Postgraduate Research

Postgraduate Research

The School of Law offers research programmes leading to PhD, MPhil and Juris Doctor (JD) degrees. These are granted on the basis of original research undertaken.

These degrees permit students to engage in high level legal research at Queen’s in a range of topic areas including human rights, criminology and criminal justice, governance, commercial law and arbitration. However, the School welcomes applications from well qualified candidates for study in any area of law. The School has an excellent reputation in placing PhD students in employment with many going to work in academic positions across the UK, Ireland, and internationally, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United States and Canada.

Information on research scholarships can be found here.

Further Information

The PhD, MPhil and Juris Doctor (JD) programmes are awarded on the basis of original research work. Students will study, write a thesis and then be orally examined on this by a respected academic in the field who teaches and researches at a different university. Usually PhD students are enrolled as "undifferentiated" (that is, for both PhD and MPhil) and after one year, a joint decision is made about whether the student will terminate with an MPhil or carry through to a PhD.  Students can register on a full-time or part-time basis.

What is an MPhil?

Research undertaken for an MPhil should advance the boundaries of knowledge in a discipline through research and the systematic and creative application of research techniques to complex problems.

What is a PhD?

Doctorates are awarded for the creation and interpretation of knowledge, which extends the forefront of a discipline, through original research. This requires the ability to conceptualise, design and implement projects for the generation of significant new knowledge and/or understanding.
Entry to the PhD programme requires at least an honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate scientific or engineering discipline. The programme runs for 3 year full-time or 6 years part-time.

How do I apply for the MPhil or PhD?

Normally applicants should hold a primary degree in law of 1st or 2.1 class (or equivalent), and have completed or be in the process of completing a Master's degree in a relevant law-related discipline.  However, students with outstanding primary degrees who can demonstrate evidence of relevant research skills and potential will also be given consideration.  Students for whom English is not your native language must have an IELTS score of 7 or above (with a minimum of 5.5 in each component), or equivalent.

See our Applications Process page for full details on how to submit your application.

For more information please contact:

What is a Juris Doctor (JD)?

The JD is a first professional degree required for licensure in the field of law. The programme delivers a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) to graduates in a discipline other than Law. The JD is taught at doctoral level via intensive, small-group teaching and includes multiple research-focused activities. More information on this programme is available here. If you are interested in the Juris Doctor please contact the Postgraduate Research Administrator, Ms Heather Kinning at who will be happy to provide further information.

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