The PhD is a higher degree in law, involving a minimum period of study of three years for full-time students and six years for part-time students. Entry is to the degree of Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) in the first instance, and candidates should upgrade to the PhD programme within 21 months from registration. The degree is awarded on the presentation of a thesis on a specialist legal topic of not more than 80,000 words. The candidate must also pass a viva voce examination.
Although the approach adopted may vary, the work must represent a contribution to knowledge, showing evidence of originality and independent critical power. The candidate must also satisfy the examiners that he or she is well-acquainted with the general field of knowledge to which the subject related. Dissertations must therefore make a significant original contribution to the particular field of learning within which the subject falls.
Applicants for the degree of PhD must submit a synopsis of their proposed research of around 1000 words in length. This should include the title of a broad general area in which you wish to undertake research, and a detailed outline of a specific topic within that field. It should indicate the ways in which you consider that extended scholarly research and analysis in the field will make a significant and original contribution to knowledge. You should also give some indication of the materials you expect to use, where you expect to find them and the methods of analysis you propose to use. The School is able to offer supervision over a wide range of subject areas and research methods.
Comprehensive support and research training opportunities are available to candidates. Within the School, candidates will become part of the 'primary unit' system which aims to provide support for research students. Research students are also invited to participate in the School of Law's staff seminar programme. The Faculty of Social Science and Law is part of the South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC). The Centre, recognised by the ESRC, provides world-class training opportunities for our research students. This includes specialist units in socio-legal studies.
There are a range of funding opportunities open to successful applications. Information on these opportunities can be found on the Bristol School of Law home page. Research students may be able to undertake some part-time teaching within the School of Law.
There is a thriving postgraduate research community in the Law School. Details about the research currently being carried out by postgraduate researchers in the School can be found here.
For further information please contact Stephanie Dimberline, Postgraduate Senior Admissions Administrator