Law MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

UCL Laws has one of the most selective MPhil/PhD programmes in the UK, and produces graduates of internationally recognised quality. Ranked first in the UK for its world-leading research environment in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), UCL Laws attracts leading figures in the field to our extensive programme of events, informing debate on critical legal issues.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2022
Applications accepted
All applicants: 01 Sep – 18 Nov 2021

Applications closed

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.

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

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

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

UCL Laws has a strong international and multidisciplinary 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.

Who this course is for

What this course will give you

UCL Laws has been one of the leading centres of legal education in the world for almost 200 years. 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), 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 interdisciplinary 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 time.

The foundation of your career

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 at university level. Our graduates are 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.


Our PhD graduates have entered a wide range of careers including top academic positions in the UK and overseas, international organisations, private sector, NGOs and government. 'The international reputation and expertise of the faculty is well known and is what first attracted me to UCL. I found the faculty to be a vibrant academic community in which to undertake research, with invaluable support to develop personal research skills, pursue cross-disciplinary research and to engage in empirical activities. After my doctoral studies I was delighted to join the faculty as a Lecturer. The community of support at UCL Faculty of Laws undoubtedly enhanced my research and enabled me to pursue avenues that may not otherwise have been possible. Dr Anna Donovan Lecturer, UCL Laws


The faculty has a longstanding reputation for high-quality legal research with real world 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.

Teaching and learning

Research areas and structure

  • 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

Research environment

UCL Laws is a world-leading community of intellectually dynamic scholars responding to today’s challenges. The Faculty has continued its status as a world-leading university in law in the latest round of rankings published by the Times Higher Education (THE). The Faculty has also been ranked number 1 in the UK for its world-leading research environment, and was the only law school to score a 100% 4* rating in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 exercise for its research environment. As a Laws MPhil/PhD student, you will have the opportunity to learn from, and contribute to, this research culture.

The Faculty attracts the leading figures in the field to our extensive programme of events, informing debate on critical legal issues. Events we have held in the past include a series of seminars from the former President of the European Court of Human Rights and Judge of the General Court of the European Union. Our events reflect the diversity of teaching and research at UCL Laws, and our programme of lively seminars, lectures, debates and conferences cover a wide variety of engaging legal topics. Many events are CPD accredited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Bar Standards Board and Intellectual Property regulation board (IP Reg).

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 could 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.


The length of registration for the research degree programmes is 3 years for full-time and 5 years for part-time. 

You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 9- 18 months after initial registration.

Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may register as a completing research student (CRS) while you write up your thesis.  

In your first year, you will be required to take part in a mandatory Skills Seminar Programme. Within three months of joining the programme, you are expected to agree with your supervisor the basic structure of your research project, an appropriate research method and a realistic plan of work. You will produce and submit a detailed outline of your proposed research to your supervisor for their comments and feedback. We hold a PhD workshop at the end of your first year, which provides you with an opportunity to present your research before an audience of UCL Laws Academic staff and fellow PhD students.

In your second year you will be expected to upgrade from an MPhil to a PhD. To successfully upgrade to a PhD you are required to submit a piece of writing (this is usually based on one chapter from your thesis and a chapter plan for the remainder). You are also required  to present and answer questions about this work to a panel consisting of your subsidiary supervisor and another member of the faculty who acts as an independent assessor.

The PhD programme is expected to be completed within three years for full-time students, and over five years for part-time students. If you are not ready to submit at the end of the third year, you may be able to go onto CRS. 


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £5,690 £2,845
Tuition fees (2022/23) £21,330 £10,870

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

There are a number of different scholarships available to fund your PhD. All are awarded on the basis of academic excellence and are competitive.

Full information about funding may be found on our faculty scholarships page. The faculty also provides financial support to current students in the form of an annual Research Allowance, and there is a PhD Research Impact and Innovation Fund (PRIF) that students may apply to for funding for exceptional items such as delivering a paper at an international conference.

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

Next steps

Detailed information on the application process may be found on the Faculty of Laws website.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

Got questions? Get in touch

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