Law PhD / PhD by Distance Learning / MPhil / MJur

Start date
Flexible – September or January encouraged
Full time: PhD – 3 years, MPhil – 2 years, MJur – 1 year
Course Type
Postgraduate, Distance learning, Doctoral research

Annual tuition fee 2024 entry:
UK: £4,786 full-time, £2,393 part-time
International: £21,840 full-time; £10,920 part-time (distance learning only)
More detail.

As a postgraduate researcher at Birmingham Law School you will be contributing to more than 85 years of research tradition, working alongside some of the country's most eminent legal scholars.

Our expertise spans a wide range of areas, including commercial law, criminal law, criminal justice, judicial administration, European law, public law, human rights, international law, private law, restitution, conflicts of law, international economic law, comparative law, health and social welfare, socio-legal studies, and legal theory.

Scholarships for 2024 entry

The University of Birmingham is proud to offer a range of scholarships for our postgraduate programmes. With a scholarship pot worth over £2 million, we are committed to alleviating financial barriers to support you in taking your next steps.

Each scholarship has its own specific deadlines and eligibility criteria. Please familiarise yourself with the information on individual scholarship webpages prior to submitting an application.

Explore our scholarships

As well as providing expert supervision from experienced members of staff, we offer a friendly and supportive environment for our postgraduate students and consider them an integral part of the School’s research community.

  • With supervision from academic staff, our PhD programme requires you to research and write a thesis of 80,000 words that makes an original contribution to knowledge. Full-time students are expected to complete their work within three years. This programme can also be studied by Distance Learning - see whether distance learning is an option for you.
  • The MPhil programme requires you to research and write a 60,000-word thesis under the supervision of academic staff. Full-time students are expected to complete their work within two years.
  • The MJur programme requires you to research and write a 40,000-word thesis under the supervision of academic staff. Full-time students are expected to complete their work within one year.

Our current Law PhD students

To find out more about the range of research currently being undertaken by our PhD students and the academics providing supervision, read our profiles of current doctoral researchers.

At Birmingham, I have the fantastic opportunity to work with talented people from across a range of different cultural backgrounds which broadens my horizons and helps me get to know the world better. My supervisors provide great support and assistance, while I can always find activities on campus that interest me outside of my research.


Why study this course?

  • Academic expertise: You will be supervised by experts, internationally renowned for their research in the legal field. Many of our academics ‘wrote the book’ on their area of expertise, or have been commissioned by governments and other public bodies to carry out important applied legal research. The University of Birmingham is a Top 100 University in the World (QS 2024 Rankings).
  • Postgraduate community: The postgraduate community at Birmingham Law School is lively and supportive. You will have the opportunity to organise and participate in a range of research events, as well as get involved in social events. It is not without significance that several members of the School’s academic staff were themselves postgraduate students here. You can also make the most of new, dedicated postgraduate study spaces in the Law School and neighbouring Frankland Building. Read more about the postgraduate community at Birmingham Law School
  • Employability: Birmingham is one of the top universities in the UK for graduate employment. Our Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research (CEPLER) offers support, whether you are looking to pursue a career in law, academia or elsewhere. 

The postgraduate experience

The College of Arts and Law offers excellent support to its postgraduates, from libraries and research spaces, to careers support and funding opportunities. Learn more about your postgraduate experience.


We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2024 entry are as follows:

  • UK: £4,786 full-time; £2,393 part-time *
  • International: £21,840 full-time; £10,920 part-time (distance learning only)

The same fees apply to both campus-based and distance learning study. The distance learning programme also includes one fully-funded visit to campus in the first year of study.

The above fees quoted are for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

* For UK postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2024.

Fee status

Eligibility for UK or international fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

Paying your fees

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

How To Apply

Application deadlines

Applications are accepted at any time though we strongly encourage students to begin their studies at the start of the UK academic year (September).

Before you make your application

Full details of our requirements can be found on our Applications page

As part of the application for admission onto our MJur, MPhil and PhD programmes, you must prepare a research proposal outlining your proposed area of study. For more information, please see our guidance on how to write a research proposal

Please also see our additional guidance for applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode

Making your application

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate research programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the research programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MJur and MPhil programmes, entry usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree in law (or a subject related to the proposed area of research) or its international equivalent
  • Typically, applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above in law (or a subject related to the proposed area of research) or its international equivalent

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have will also taken into account.

If you are applying to study by distance learning, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please email

International students

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements: standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in any band. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

  • IELTS 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in any band
  • TOEFL: 95 overall with no less than 22 in any band
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: PTE Academic 76 with no less than 67 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced or Proficiency – minimum overall score of 185, with no less than 176 in any component

International Requirements

Members of Birmingham Law School are active in research and publication, and many of their books have become standard works on numerous areas of law. Academics working in the School are well known for carrying out important applied legal research, much of it commissioned by the government and other public bodies.

Birmingham Law School staff research supervision areas


Related research

The University of Birmingham is the top choice for the UK's major employers searching for graduate recruits, according to The Graduate Market 2024 report.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated  careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation. 

Postgraduate employability: Law

Postgraduate research students have the opportunity to benefit from extensive careers advice and employability support from the Law School. If you are interested in a qualifying as a lawyer, you have access to a wide range of events and activities, including regular visits from major law firms and barristers’ chambers. All of our careers and employability activities are organised through the Law School’s Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research. Over the past 5 years, 83% of our postgraduates were in work and/or further study 6 months after graduation (DLHE 2012 – 2017).

If a career in academia is your goal, we have an annual lecture and exclusive advice sessions for postgraduate researchers, which includes support to develop you career profile and secure a job in higher education. It is not without significance that several members of the Law School’s academic staff were themselves postgraduate students here.