How to Apply
ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR A PHD IN LAW
An Upper Second or First Class Honours degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) in law or another relevant discipline, plus a Master's degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) with an average above 60%.
Applicants with an Upper Second or First Class Honours degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) in law or another relevant discipline, who are currently studying a Master’s degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) will also be considered.
Applicants with an Upper Second or First Class Honours degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) in law or another relevant discipline, plus evidence of ability to conduct independent and original research, will be considered on a case by case basis.
DURATION OF A DOCTORAL STUDY IN LAW
PhD Normally 3 years full-time; 6 years part-time
MPhil Normally 2 years full-time; 4 years part-time
Normally start of the academic year (end of September)
KEY STEPS IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS
1. Identify your research question and a potential supervisor
To ensure that students are properly supervised, we can only accept applications in fields where the School of Law has expertise and capacity.
To make a preliminary assessment, consult our academic staff on Find A Supervisor to identify a potential supervisor for your work, and contact that person with:
(i) a brief, but precise, description of your academic qualifications and, where relevant to the proposed PhD, your work experience. In particular, do you have prior qualifications in law, at what level, with what final grade, and have you completed a long essay/dissertation and, if so, what grade did you achieve?
(ii) a short outline (500 words maximum) of the proposed PhD, explaining:
· What: state the research question you will address
· Why: explain why addressing this question would make an original and significant contribution to the field
· How: explain the approach you expect to adopt in addressing your research question
(iii) a brief explanation (one sentence might be sufficient) as to why you think the academic you are contacting might be suited to supervising the proposed PhD. You may wish to refer to their publication list and research interests, and consider the connections between their expertise and your proposed PhD topic.
On the basis of this short email from you, we should be able to advise whether we have sufficient expertise in your field, and whether a fuller application is worthwhile. If you have been advised that we may have expertise in your chosen field, you can proceed to a full application.
If you cannot find a potential supervisor, you may wish to contact the School’s PhD Team via email at email@example.com. There is no guarantee that the Team will be able to find a potential supervisor if you cannot, but they will certainly be able to offer an informed opinion.
- 2. Prepare a 1,500 word research proposal
For many applicants, the research proposal is the most challenging element of the application.
The proposal must be max 1500 words (including references but excluding bibliography) and include:
What is the research question that will be answered in the PhD?
If required, you may include an overall research question and a series of sub-questions.
Ensure that your research question is stated at, or near, the start of the proposal. Ensure too that it is stated in a clear way; assessors should not have to search for your research question.
Be aware that it takes time to craft a research question; expect to spend time researching and then thinking about the question, and then set aside additional time so that the question is framed in a clear, concise and precise manner.
Why should this research question be addressed?
In particular, by addressing this research question, will you augment scholarship in the area? This goes towards the question of whether the PhD will make an original contribution to scholarship in the relevant field.
Consider, too, the significance of the question at the heart of your proposed PhD. It is not sufficient to claim that a proposed PhD is original because it has never been studied before; it could be the case that it has not been studied because it has not been deemed significant, ie, worthy of study.
The proposal does not need to feature a literature review. However, the assessors will expect to see reference to the literature, both to demonstrate your knowledge of the current state of research in the field in which you hope to study, and to support your claim that there is currently a gap in the literature which your PhD will fill.
Your task, in other words, is to establish the research context. In doing so, if you fail to demonstrate familiarity with key sources in your field, including how your proposed PhD relates to these, it is likely to raise doubts as to the quality of your proposal and your aptitude for a PhD.
What method and methodology will be adopted to address the question?
What is the proposed timetable for the research?
One of the questions the assessors will ask is: does the proposed PhD seem viable? In particular, is it viable within the time available? Within the funds available? Using the method(s) proposed?
The quality of the presentation should be high; sloppiness will count against the proposal. And remember: do not exceed the maximum word count of 1,500 words, including references but excluding bibliography.
- 3. Submit a formal application
You apply via the University’s online portal at https://dap.qub.ac.uk/portal/.
From there, you upload:
- a 1,500 word research proposal
- degree certificates and transcripts (we need to see and assess your performance, including in any dissertation modules)
- details of two referees who can comment on your ability to complete doctoral work, by reference to your academic performance to date
- English language certificate (as required). Evidence of an IELTS* score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.
- the University’s application form
- a 2-page cv tailored to doctoral work
If the system does not allow you to upload the 2-page cv as a separate document, include it as part of the research proposal; it will not count towards the 1,500 word limit for the proposal.
General information about the University’s application process is available here.