A PhD at UCL Laws will allow you to pursue original research and make a distinct and significant contribution to your field
We are committed to the quality and relevance of the research supervision we offer and as an MPhil/PhD candidate; you will work with academics at the cutting edge of legal scholarship.
Furthermore as a research student, you will be an integral part of our collaborative and thriving research community. Student-run ‘work in progress’ forums and an end-of-first-year PhD workshop will give you the opportunity to present and discuss your research with peers and academic colleagues.
Tailored skills seminars will provide you with a supportive research environment and the critical skills necessary to undertake your research. To foster your academic development we also offer additional faculty funds, which can assist you with the costs of conferences and other research activities.
UCL Laws is a world-leading community of intellectually dynamic scholars responding to today’s challenges. As a Laws MPhil/PhD student, you will have the opportunity to learn from, and contribute to, this research culture.
The UCL Laws Faculty is rated as having the Number 1 Research Environment in the UK compared with all other Law Schools in the country by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).
The UCL Laws PhD programme has approximately 50-60 outstanding research students at any one time. The programme accepts applicants with external funding, and puts forward its most outstanding applicants for UCL scholarships.
UCL Laws was ranked first in the UK for its world-leading research environment in the recent Research Excellence Framework and our commitment to our research culture is mirrored in our postgraduate research environment. As a research student here you can take advantage of a range of opportunities to make the most of your studies, and get the best start in your career.
A vibrant and brilliant student community
“UCL Laws truly is an amazing place and I am glad that it is where I have decided to undertake my doctoral studies. At UCL, I have been encouraged to pursue innovative and original research that might not have been possible in other places.
"The PhD student community is vibrant and made up of utterly brilliant fellows from around the globe. I gained a lot simply by spending time with these people in seminars, in the common room and at the pub. All in all, UCL Laws is a top-rate institution to pursue graduate studies.”
Jean-Frédéric Ménard, UCL Laws PhD candidate
From opportunities to teach, develop your skills, and present your work, to networking and social events, alongside dedicated research student support facilities, you can find the resources to help you make a distinct and significant contribution to your field.
- Skills seminars
We nurture the development of your research skills from the very beginning of the programme with our skills seminar series. Providing initial support and information about the research process, these seminars will advance your critical skills in research methods and theory as well as fostering your legal and academic career skills.
- Research Presentation Workshop
Our skills seminars culminate in our First-Year Research Presentation Workshop. Here you will have the chance to present your work in front of peers and academic colleagues, gaining both valuable feedback and experience of presenting academic papers in a friendly and supportive environment.
“[The research presentation workshop] gave all new PhD candidates the chance to reflect on their work and to present it, for some of us for the first time, to colleagues and faculty members. It was great to see so many supervisors attend – they provided constructive feedback and words of encouragement. This workshop has given us valuable insights into effective academic presentation skills and helped anticipating what presenting at conferences will be like in the years to come.”
Christina Lienen, PhD Candidate
- Work-in-Progress Forums
The Work in Progress Forum is a seminar series led by current PGR students, and is an excellent opportunity to present and discuss your research in a supportive environment. All students are encouraged to be involved, and you may have the chance to convene the forums during your PhD.
“The PhD Work in Progress Forum is an integral part of the experience as a research student at UCL Laws. It provides opportunities for students to discuss their work with peers and to hone their skills as discussants in a rigorous yet supportive environment. Convening the Work in Progress Forum offers the chance to learn how to organise academic events. Last, but certainly not least, the Forum shapes the academic community of PhD students that is so vital to successful research.”
Lea Raible, WPF Convenor 2015-16
- The Journal of Law and Jurisprudence
The UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence is edited and published by graduate (LLM and PhD) students at UCL Laws. Featuring scholarly contributions from academics, researchers and practitioners, it also showcases outstanding research by post-graduate students at UCL. As a research student here you will have the unique opportunity to contribute to the journal, both editorially and through submitting research for publication.
Where possible, we offer research students the opportunity to become Teaching Fellows and provide tutorial teaching on the LLB and LLM. UCL offers Teaching Fellows training in teaching skills through its UCL Arena One programme.
“The opportunity to become a teaching fellow at UCL while completing your research comes with several benefits. When teaching I am part of the academic community in two ways: as a teacher and as a student. I have been able to learn constantly from both sides and the skills I have acquired have shaped me both personally and professionally. This experience is integral to the preparation of any career, whether it be in scholarship, teaching or something completely outside of academia.”
