and inter-disciplinary research, UCL Laws offers an outstanding educational experience to our doctoral students, with special work-in-progress workshops, dedicated conferences, and teaching experience.

All students benefit from a year-long research methodology seminar series in their first year and will join a vibrant and active MPhil/PhD student community which, for example, runs its own weekly seminar series in term.

Department: Laws

Student / staff numbers › 70 staff including 10 postdocs › 406 taught students › 65 research students

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Laws

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

What our students and staff say

Student view

"I've always been passionate about human rights. This is a field in which law can be used to protect the most fundamental rights of every human being. I chose to study at UCL because of the quality of research in my field and the worldwide reputation of the university."

Claire Lougarre

Laws PhD
Staff view

"The depth and breadth of expertise in environmental law and governance, as well as in broader questions of environmental protection, first attracted me to UCL. I work mainly on the governance of environmental protection, especially the ways in which we take environmental decisions, examining areas including genetically modified organisms, renewable energy infrastructure, industrial emissions, chemicals, climate change. I also spend a lot of time working on the ways in which regulation (including environmental regulation) shapes and influences decisions in private law, particularly tort, an increasingly important part of tort scholarship and practice. I most enjoy working with brilliant colleagues and students (and alone!) on intellectually challenging and practically important questions."

Professor Maria Lee

Law MPhil/PhD, Law LLM
Professor of Law
Student view

"The international reputation and expertise of the Faculty is well known and is what first attracted me to UCL. However, what became clear on joining UCL Laws is that the Faculty is a vibrant academic community in which to undertake research and with invaluable support to develop personal research skills, pursue cross-disciplinary research and to engage in empirical activities. This community of support has undoubtedly enhanced my research and enable me to pursue avenues that may not otherwise have been possible."

Anna Donovan

Law MPhil/Law

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Application deadlines

All applicants
25 November 2016

Detailed information on the application process may be found on our Faculty website: www.laws.ucl.ac.uk/study/graduate-research/applying/.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

Contact information


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now


Visit UCL's IRIS research portal to learn more about our researchers' activities, research groups, research centres and interdisciplinary networks.

IRIS department: Law

IRIS Portal

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