Law PhD / PhD by Distance Learning / MPhil / MJur

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

Full-time annual tuition fee 2020/21:
UK/EU: £4,380
International: £17,880
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.

Doctoral Training Partnership studentships available

The University of Birmingham is part of the Midlands4Cities DTP and the Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP, both of which are offering postgraduate research studentships to campus-based UK/EU applicants across each DTP's partner institutions. AHRC awards are available across arts, law and humanities disciplines, and ESRC awards are available for a range of social science disciplines including Applied Linguistics, Area Studies (African Studies), Economic and Social History, and Socio-Legal Studies.

Find out more

 As well as providing expert supervision from an experienced member 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.

Yunxiang

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 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 also one of the UK’s top 20 law schools (QS World Rankings 2019). 
  • 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.


Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:

  • UK/EU: £4,380 full-time; £2,190 part-time*
  • International: £17,880 full-time; £8,940 part-time

The same fees apply to both campus-based and distance learning study. The distance learning programme fee also includes a fully-funded visit to campus for each full year of the programme.

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/EU 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 2020.

Fee status

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


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

Paying your fees

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

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate funding database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

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

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

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 law-researchenquiries@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

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 is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 95 overall with no less than 22 in any band
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): PTE Academic 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

 

Photo of a job application with a pencil

 

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.