PhD Law / Application and selection

Year of entry: 2023

How to apply

Apply online

Please ensure you include all required supporting documents at the time of submission, as incomplete applications may not be considered.

Application Deadlines

Admission to studying for a PhD is highly competitive, so please allow as much time as possible to prepare your application, browse our research pages and academics' profiles, and familiarise yourself with the application process and any important deadlines.

To be considered for external funding sources (for example, ESRC NWSSDTP), you need to apply far enough in advance of the relevant external funding deadlines, which are usually much earlier than the programme deadline listed below. For internal studentships from the School of Social Sciences, you must submit your completed application by 1 December 2022 .

If you are applying for or have secured external funding (for example, from an employer or government) or are self-funding, you must submit your application before the relevant deadline to be considered. You will not be able to apply after these deadlines have passed.

  • For September 2023 entry: 30 June 2023
  • For January 2024 entry: 30 September 2023

Advice to applicants

Required Supporting Documents

• A 1,500 word PhD research proposal and 500 word supporting statement summarising your motivation for PhD study, outlining any research experience you have and why you want to do a postgraduate research degree at Manchester. Please upload the 2000 word document as a single file.  

• Copies of the academic transcript and certificate from both your undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. If your postgraduate degree is pending, please provide an interim transcript;

• An up to date academic CV;

• You must nominate two academic referees (including one from your most recent institution). Your referees will be contacted directly via the Referee Portal following submission of your application form. You may wish to contact your referees to request they submit your reference in a reasonable time as this forms part of the review process;

• If you are not from a majority English speaking country, you must additionally provide English Language evidence (e.g IELTS).

Finding a supervisor

Your supervisor will be an important part of your PhD programme. It's a close relationship over many years, through which you develop your ideas, skills, thinking and research. Your supervisor's research interests should therefore closely align with yours.

If you aren't applying for a specific project, you'll need to find potential supervisors who will support your research. Details on recent publications, ongoing projects and particular research interests are all available on our academics' profiles.

Your potential supervisor should be able to give you advice on developing your research proposal as well as critical feedback to help make your proposal strong and competitive when it comes to applying for funding. If you'd like us to match you to a suitable supervisor, providing clear details of your research area within your application will make it easier for us to identify suitable opportunities for you. Include any details in section six of your application form under 'Proposed programme of study'.

Although guarantees cannot be made, we'll do our best to match your area of research to the most suitable supervisors.

How your application is considered

Once a full application (application form along with all supporting documents) has been received by the School, it will then be passed to academic staff for their consideration.

Several factors will be taken into consideration when the decision to offer a place or not is made.  The academic merit of the applicant will be one.  Other important factors will be whether or not the topic chosen is appropriate to advanced study at PhD level; whether the University's library facilities are adequate to support that study; and whether there are members of staff available with the expertise to supervise the chosen topic.

Interview requirements

As part of the offer making process applicants will be required to undertake an interview assessment. This may be in the form of an in-person interview, telephone or video call.

The interview is designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of the broad topic area, the viability of your proposed research and its intellectual contribution, alongside the fit of your project with the supervisory team.


If you applied in a previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard programme entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen programme.