PhD Law / Programme details

Year of entry: 2024

Programme description

Research is central to the work of the Law department. 

Our diverse, intellectual community brings together legal and socio-legal scholars, criminologists, ethicists, economists and sociologists who undertake doctrinal and empirical research, resulting in the production of a wide range of scholarly and policy-oriented publications. 

Our research  shapes law, policy and social change through active engagement with policy-makers, legislators, NGOs and activists working in a broad range of disciplines and sectors. We invite you to explore our  research themes , through which we encourage collaboration and debate within the department and beyond.  

Our research degrees involve sustained, in-depth study into a specific topic, which is then written up as a thesis for examination.

Special features

Our core research is supported by research centres , providing direction and guidance for staff and PGRs with common interests.  

By joining the School of Social Sciences you will receive specialist training on research methods in law and social sciences. 

Having specialised research centres allows us to ensure our research is focused and makes a real impact, both within the University and the wider community. 

Additional programme information

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities.

We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

All appointments are made on merit.

The University of Manchester and our external partners are fully committed to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Teaching and learning

Undertaking a PhD is challenging, but you will receive expert supervision during your time with us. This supervision includes regular meetings with your supervisors and an annual review session for you to present details of your progress to other academic staff.  

Supervisors will normally be within the department, but collaborating with scholars from other areas of the University is also possible. Our dedicated researcher development team provides individual tailored training to support the progression of your research skills, as well as guidance for your career in academia or further afield. To test your ideas and disseminate your scholarship, we’ll actively support and encourage you to engage with the wider academic community to present your work to and receive feedback from scholars outside of Manchester.

Coursework and assessment

For a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), you must successfully complete a period of supervised research and training, the results of which show convincing evidence of your capacity to pursue research and scholarship, and to make an original contribution and substantial addition to knowledge.   

Research training in legal methods: full-time PGRs are expected to attend at least 50% of the research training seminars over the course of the first year.

Part-time PGRs are required to attend a 25% minimum of seminars in their first year and another 25% in their second year. Second and third-year PGRs may return to take seminars they missed the previous year on an optional basis.  

You must prepare a substantial thesis of up to 80,000 words, and also satisfy the examiners in an oral examination on the subject of the thesis. The subject is chosen by you, but must be approved by the School's Research Committee.   

You may commence your studies in September or January (with September being the main admissions date).

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: