Our PhD Law offers supervision in 2 of our research clusters: human rights and law and technology. Our research engages with debates about the meaning of justice in the UK and beyond. Our staff have worked and continue to with the United Nations, governments, human rights organisations and corporations across the globe. We have an excellent record of winning major research grants from funding bodies including the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Nuffield Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust.
Our former students have gone on to work in legal practice, commerce and industry, the non-governmental organisation sector and academia, including the academic community in our School of Law at Essex.
We also offer an MPhil in this subject.
Please note, part-time research study is also available.
We belong to the CHASE consortium (Consortium for the Humanities and Arts South-East England) which provides doctoral scholarships for UK and international students related to a number of different areas of study, including law. Further details can be found here.
We are also a member of the SeNNS consortium (South-East Network for Social Sciences) that provides doctoral scholarships for UK and international students related to a number of different areas of study, including socio-legal research projects. Further details can be found here.
In addition to these, a range of other alternative funding sources can be found on our Scholarship Finder.
Within our School of Law, you will be allocated a supervisor whose role is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.
The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your research student experience and you will have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on your research. Initially, your supervisor will help you develop your research topic and plan.
Twice a year, you will have a supervisory board meeting, which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.
Within our School of Law, our student Law Society run a number of activities throughout the year that you may wish to be involved in.
The Human Rights Clinic of our Human Rights Centre offers you an opportunity to become involved in human rights work. In particular, our Litigation Unit allows you to improve your litigation skills while taking part in the design of litigation strategies in a variety of cases, their litigation and the presentation of amicus curiae briefs before national and international courts. You also have an opportunity to participate in the work of our Essex Business and Human Rights Project through advocacy and consultancy work, including the preparation of policy documents and contributions to amicus curiae briefs. This is particularly recommended if you are taking our pathway in economic relations and human rights.
Our Essex Transitional Justice Network also provides you with an opportunity to take an active part in any of the interdisciplinary projects carried out by academic staff in this area, some of which are predominantly of a legal nature, such as the litigation of cases or the writing of amicus curiae briefs.
EXCCEL is a virtual centre of excellence in European legal research, focusing on knowledge exchange for policymakers engaged in European and comparative law.
Our School of Law graduates have gone on to a wide variety of careers in international and intergovernmental organisations or employment with governments across the world, in commerce and banking, in non-governmental organisations and, as might be expected, in the legal profession and the judiciary.
Our large community of graduates regularly inform our current postgraduates of opportunities in their organisations and businesses.
You will need a Masters degree in law and a first or 2:1 LLB honours degree, or equivalent. A well-developed research proposal is also essential.
You will normally be required to attend an interview/Skype interview for acceptance, and acceptance is subject to research expertise in the department.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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The structure of PhD programmes in the Law School provides you with the opportunity to investigate a chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have the rare opportunity of generating knowledge in a particular field.
To facilitate this, a clear structure throughout the course of a PhD with regular supervision and milestones enables you to develop your work in a well-supported environment. PhD programmes do not include formal compulsory taught modules, but specific training to support you in your own area of research is made available. As such all students will undertake training needs analysis to assist in identifying the training that would be most useful. For example, you may need specific support in developing their methodological skills, interviewing skills, presentation skills and the necessary training can be made available.
With this structure in place, a research degree in the Law School at Essex will allow you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many different types of careers.
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
Within our School of Law, your PhD thesis must normally be submitted for examination within four years of first registration. The maximum length for a PhD thesis by research is 80,000 words, excluding appendices and the maximum length of an MPhil thesis is 50,000 words.
£16,230EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
We hold open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.
We aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.
The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.
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