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Law Research MPhil/PhD

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The School’s vision for its research culture is to create a focal point for interdisciplinary, transnational legal research that encourages cross-fertilisation of ideas within existing areas of strength while incorporating a new global perspective. The School is one of a handful of Law Schools around the world pioneering a transnational approach. Our aim is to foster innovative research that yields new insights for global challenges relating to personal responsibility, health, wealth, justice, communication and governance.

King's is ranked first in the UK for research excellence in law. The Dickson Poon School of Law has the highest GPA across UK law schools, with the highest quality submission and the highest proportion of world-leading 4* research (Times Higher Education REF ranking 2014).

The Dickson Poon School of Law is home to over 90 doctoral researchers. Their projects cover a broad range of topics from intellectual property to information technology, from competition law to counter-rules, from global justice to gender equality. We offer two research degrees – the Masters of Philosophy in Law (MPhil) and the Doctor of Philosophy in Law (PhD).

For more information on recent publications and current research degree projects, visit the Research Portal.

Key information

Duration Open

Study mode Full-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty The Dickson Poon School of Law



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Course detail


While graduate research opportunities are organised through The Dickson Poon School of Law, you may well find that your work is related to research undertaken at one of the research centres associated with the School. These centres enjoy strong international and national reputations and contribute to legal and wider public debates on important issues of today. The Dickson Poon School of Law is home to Centre of European Law; Transnational Law Institute; Centre for Politics, Philosophy & Law; Centre of Medical Law and Ethics; Centre for Technology, Ethics, Law and Society; Centre for Climate law and Governance and Centre of Construction Law

Candidates should identify and approach their potential first supervisor before applying. Applications from candidates without a named, agreed supervisor from The Dickson Poon School of Law, will not be considered. Search by academic or research area

The majority of our research students are full-time; however, we are able to offer study on a part-time basis in exceptional circumstances. To apply for part-time study, please choose the part-time route via the application portal and be prepared to make a case at your interview. 


Course study environment

The Dickson Poon School of Law provides the training to help our researchers achieve excellence, world class facilities in which to do so and the opportunity to contribute to teaching at King’s

Our researchers are an integral part of the King’s community and fully participate in the life of the School. They join our academic staff in the premises in Somerset House east Wing. In addition to a dedicated suite of offices, our doctoral researchers have access to the Maughan Library, British Library of Economics and Political Science and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. Our dedicated Information Specialist for Law helps to ensure that each of our researchers has access to the materials they need to complete their projects.

The Dickson Poon School of Law has over fifty academic staff members as well as visiting professors and lecturers with practical experience. Each of our doctoral researchers is assigned two supervisors – a primary supervisor who oversees the research project and a second supervisor who provides complementary expertise.

Research students are invited to attend and participate in staff seminars. The Graduate Legal Research Society represents the students and organises educational and social events. Research students have access to the Maughan Library where they have a dedicated work space. Students also have access to the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Library, Senate House Library, and the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics. Our facilities are aimed at supporting research at the highest level.

Postgraduate training

We provide research students with the skills and training they will need for their future careers. Supervisors are able to advise you on various lectures, seminars and training that will benefit you. The School offers a series of research methodology seminars presented by our academic staff who draw on their own research experiences to help our researchers develop their projects. Students are also encouraged to give work-in-progress presentations to staff and other students in order to develop their presentation skills and to obtain ongoing feedback on their work. 

The Centre for Doctoral Studies offers a vast range of in-house courses that are available to all research students. Students interested in pursuing an academic career may attend the King's Academy to develop their skills and knowledge base in the areas of learning and teaching.

Doctoral researchers are the School’s first port of call to assist our staff in teaching on the undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes. Every researcher is encouraged to complete the Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice which is provided by the King’s Academy. Our researchers put what they learn into practice by serving as Visiting Tutors on our LLB, LLM and MA degrees. New teachers are mentored by existing staff members and teaching is audited to ensure that skills are passed on. Our teaching is research-led which helps our researchers learn to teach.

