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This course is closed to UK/home applicants for 2021 entry.

Research overview

With well-established research centres and links to leading institutions around the world, the School of Law is a dynamic centre for PhD study. We have a vibrant and diverse academic and social community, with research students from all over the world. 

We promote research excellence, recognising that high-quality legal research may take many different forms. We use a variety of research methods across our projects. 

You will be assigned two supervisors who will have the appropriate expertise to support your research project. The school offers supervision in most subject areas, and for interdisciplinary projects that have a legal aspect to them. 

Research students and academics are all engaged in the same endeavours and can learn a great deal from each other. We actively encourage our doctoral students to engage in the wider community of the school and play a full role in its research activities. 

While legal research is often an individual pursuit, many collaborative research activities take place, including co-authorship of publications, and reading and discussion groups. In addition, our research students organise their own seminar series, with the support of a member of staff, which helps them practise and develop their presentation skills. 

Completing your PhD at Nottingham would be your first, essential step to pursuing a successful academic career. 

Our research areas include: 

  • commercial law 
  • company and insolvency law 
  • consumer law 
  • criminal justice 
  • environmental law 
  • European law 
  • human rights 
  • intellectual property law 
  • international law 
  • law and development  
  • maritime law 
  • public procurement 

 

Course content

You must complete a written thesis of up to 100,000 words, with support and advice from your academic supervisor(s). You will also take a verbal examination called a viva voce where you explain your project in depth to an examination panel. 

You will also be required to take the Legal Research Methods module, which considers the diverse spectrum of legal scholarship and methodologies. You will refresh or enhance your legal research skills and receive training in a range of research methods and techniques. 

It will enable you to identify various approaches to legal scholarship and characterise your research interests, apply research skills and methods, including being able to use, interpret and locate legal sources, and design, write and evaluate a research proposal. 

You are also encouraged, where appropriate, to undertake modules offered as part of the school’s LLM programme, which is one of the most extensive in the country. 

Supervision 

Full-time students should meet with their supervisors at least 10 times each year. This would be at least six times in the same period for part-time students. You will also receive an annual review of your progress for monitoring and support.  

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

QualificationPhD
Undergraduate degree

LLM or masters degree in a relevant discipline, with a taught and dissertation average of 65% or above; plus a 2:1 (or international equivalent)

QualificationPhD
Undergraduate degree

LLM or masters degree in a relevant discipline, with a taught and dissertation average of 65% or above; plus a 2:1 (or international equivalent)

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

IELTS7.0 (no less than 7.0 in writing, 6.5 in reading, and 6.0 in speaking and listening)
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

English language support

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

For presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.

Applying

Find a supervisor

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply

Fees

QualificationPhD
Home / UK£4,496 (estimate) per year
International£19,000 per year

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. The figures shown above match the limit for 2020 entry. We expect fees for 2021 entry to be confirmed in February 2021.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you'll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles.

Funding

The School of Law offers a number of PhD scholarships each year. All full-time applications received by 31 January will be automatically considered, unless a scholarship has already been awarded by another funding body.

The school has a generous fund to assist postgraduate students with research-related expenses, such as attendance at conferences and workshops, field trips for data collection or to access specific resources. You will have an allocated fund to support you for the duration of your studies.

In addition to allocated funding, you will have the opportunity to apply for other school funding, such as travelling scholarships, and our fund for short courses in Europe, which offers financial support for attendance at a range of different summer schools.

There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about funding your postgraduate degree.

Research funding

Support

School support

The School of Law has a multi-faceted approach to supporting students. All postgraduate research students are allocated an adviser, who is a member of academic staff with detailed knowledge of the doctoral programme and supervision process. 

You will meet with your adviser regularly and they will act as a source of confidential support. In addition to your adviser, you are welcome to contact the co-directors of the research degrees programme at any point. 

Supervisors also act as an important source of support. Throughout the duration of your studies, you will develop a strong working relationship with your supervisors. They will provide you with assistance and support as you carry out your research. 

Teaching opportunities

Second and third-year research students can apply to undertake paid teaching experience by delivering undergraduate tutorials. Teaching is subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. Training courses on teaching methods are on offer. 

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy supports all postgraduate researchers at the University.

You can develop your research skills through:

  • paid work placements
  • training courses
  • public engagement opportunities

Postgraduate hubs

Our Researcher Academy hubs are dedicated community spaces on campus for postgraduates.

Each space has areas for:

  • studying
  • socialising
  • computer work
  • seminars
  • kitchen facilities

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Where you will learn

University Park Campus

University Park Campus covers 300 acres, with green spaces, wildlife, period buildings and modern facilities. It is one of the UK's most beautiful and sustainable campuses, winning a national Green Flag award every year since 2003.

Most schools and departments are based here. You will have access to libraries, shops, cafes, the Students’ Union, sports village and a health centre.

You can walk or cycle around campus. Free hopper buses connect you to our other campuses. Nottingham city centre is 15 minutes away by public bus or tram.

Careers

Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

Many PhD graduates go on to secure academic roles in the UK and around the globe. Some enter the legal profession or return to their prior career with enhanced prospects. Others work for governmental institutions and non-governmental organisations.

90.5% of postgraduates from the School of Law secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £27,658.*

The University of Nottingham’s law graduates are the 6th most highly paid in the UK above King’s College London and University College London.**

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020, using methodology set by The Guardian. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.
** Chambers Student law firms preferred universities study 2019.

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.

  • 81% of the School of Law's research considered world-leading or internationally excellent
  • More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally
  • More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power

This content was last updated on 08 October 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.