Law PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Why choose this course?

Whether you are planning a career as an academic within the education sector, or as a professional researcher within the public or private sectors, the Kingston University's Law PhD will develop your research skills, help you make an original contribution to your chosen field of enquiry and enhance your professional credibility.

The Department of Law's expert academic team includes National Teaching Award winners and Fellows from the Higher Education Academy, as well as lecturing staff who combine teaching with legal practice.

You will research a topic of your choice in great depth. We particularly invite applications in the areas of:

  • Gas and Energy Law
  • Misuse of private information and breach of confidence
  • AI embedded in transportation, communication and toys
  • Indigenous and Tribal Peoples' rights
  • IP Law, particularly on trademarks or patents of biotechnological inventions
  • Stress at work in tort
  • Collective Labour Law
  • Restorative justice
  • Space Law and Cyber Law
  • The gig economy
  • Natural Law Theory
  • EU Law

Please view the Department of Law's staff profiles to see if our staff specialisms are a good match with the topic you would like to study.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 3 years You are required to attend supervision meetings, Graduate Research School training sessions, training sessions run by the Department of Law, and other research events or training beneficial to your research skills and personal development. March 2021
October 2021
Part time 6 years You are required to attend supervision meetings, Graduate Research School training sessions, training sessions run by the Department of Law, and other research events or training beneficial to your research skills and personal development. March 2021
October 2021
Location Penrhyn Road

2021/22 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2021/22 (i.e. between August 2021 and July 2022), please view the information about changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19.

 

Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2021/22 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2021/22. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • At Kingston University you will have access to an expert academic supervisory team, as well as training and teaching opportunities to help you develop your ideas and achieve your goals.
  • You will have the support of the academic and postgraduate community; the high calibre of Kingston University's students and alumni provide excellent networking opportunities.
  • Your PhD supervision will be highly specialised to your needs and interests. In addition the course is delivered in a flexible format, so you can choose a full or part-time programme according to what suits you best.

Accreditation

The Department of Law is a recognised Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) outlet for research training for doctoral students.

This programme is recognised by the ESRC as fulfilling its requirements to provide a broad-based programme of research training for those studying at doctoral level in the UK.

What you will study

The programme is made up of individual supervision and as such can be extremely flexible to accommodate your needs.

As a PhD student within the Department of Law, you will be expected to attend the University's research training sessions and a series of in-house training seminars run by the Department. The latter take the form of research 'masterclasses', where an experienced member of the Department leads a session intended to reflect on different aspects of conducting research in law. You are also invited to attend the Department of Law research seminars arranged for members of the academic staff.

There is also a series of sessions on the Philosophy of Enquiry and a series of sessions on the Conduct of Enquiry. These non-compulsory modules, held with other PhD students and run by various members of the faculty, will help prepare you for your independent studies, and introduce you to the other students and staff in the department.

The Department of Law is small and very friendly, and has a real community feel with other postgraduate students. There will be opportunities to engage with many members of staff beyond your supervisor.

For further information about the Law PhD programme (including the availability of supervision in an area of your interest) please contact Dr Phil Harris.

Teaching experience

You will have the opportunity to teach undergraduates and undertake an ‘academic apprenticeship' to help you pursue a career in academia.

Presenting ongoing research

Once a year, all PhD students are given the opportunity to present to the faculty about their PhD research. This ongoing engagement offers students and staff the chance to share and help each other develop their ideas.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

You should have:

  • a first or second class honours undergraduate degree and a masters degree in Law or a law-related subject; and
  • two personal references from academic referees confirming your suitability for the programme.

You will also need to provide evidence of:

  • relevant educational, professional and personal experience;
  • your ability to meet the high intellectual and personal demands of the programme; and
  • your potential to complete the programme within the designated time.

We welcome applications from international students. If you hold a non-UK degree or legal professional qualification, see our guidance on equivalent qualifications.

If you have any questions about your suitability or applying for this degree please contact the course director.

International

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 7.0 overall with special conditions in all elements. Please make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we'll consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements may be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from one of the recognised Majority English Speaking Countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study

A PhD, unlike a taught degree, consists entirely of independent study, guided by the supervisory team.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

As a guide, for a full-time PhD you should to commit a similar number of hours to a full time job, approximately 35 hours of PhD work a week. For a part-time PhD, this would be halved. We would also expect you to take a similar number of holiday days to full time or part time employment.

How you will be assessed

Your PhD thesis should be around 80,000 words and will be the subject of an oral examination, the 'viva voce'. You will need to show how you have critically investigated your area of research and made an independent and original contribution to knowledge.

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetable

PhD students do not receive a timetable, but you will be asked to agree a schedule of supervisory meetings with your team.