Sara Razai, Teaching Fellow
Research students can take part in our mentoring programme designed to assist LLM students with their dissertations. Each mentor is assigned a list of students, and will offer encouragement and advice on the form and style of dissertations, as well as provide feedback on draft work at face-to-face meetings and by email.
We recognise that conferences are crucial for you to meet other scholars, gain feedback on your research and ideas, and to engage in the academic world. Because of this, we encourage students to participate in both national and international conferences and to present their work in front of varies audiences, both within and outside of UCL. We also encourage students to organise their own conferences, workshops and reading groups where appropriate. To support conference attendance the faculty provides generous funding to assist with costs.
- Laws public events
The Laws faculty has an active public events calendar, and as part of Legal London we attract the leading figures in the field to contribute to our vibrant programme of events, informing public debate around social, legal, environmental and economic issues. Through this you will have the opportunity to hear cutting edge research and be part of a dynamic research community.
For upcoming events, see our events page.
- Doctoral School Skills Development Programme
The Doctoral Skills Development Programme is open to all graduate research students at UCL. The purpose of the programme is to give you the opportunity to expand your generic research skills and personal transferable skills. These skills are intended to help your research at UCL and also to enhance your life skills and employability. To find out more, see the website here.
- UCL Law Journal Blog
Much like our sibling UCLJLJ, the UCL Law Journal Blog is edited and published by graduate (Masters and PhD) students of UCL Laws. The Blog publishes scholarly contributions from academics, researchers and practitioners, as well as showcasing outstanding research of post-graduate students at UCL.
We accepts submissions and contributions in all areas of law and jurisprudence, reflecting the diverse and innovative areas of research at UCL Laws and UCLJLJ.
The Blog’s primary aim is to make a high-quality contribution to current debates on local and global issues of law and jurisprudence, and offer these contributions in a free, accessible, and updated platform, covering up-to-date events, developments, debates, cases, and more.
Finally, the Blog, much like the Journal, seeks to add to the content, research, an contributions of UCL, one of world’s leading law schools.
Guidelines for Submission
The UCLJLJ Blog editorial board welcomes any contribution that concern the law and legal developments. We welcome reports on proceedings, case notes, book reviews, articles, interviews, and more.
We do not have any preference as to the methodology, and theoretical, doctrinal, interdisciplinary, empirical, and any other methodology – is welcome. Similarly we have no limitation, nor preference, to a particular field of law or jurisdiction nevertheless, in some cases certain contribution may be edited or coupled so to form a theme.
Not only contributions advocating a certain position are encouraged, but also comprehensive critical analyses, replies and reviews. Moreover, active debate is welcome on the blog, ensuring the possibility of all parties to be heard and a common symbolic space of dialogue to be established.
For further information on our blog guidelines, see our blog guidelines page.
- Gaiane Nuridzhanian
- Ira Ryk-Lakhman
My favourite things about studying at UCL Laws
"There are three things I particularly enjoy about studying at UCL Laws. The first is the rest of the PhD community. The small size of the PhD cohort and the range of interesting topics being worked on helps foster a vibrant and supportive research environment where everyone learns from each other. The second is being situated in Bentham House. Having excellent research facilities and dedicated study space in the heart of London is invaluable, especially as it allows me to attend talks and conferences throughout the city. The third is the opportunity to engage more widely with the work being undertaken by the UCL Law Faculty and UCL as a whole. The opportunity, for example, to attend and contribute to staff work-in-progress seminars and attend discussions in other faculties gives me a cross-disciplinary insight and makes my work more holistic."
Jeevan Hariharan, UCL Laws PhD candidate
- Personal Research Allowance
Graduate research students at UCL Laws have an annual research allowance that can be used to cover research-related expenses such as purchasing books, attending conferences or any other materials relevant to their research.
The allowance is currently £750 full-time or £375 part-time per financial year.
- PhD Research and Innovation Fund (PRIF)
UCL Laws also runs a by-application research fund for current PhD students, aimed at providing financial assistance to fund valuable research activities that would otherwise be impossible.