Head of group/division

Our programmes are overseen by the Director and Deputy Director of Doctoral Studies, Prof Eva Pils and Dr Aruna Nair, supported by the Vice Dean for Research, Prof Tanya Aplin.

Contact for information

Admissions Office:  tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7206

Further literature

To contact us about this course please contact Postgraduate Admissions or to find out more about our law research degrees click here.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Law Research Entry Requirements
Minimum UK requirements  
  • A Master's degree with Merit in Law or a related discipline, with strong evidence of research and writing ability. This will normally involve achieving a Merit in a dissertation component of the Master’s degree. We usually also require a Bachelor's degree with 2:1 honours.

  • Candidates who do not meet these criteria will only be admitted if the prospective supervisor makes a case for admission based on the candidate's broader work experience.

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band B Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

Candidates should identify and approach their potential first supervisor before applying through the King's apply portal. Applications from candidates without a named, agreed supervisor from The Dickson Poon School of Law, will not be considered. An A-Z of academics is here.

Application procedure


Your application will be assessed by the admissions tutor. All applicants will need to interview with their supervisor and a independent chair, UK/EU applicants may be invited for an face to face interview and overseas applicants will be interviewed by Skype. A final decision will be made after receipt of your full application including supporting documents and interview. Admission to our research programmes will initially be for the MPhil and after nine months of full-time study, students normally go through a formal procedure for upgrade to the PhD. Students are expected to enrol in September when the College offers a full induction programme but January enrolment may be permitted for this programme in exceptional circumstances.

Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Law Research checklist
Personal Statement Yes A personal statement of up to 4,000 characters (maximum 2 pages) is required. Your personal statement is an opportunity to express your motivation and focus for wanting to do your research degree at King's. Your research proposal is separate to and should not feature in the personal statement section of the online application form. However, it should still be submitted as part of the online application, but as a separate document.
Research Proposal Yes

The proposal should explain in some detail precisely the field of study that you want to contribute to and current research gaps, what you want to do and how you propose to do it. For advice on how to write a winning application, please visit the following page.

The research proposal must include:

1. the theoretical background to the proposed research and its relationship to previous work in the relevant field(s);

2. the significance (scientific, intellectual, practical, etc) of the proposed research;

3. the transnational outlook of the proposed research;

4. the likely methodological approach and why it is appropriate to the aims of the project;

5. how their proposed research complements their previous experience and anticipates possible future research work;

6. why they feel their project fits with their proposed supervisors’ research and the strengths of the Dickson Poon School of Law.

Research proposals must NOT exceed 2 sides of A4 (Times New Roman Font size 11) in total. Longer proposals or those that contain extraneous material will not be considered.

Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Other Optional You may also wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application


Course intake

Dependent on supervisory capacity.

Application closing date

The deadline for 2019 applications are detailed below. Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier.

October 2019 entry – Application deadline: 11th January 2019 for Home/EU and Overseas students.

  • Application portal opens: October 2018
  • Confirmation of interview time: 21st February 2019
  • Formal interviews: 25th February 2019 to 6th March 2019*
  • Decisions and offers made: 1st April 2019*

*As alternative interview dates may be offered to accommodate supervisor availability, these dates may be subject to change. 

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

UK/EU Tuition Fees 2018/19

Fees for UK/EU research students are linked to rates set by the Research Councils UK.

Full time tuition fees: £7,100 per year
Part time tuition fees: £3,550 per year

Intrnational Tuition Fees 2018/19

Full time tuition fees: £18,740 per year

Part time tuition fees: £9,370 per year

UK/EU Tuition Fees 2019/20

Full time tuition fees: £7,100 per year

Part time tuition fees: £3,550 per year

International Tuition Fees 2019/20

Full time tuition fees:  £18,740 per year

Part time tuition fees: £9,370 per year

Students starting their programme in 2019/20 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2020/21.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

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