Law (MPhil / PhD)

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018 or January 2019

Status

Fully Approved
Applications for this course will open in October

Duration

Up to four years full-time or seven years part-time

Attendance

Regular meetings with your supervisor(s)

Other entry years for this course

2017

An MPhil/PhD is an advanced postgraduate research degree that requires original research and the submission of a substantial dissertation of 60,000 to 100,000 words. At Birkbeck, you are initially registered on an MPhil and you upgrade to a PhD after satisfactory progress in the first year or two. You need to find a suitable academic supervisor at Birkbeck, who can offer the requisite expertise to guide and support you through your research. Find out more about undertaking a research degree at Birkbeck.

MPhil/PhD Law students benefit from the supervision of internationally renowned experts and secondary supervisors, classes in legal theory and research and presentation skills, seminars and extensive library facilities. We offer financial assistance for conference attendance where appropriate, a comprehensive programme of independent monitoring of each student's yearly progress, and postgraduate student representation on the school board. In addition, our present body of researchers constitutes a vibrant community that organises, with the support of the school, a series of workshops, reading groups and a work-in-progress group, as well as frequent social events.

We encourage applications for research in the areas listed below, but it is important to stress that we can only offer supervision in areas where members of the school are actively working.

Areas of research interest include: legal theory; public law; language and law; law and literature; law and film; law and development; gender, sexuality and law; socio-legal studies; environmental law; company law; legal history; medical law and ethics; criminology; European law; intellectual property; insurance law; media law; law and bioethics; constitutional theory and national identity; human rights; criminal justice; feminist legal theory; post-colonial theory; legal aesthetics; law and political economy; race and law; child law; access to justice; international economic law; international refugee law; law and multinational corporations.

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Highlights

  • Research students in the School of Law are an important part of our research culture. We have succeeded in recruiting very high-quality research students and the number of UK and overseas PhD students has increased fivefold since 2001. This reflects the School's growing reputation as a training ground for early-career academics working from critical and socio-legal perspectives.
  • Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • We are among the top 10 law schools in the UK and in the top three in London in the Times Higher Education 2014 REF rankings, while our research environment was judged conducive to producing research of the highest quality.
  • The PhD programme is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the UK's leading research council addressing economic and social concerns. The PhD is tailored to students' needs and can include generic modules from our postgraduate Master's programmes such as Research Frameworks and Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods.
  • In-house seminars, the Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Interdisciplinary Research Training Network provide additional training. Students have received awards from the AHRC, British Academy, Overseas Research Students Awards, ESRC, Natural Environment Research Council and internal Birkbeck and Law School Studentships.
  • Reading groups are encouraged, focusing on particular writers such as Agamben, Foucault and Deleuze as well as issues such as critical international law, feminist theory, Latin American culture and politics and Continental philosophy. There is an informal doctoral 'work-in-progress group' open to staff and research students, allowing the latter to develop their presentation skills and invite general comment on projects. There are a number of other events designed to support research students. Additionally, an annual postgraduate conference is held to showcase current doctoral research. The upgrade viva examination, whereby students progress from MPhil to PhD registration, gives students experience of a more formal arena in which they have to defend their work to academic staff.
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