Some examples of research activities supported by the fund include:
- Training in new research skills not available through the UCL Skills Development programme or the UCL Doctoral School
- Specialised research equipment or materials
- Support for access to specialised research facilities
- Research trips or visiting studentship
- Attending a conference to present a paper relevant to their thesis
- Organising workshops, seminars or conferences relevant to the thesis
- Activities that will spread knowledge, understanding of and engagement with research with external, non-academic audiences
The PRIF Fund is available to all enrolled MPhil and PhD students at UCL Laws, and is run through the Laws PhD Programme Office.
We offer a number of events and opportunities for graduate research students to network and socialise with fellow students and academics, to help you make new connections, develop your research and gain new skills.
- First year welcome lunch
Each year we host a welcome lunch where first year PhD students meet their supervisors, other PhD students and the members of the PhD team.
- Dean’s welcome
Each year, new and returning graduate research students are invited to a special welcome event, hosted by the Dean of the faculty at the start of Term 1. This event provides a wonderful opportunity for new students to meet academic staff and other students from across the faculty.
- Annual dinner for research students and supervisors
Each year, the Director of Research Studies invites all students and their supervisors to a special dinner, usually held at the end of the second term. This gives students an excellent opportunity to talk with academic staff from across the faculty about their research.
After undergoing a major building transformation from 2015 to the 2017-18 academic year, the UCL Laws PhD Programme is based in the newly refurbished Bentham House.
In addition, all UCL Laws graduate research students can access the specialist resources provided by the UCL Doctoral School, including useful information about research policies and procedures, societies, events and competitions, as well as to student facilities at UCL.
Some of the best libraries in the world are on our doorstep, and our students are able to take advantage of the specialist collections and materials as part of their studies and research.
UCL Laws students are able to access the UCL Library, which currently holds over 1.3 million volumes, and includes a extensive law collection, which is particularly strong in the fields of international law, English law, public law, jurisprudence and Roman law.
As a member of the University of London, all UCL students can join the Senate House Library and, with permission, visit the specialist libraries of other members of the University of London, including the SOAS Library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the LSE, the Institute of Historical Research.
Our students can also make use of the major research library of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) in Russell Square. The collections of the IALS concentrate primarily on common law, civil law and Roman-Dutch law systems throughout the world and include material in western European languages for all jurisdictions for comparative and general reference purposes.
Research students can also register for a Reader’s Pass for the British Library, and make use of its unrivalled reference collection.
Four PhD students from the UCL Faculty of Laws have been successful in achieving academic positions in the UK and overseas, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/news/2018/may/ucl-laws-phd-students-successes
UCL Laws has a vibrant community of outstanding research students. You can read more about research by students who have recently completed their studies at UCL Laws below.
- Dr Gaiane Nuridzhanian, Ne bis in idem in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
- Dr Lulwa Althenayan, Between Shari'ah and International Standards: Protecting the Rights of the Child under Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Law
- Dr Eva Christina Lienen, The Nuanced Constitution: An Essay on Common Law Constitutional Rights
- Dr Chiara Armeni, Public Participation in Decision-making on Wind Energy Infrastructure: Rethinking the Legal Approach Beyond Public Acceptance
- Dr Joe Atkinson, Labour law and human rights: legal and philosophical perspectives
- Dr Caspar Bartscherer, Primary and Secondary Rights in Private Law
- Dr Alexander Green, A Moral Explanation of Emerging Statehood: Political Community and International Law
- Dr Eleanore Hickman, Diversity, merit and power in the c-suite of the FTSE100
- Dr Alfonso Salvatore Nocilla, Corporate Rescue at the Crossroads
- Dr Ira Ryk-Lakhman, The Protection of Foreign Investments in Armed Conflicts
- Dr Eugenio Enrique Velasco Ibarra Arguelles, Adjudicating the right to freedom of religion or belief in the liberal state
- Dr Dorothy Acha Morfaw Epse Ghogomu, The complexities and inequalities of the laws of divorce in Cameroon and how these can be overcome
- Dr Alberto Coddou Mc Manus, A transformative approach to anti-discrimination law in Latin America
- Dr Kumaravadivel Guruparan, Internal Self-Determination in Public International Law
- Dr Murilo Lubambo De Melo, Entry of foreign investments: convergence of international trade and investment law?
