Key Information


MPhil: 1.5-3 years PhD: 2-4 years


MPhil: 2-4 years part-time. PhD: 3-8 years

Entry Requirements

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Brayford Pool

Start Dates in October and February

Programme Overview

MPhil/PhD students in Law are welcomed into a cross-disciplinary and collaborative academic environment in which they can conduct independent research on an area of law and legal studies to produce an extended thesis under the guidance of their supervising team.

As a research student, you will have access to structured training, research forums, and networks, enabling you to develop research skills which may benefit not only your specific research, but also be useful for future employment. As part of this development, you will also be encouraged to present your research at conferences and symposia and may have the opportunity to deliver undergraduate teaching at the University.

Key Features

Conduct independent, original, and academically significant research

Benefit from training courses to develop key research skills

Supervision and support from an advisory panel of academic staff

Present at talks and seminars to showcase your work

Enrol in February or October each year

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How You Study

Students registered for the MPhil/PhD Law programme are formally enrolled for the MPhil degree in their first year, and then transfer to a PhD degree at the start of their second year. The MPhil/PhD Law programme can be completed within 27 months on a full-time, and 41 months on a part-time basis. Some students may also want to enrol only or specifically in our MPhil in Law degree programme, which can be completed within 18 months on a full-time and within 27 months on a part-time basis.
As a research student, you will be assigned a Director of Studies and a second supervisor, who are there to provide advice and guidance on your independent study. You will be expected to meet with your supervisors on a monthly basis, and if part-time, then bi-monthly.
Due to the nature of postgraduate research programmes, the majority of time is spent undertaking independent study and research. You will also be expected to become actively involved in the research activities of Lincoln Law School, to network, and to also broaden your knowledge and skills beyond the topic and work of your specific research project.

Research Groups and Topics

Research Areas 

Alongside our range of research groups, we also have an array of individual expertise within the School, including: 

  • International law
  • Environmental law
  • Criminal justice
  • Medical- and health law
  • Human rights and civil liberties
  • European law (including social law and policy)
  • Commercial law
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Public law and public international law
  • Administrative Law

How you are assessed

Students are required to demonstrate adequate and appropriate progress on an annual basis. A PhD is usually awarded based on the quality of your thesis and ability to present and successfully defend your chosen research topic in an oral examination (viva voce). Students are also expected to demonstrate how their research findings have contributed to knowledge or developed existing theory or practice.

Research Proposals

You will need to produce a research proposal as part of your application for this programme. This is a project outline identifying what you want to study, why you want to investigate this area, and how you intend to conduct the research. You are not expected to be the expert, but you will need to demonstrate a sound knowledge of the subject and where your research will make a valuable contribution to the topic. When writing your research proposal, please take note of the following guidance:

Writing a Research Proposal

A research proposal will only be considered if there are academics with an interest in your field who can act as PhD supervisors. Please study the staff profiles closely to make sure there is at least one member of staff whose interests intersect broadly with your own.

The research proposal should be 2,000–2,500 words in length.

Clearly define the topic you are interested in, and demonstrate understanding of the relevant research area. Include the relevant sections as part of your research proposal:

  • Title
  • Abstract (maximum 350 words) of your research proposal.
  • Background/literature review/theoretical foundation – this part will demonstrate your knowledge of your subject. It will provide an overview of the existing literature and/or theory and current state of knowledge, as well as recent debates, controversies, and/or new developments in your subject area. It will also identify gaps or problematic aspects in the subject area.
  • Research question(s) – include the primary (and secondary) question(s) that your research will attempt to answer.
  • Rational and objectives – explain why this research project is important for the particular field of study. Also provide a clear statement of the objectives or aims of the research, in other words, what you intend to achieve and the contribution that your research will make. What gaps will it fill? How will it further knowledge of the area?
  • Research methodology – outline the methodology that you will use in your research.
  • Chapter outline and timeline.
  • Bibliography – include a provisional bibliography of primary and secondary sources.

Make sure the proposal is well presented with sections and subheadings and is free of errors.

How to Apply

Postgraduate Research Application Support

Find out more about the application process for research degrees and what you'll need to complete on our How to Apply page, which also features contact details for dedicated support with your application.

How to Apply
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Entry Requirements 2024-25

Entry Requirements

First or upper second class honours degree or a Master's degree with a significant law element. Direct entry onto the PhD may be available with an appropriate Master's degree or MPhil. Please note, applicants may be asked to attend an interview.

Programme Fees

You will need to have funding in place for your studies before you arrive at the University. Our fees vary depending on the course, mode of study, and whether you are a UK or international student. You can view the breakdown of fees for this programme below. Research students may be required to pay additional fees in addition to cover the cost of specialist resources, equipment and access to any specialist collections that may be required to support their research project. These will be informed by your research proposal and will be calculated on an individual basis.

Programme Fees

Funding Your Research

Loans and Studentships

Find out more about the optional available to support your postgraduate research, from Master's and Doctoral Loans, to research studentship opportunities. You can also find out more about how to pay your fees and access support from our helpful advisors.

Explore Funding Options
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Career Development

A doctoral qualification can be the capstone of academic achievement and often marks the beginning of a career in academia or research. A research programme provides the opportunity to become a true expert in your chosen field, while developing a range of valuable transferable skills than can support your career progression. A research-based degree is also the most direct pathway to an academic career. PhDs and research degrees are a great chance to expand your network and meet diverse people with similar interests, knowledge, and passion. Both the MPhil and the PhD in Law degree programmes are suitable for students who want to pursue an academic career, but it also gives access to a broad range of other career opportunities, including legal practice.

The University’s Doctoral School provides a focal point for Lincoln’s community of researchers, where ideas and experiences can be developed and shared across disciplines. It also offers support and training to help equip you for both academic and non-academic careers.

Doctoral School

Academic Contact

For more information about this course, please contact:

Dr Maria Xiouri

Research at Lincoln

Through our research, we are striving to change society for the better. Working with regional, national, and international partners, our academics are engaged in groundbreaking studies that are challenging the status quo. We also understand the importance of providing the best possible environment for pursuing research that can support our communities and make a tangible difference to the world around us.

Explore Our Research
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The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.