Find a supervisor

Any member of the Department of Law can supervise a PhD. Which members of staff are appropriate will depend on what area of law you would like to study for your doctorate.

Research

Research areas

While there is diverse expertise within the Department of Law and we welcome applications in all areas of legal study, we particularly welcome applications in the following areas:

  • Gas and Energy Law
  • Misuse of private information and breach of confidence
  • AI embedded in transportation, communication and toys
  • Indigenous and Tribal Peoples' rights
  • IP Law, particularly on trademarks or patents of biotechnological inventions
  • Stress at work in tort
  • Collective Labour Law
  • Restorative justice
  • Space Law and Cyber Law
  • The gig economy
  • Natural Law Theory
  • EU Law

Research repository

You can view the full range of research papers published by Kingston University Law academics via the Kingston University Research Repository. You can also search for PhD theses by previous Law students by specifying 'thesis' in the Item Type under Advanced Search.

Fees for this course

Fees for this course

Please view our research degree fees page for further details.

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

After you graduate

Our research graduates are an important part of the research community at Kingston, and remain part of our networks. You can also still access the Careers and Employability Service for up to two years after you graduate, and benefit from Alumni library membership for just £60 per year.

Changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19

Course information (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Composition of the course

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. number of modules or credits in a year, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Unless government advice instructs otherwise, Study Abroad programmes will take place in 2021/22. The safety of all our students is paramount, therefore, as per normal practice, all Study Abroad activities must also be approved by the University's insurers to ensure that students are adequately protected during their period abroad. We will provide updates as the pandemic situation stabilises and/or further government advice is released.

Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback from students and other key stakeholders. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Modules

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules in response to issues arising from the pandemic.

Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles, module summaries and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Length of course

We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.

In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed in 2021/22, e.g. moving those modules which can be delivered more effectively to the first teaching block and moving back those – such as practical modules and placements – which may be more difficult to deliver due to some ongoing restrictions.

In some cases, it may be necessary to delay placement modules which may then impact the length of the course. In these circumstances the University will guide students through the appropriate options available to ensure students are able to make informed choices.

Entry requirements (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a direct result of the pandemic.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a direct result of the pandemic.

Teaching (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to steadily increase the proportion of on-campus teaching. We will continue to provide a proportion of online learning, as experience has shown that this enriches and supports the student learning experience.

If the pandemic affects teaching and learning activities in 2021/22 more than we currently anticipate, the proportion of online learning will increase. However, unless a lockdown is enforced, we will ensure that all courses provide a reasonable percentage of their teaching and learning activities on campus.

Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you should still be able to engage with your course remotely in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, for example on courses with high practical content, your course team will be able to advise you on the options available to you.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.

In the event that a further lockdown is enforced in 2021/22 the University will aim to deliver the course fully online once more. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for Year 1

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled learning and teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours were not and will not be made as a direct result of the pandemic.

‘Scheduled learning and teaching' includes teaching delivered online, either live or recorded/on demand.

Timetable

Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. up to December 2021) should be available by the end of August. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2022) will not be available until the autumn. We make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible.

In 2020/21 it was agreed that scheduled learning and teaching could take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm, to maximise the time available for teaching in order to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing. This meant we sometimes had to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. If we need to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing in 2021/22 we expect to adopt a similar approach. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Assessment (changes for 2021/22 entry)

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. to the overall methods of assessments, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Changes are made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback received from students and other key stakeholders. Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for Year 1 of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

If social distancing or lockdown restrictions are in place in 2021/22, online alternative options to formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be made available to students where possible.

Staff (changes for 2021/22 entry)

No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.

Staff are engaged in Continuous Professional Development activities to develop their teaching expertise, as part of the normal enhancement processes, to ensure that course teams have the required breadth of expertise.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2021/22.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to be able to increase student access to on-campus facilities. Students will therefore have access to University computers and library facilities.

If, due to an increase in social distancing requirements or the enforcing of a lockdown, it becomes necessary to significantly increase the proportion of teaching delivered online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities might be restricted if social distancing requirements are enforced.

The University is committed to supporting students who are unable to access suitable technology to ensure equity of access in a blended delivery mode.

Funding

There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2021/22. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2021/22.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We are anticipating that placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead in 2021/22. However, to ensure students gain maximum value from placement activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year, when any impacts from the pandemic restrictions are minimised.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through the University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered.

In the interests of the health and wellbeing of our students, all placement arrangements must be approved by the University's insurers and the appropriate risk assessments made before students are sent on a placement.

Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Qualification

No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. BSc (Hons), MSc, etc., as a direct result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Accreditation

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and in accordance with any professional body requirements. We do not anticipate making any further changes to courses in response to any issues arising from the pandemic and which would put at risk any professional body accreditation status.

Additional (changes for 2021/22 entry)

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.