- Dr June Namgoong, Reconstructing trade and labour linkages: A legal analysis of labour provisions in United States trade arrangements
- Dr Igor Nikolic, Licensing standard essential patents: FRAND and the internet of things
- Dr Christopher O’Meara, Necessity and proportionality and the right of self-defence in international law
- Dr Sara Razai, The role and significance of judges in the Arab Middle East: An interdisciplinary and empirical study
- Dr Daniel Seah, The ASEAN character of non-intervention: a study of the relationship between general and regional international law
- Dr Nicholas Tiverios, Relief against contractual penalties in England and Australia: history, theory and practice
- Dr Yael Levy Ariel, Judicial diversity in Israel: an empirical study of judges, lawyers and law students
- Dr Michael Connolly, Easy cases making bad law: the English judiciary, discrimination law, and the statutory interpretation
- Dr Amber Darr, Parallel pasts, divergent destinies: a comparative analysis of transferring and implementing competition laws in India and Pakistan
- Dr Olivia Hamlyn, Beyond Rhetoric: Closing the Gap between Policy and Practice in the EU's Regulation of Risky Technologies
- Dr Guillermo Jimenez Salas, Nonjudicial administrative justice in Latin America. A case study of the Chilean Comptroller-General
- Dr Gerard Kelly, Governing the EU ETS: the contribution and modalities of linkage
- Dr Kimberly Liu, The constitutionality of facially neutral affirmative action in the United States
- Dr Lea Raible, Human rights unbound: a theory of extraterritorial human rights obligations with special reference to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- Dr Diana Richards, Learning to Judge: An Empirical Study of Judicial Attitudes to Training and Sentencing in Romania
- Dr Christopher Riley, Jeremy Bentham and the utility of history
- Dr Anna Tzanaki, The regulation of minority shareholdings and other structural links between competing undertakings: A law & economics analysis
- Dr Yu Shan Chang, The mechanisms and rationale for integrated publicly-funded legal services: a comparative study of England and Wales, Australia and Taiwan
- Dr Anna Donovan, Reconceptualising Corporate Compliance
- Dr Jessica Duggan-Larkin, Human Rights Duties and the International Actions of States
- Dr Eleni Frantziou, The Horizontal Effect of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: a Constitutional Analysis
- Dr Mariko Fukasaka, The Adversary System of the International Court of Justice: An Analytical Study
- Dr Andrew Gilbert, British conservatism and the legal regulation of intimate adult relationships, 1983-2013
- Dr Miguel-Jose Lopez-Lorenzo, Truth and knowledge in law: the integration challenge
- Dr Manuela Melandri, Self-determination and state-building in international law: a right in abeyance?
- Dr Andres Palacios Lleras, Competition law in Latin America: markets, politics, expertise
- Dr Azza Raslan, The diffusion of competition law in Africa: theoretical perspectives on the policy transfer process
- Dr Inga Thiemann, She is not just a victim. An intersectional feminist labour law approach to human trafficking into the sex industry
- Dr Larissa Verra Boratti, Environmental assessment from an environmental justice perspective: analysing the impacts of major urban projects in Brazil
- Dr Xiaobo Zhai, Bentham's Theory of the Nature of Law
- Dr Ghislaine Lanteigne, The Best Interests of the Child in Relocation Disputes: England and Wales, and Canada
- Dr Claire Lougarre, The Right to Health: Legal Content through Supranational Monitoring
- Dr Vassiliki Martzoukou, Claims to Resources and Positive Obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights
- Dr Natalie Ohana, Social Exclusion through Legal Naming Events: The Case Study of Violence against Women by Male Partners
- Dr Luke Price, Improving the legal regulation of organisations by re-assessing the requirements of responsibility in the corporate context
- Dr Oisin Suttle, Equality in Global Commerce: Towards a Theory of Justice in World Trade Law
- Dr Maria Tzanakopoulou, In Defence of Constitutionalism: Democracy, Power and the Nation State
- Dr Ilias Trispiotis, Freedom of religion, equality and discrimination in the European Convention on Human Rights
- Dr Kristi Gourlay, The scientific approach to legal history and legal reform: comparing the legal philosophy, historical methodology, and legal science of Blackstone, Kames, and Bentham
- Dr Christopher Anderson, Administrative legitimacy and risk regulation in the European Union and the United States
- Dr Prakash Puchooa, Have the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) judges exercised their judicial discretion fairly? A case study of the formulation and application of Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE)
- Dr Radosveta Vassileva, Change of Economic Circumstances in Bulgarian and English Law. What lessons for the Harmonization of Contract Law in the European Union?