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MPhil / MRes / PhD

Research degrees in Law

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  • Level(s) of study: Postgraduate research
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: All year round depending on project
  • Course duration: 2-4 years full-time, or 4-8 years part-time.

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NLS has a diverse and vibrant community of postgraduate research candidates who are an integral part of our community. The School offers opportunities to study for an MPhil or PhD by full-time or part-time study, and is now also available by distance learning.

Researchers in the Law School have interests in a diverse range of legal topics and use a variety of methodologies, including theoretical, doctrinal and socio-legal research.  Candidates interested in pursuing a postgraduate research degree should contact the Postgraduate Research Tutor, Helen O’Nions, or the member of staff whose expertise aligns with the proposed project. Currently, members of staff have expressed interests in reviewing proposals on the follow areas:

  • Conflict, Rights and Justice
  • Legal Education and Legal Practice
  • Environmental Law
  • Medical Law and Ethics
  • Advocacy
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Sports Law
  • Business and Insolvency.

Supporting your studies

Carrying out research for a PhD, MPhil or ProfD requires different skills from undergraduate or taught postgraduate study. You will mostly work on your own research project, but we also emphasise the importance of regular meetings with your supervisory team.

The team consists of a director of studies (who will usually have expertise in your subject area) and at least one other supervisor selected for their complementary expertise such as relevant research methods.

All candidates have access to a dedicated research librarian, and state-of-the-art library and information services including the full gamut of research databases.  They also have access to a range of academic software as well as legal and social science databases such as Westlaw, Lawtel, Hein-on-line and LexisNexis, and to numerous other databases across a wide spectrum of disciplines. Candidates have access to a large pool of workstations and storage space in the NTU Doctoral School. This newly refurbished accommodation provides congenial space for doctoral students to work, mingle, talk about their projects and share ideas.

The Law School is proud to host the Early Career Researchers’ Forum, wherein both ECR staff and PGR students are encouraged to share experiences and wisdom of the first steps in an academic career.

The Doctoral School Team will support you from your initial enquiry, through the application process and the various stages of your degree, until your viva voce examination and subsequent graduation. Once you begin your studies, you will have induction sessions to introduce you to the University, help you settle in and meet other researchers. There are also opportunities for many candidates to take up posts as hourly paid lecturers or research assistants within the Law School. and we seek to maximise such opportunities to provide career development.

Researcher training and career development

In addition to studying for a research degree, our Doctoral Plus programme is designed to develop knowledge and skills of all aspects of the research process, including the funding and dissemination of research. This will ensure that you have the necessary expertise to successfully complete your doctoral programme and lay sound foundations for your future career.

We also provide a structured programme of transferable skills training and career development. This is informed by the work of Vitae, the national organisation which support researchers throughout their careers.

Participation in academic conferences, seminars and external networks will cultivate contacts, skills and knowledge essential for successful research practice and the Law School ringfences a fund to enable postgraduate researchers to engage in such activities. These competencies are also transferable to a wide range of other careers. Researchers are also invited to take part in our research seminar series and Research Away Day, giving you the opportunity to present your work and discuss with other researchers at NTU.

There are some opportunities for research students to prepare for an academic career by teaching undergraduate students or undertaking research assistance. Students may also take part in the Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education training programme.

What you'll study

Researchers in the Law School have interests in a diverse range of legal topics and use a variety of methodologies, both doctrinal and socio-legal. Contact the Doctoral School if you wish to discuss whether we could offer supervision for your topic.

Support and supervision

During your research you will be supported by a dedicated supervision team with both specialist knowledge in your field of activity and experience of successful doctoral supervision. You will also have full access to student support centres, financial advice, careers advice, language support, disability support, counselling and an accommodation service.

How you’re taught

Covid-19 planning

We will be adopting a range of blended teaching and learning techniques including online and face-to-face (where practical) to ensure that students can meet their learning outcomes in full. We will respond proactively to any national or local policy changes (including lock down) to ensure student safety as our primary concern whilst continuing to focus on offering a comprehensive student academic experience and will work flexibly with our students to ensure they are not disadvantaged by Covid 19.

Careers and employability

Your career development

Nottingham Trent University prides itself on the real-world relevance of its courses, and places particular emphasis on helping students to develop the academic and practical know-how that encourages initiative, innovation and academic excellence.

All our research degrees incorporate a programme of supporting studies designed to develop knowledge and skills of all aspects of the research process, including the funding and dissemination of research. This will ensure that you have the necessary expertise to successfully complete your doctoral programme and lay sound foundations for your future career.

Participation in academic conferences, seminars and external networks will cultivate contacts, skills and knowledge essential for successful research practice. These abilities are also transferable to a wide range of other careers. Researchers are also invited to take part in our own Research Conferences giving you the opportunity to present your work and discuss with other researchers at NTU.

There are some opportunities for research students to prepare for an academic career by teaching undergraduate students or supervising laboratory work, and students may take part in the Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education training programme.

Although formal placements are not a requirement of PhDs, the University has strong links with professionals in business and industry.

There are opportunities to participate in ERASMUS overseas exchanges in some subject areas. The University has links with many other institutions such as:

  • Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • l'Université d'Angers
  • Universitat Ramon Llull (Barcelona).

How to apply

Entry requirements

You will need:

  • a minimum of a first or second-class degree or a Master's degree in a relevant discipline
  • a period of pre-PhD study is required for some subjects before entry to a PhD
  • and / or evidence of motivation and ability to conduct research at higher degree level.

English language requirements: IELTS 6.5 (with minimum sub-scores of 6.0).

Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university are normally exempt from the English language requirements. Applicants who do not meet the English language proficiency requirement will normally be asked to complete an English Language course.

Application process

To apply for a PhD / MPhil please submit a research proposal (between 1,000 and a maximum of 2,000 words) which addresses the following points:

  • provisional title
  • the topic or area to be investigated (the subject or field that you are going to investigate)
  • the problem or hypothesis to be tested (the research questions or problem you want to address, the research objectives)
  • the relationship of the proposed research to the published literature and to current research in the field (how your project relates to other work)
  • an indication of the contribution to knowledge that the thesis is anticipated to make (what you hope to find out)
  • the methods and techniques to be used in the research (how you propose to go about the research)
  • a provisional timetable for the project, indicating anticipated activities
  • details of your previous work in the proposed field, or relationship to prior experience or study
  • a bibliography of sources already consulted or identified as of relevance to your proposal.

As you’re applying for a Research degree, you may also like to have a look around our Research pages. This may help you to spot academic staff, research areas or projects that interest you.

How to apply

Click apply to download the application form and guidance notes.

All applications should be emailed to the Doctoral School.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Please see the Doctoral School website.

Still need help?

NTU Doctoral School
+44 (0)115 941 8418