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.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2020/21)
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 Students website.
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.
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 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.
- 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
- Maritime Law
- Medical Law
- Property and Trusts
- Public, Admin and Constitutional
- Public International Law
About this degree
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.
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 atUCL 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
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.
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.
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. 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.
What our students and staff say
"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 LeeLaw MPhil/PhD, Law LLM
Professor of Law
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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.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.