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(Study in London)
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Part time
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Full time
​(Distance Learning)
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Part time
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Undertaking doctoral research allows you to develop in-depth knowledge, while making a meaningful contribution to your chosen field.

With guidance from our expert supervisors, you'll carry out extensive independent research culminating in a thesis of up to 100,000 words. The areas covered by the Institute’s expertise cover a broad range of law, policy and crime. 

This degree presents the opportunity to gain expertise in your area of interest while also honing a range of transferable skills. On completing this course, you'll be well prepared for specialist career paths both within academia and beyond.

 
Subject Areas and Supervisor

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies offers doctoral research supervision in the following areas:

  • Company Law
  • Comparative Law
  • Criminal Law and Evidence
  • Energy Law
  • European Criminal Law
  • Financial Crime
  • Financial Services and Regulation Law
  • Gender, Sexuality and Law
  • Information Law and Policy
  • Law and Society
  • Legal Education
  • Legislative Studies / Law Reform
  • Public Law and Regulation

Your application and proposal will be reviewed initially by the IALS Director of Postgraduate Research Studies and, if you are offered a place, the Institute will appoint an appropriate supervision team. Details of our expertise can be found here:  Areas of Research | IALS (sas.ac.uk)

You are not required to contact a potential supervisor in advance of application. You are advised to read the guidelines on preparing a research proposal before submitting your application: Entrance Requirements and How to Apply | IALS (sas.ac.uk)

 

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) is a national academic institution serving all universities through its national legal research library.

Its function is to promote, facilitate, and disseminate the results of advanced study and research in the discipline of law for the benefit of persons and institutions in the UK and abroad. Its areas of speciality include arbitration and dispute settlement, company law, comparative law, economic crime, financial services law, legislative studies and law reform, and the legal profession and delivery of legal services.

The School of Advanced Study

The School of Advanced Study at the University of London brings together nine internationally renowned research institutes to form the UK's national centre for the support of researchers and the promotion of research in the humanities.

Course Structure

Full-time study for the PhD degree entails three or a maximum of four years' independent research, culminating in the writing of a thesis of not more than 100,000 words. Part-time students complete the same programme in five, or a maximum of six years.

After submission of the thesis, you will attend an oral examination conducted by an internal examiner, from the University of London, and an external examiner, normally from another British university.

There is no formal coursework, but you will be expected to participate in a weekly seminar on Work in Progress and to present a paper every year from their second year onwards. In your first year you are required to attend a weekly class on Techniques of Scholarship. You are also encouraged to participate in the regular seminars held at the Institute during the academic year.

Distance Learning

The School of Advanced Study will offer students with an appropriate topic and level of local resource the opportunity to undertake a PhD by distance learning. These students are required to attend our London campus at set intervals to complete an intensive research training module, for upgrade, and for the viva but will otherwise study at their own location. This option is available to UK, EU and international students on the same basis as our on-campus PhD programmes (three years full time, six years part time). Fees are the same as for our on-campus PhD programmes. Please note that not all institutes and supervisors offer this option, and that some topics are not appropriate to be studied this way.

If you would like to be considered for our Research Degree programme via Distance Learning, please download and fill out the Research Degrees by Distance Learning form, to attach to your online application.

Opportunities and Facilities

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is a unique institution, which has as its mission the promotion and support of legal research in its widest sense.

At the heart of the Institute is the IALS Library – the national research library for law and one of the largest law research libraries in Europe. Doctoral researchers will therefore benefit from a rich collection of materials on the law of the UK, Commonwealth and European countries, the USA and EU, as well as other national jurisdictions, international and comparative law. The IALS Library also manages several legal archive collections, and is at the forefront of providing digital resources and online legal research tools.

More broadly, the School of Advanced Study itself offers excellent resources for inter-disciplinary research by bringing together nine internationally renowned research institutes that support the promotion of research in the humanities.

The School of Advanced Study is also home to Senate House Library, the central library for the University of London. The art deco building, which the School and Senate House Library are part of, is a literary landmark in the heart of Bloomsbury, located next to the British Museum. The Library occupies the fourth to the nineteenth floors of the building,  with a range of historic library reading rooms and collections. 

Much like the Institute itself, the School offers a broad range of events, seminars and conferences that we encourage our research students to engage with.

Our research students can also take advantage of a varied and challenging research training programme, with general research skills training and research methodologies courses provided through the School and subject-specific training provided within the institutes.

How to Apply

Your application and proposal will be reviewed initially by the IALS Director of Postgraduate Research Studies and, if you are offered a place, the Institute will appoint an appropriate supervision team. Details of our expertise can be found here:  Areas of Research | IALS (sas.ac.uk)

You are not required to contact a potential supervisor in advance of application. You are advised to read the guidelines on preparing a research proposal before submitting your application: Entrance Requirements and How to Apply | IALS (sas.ac.uk)

Note: in accordance with regulations research students will be registered for the MPhil degree in the first instance. Upgrading to PhD will be considered in the second year for full-time students and in the third or fourth year for part-time students.

Fees and Funding

Fees

We offer online guidance and information regarding our tuition fees, payment and fee status.

Funding

Our students fund their studies in a variety of ways including scholarships, bursaries and fellowships, as well as government loans and postgraduate loans.

We offer a range of bursaries and studentships for applicants on our programmes, including Institute and course specific scholarships.

The School is part of the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), through which we are able to offer a number of studentships in humanities disciplines.