Research Degrees (MPhil/PhD) in Law

General

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Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time


The LLM (Master in Laws) allows students to create their own programme structure, choosing courses from a wide range of subjects and perspectives, including comparative regional law, trade law, law and development, commercial law (including banking, copyright and patent law), human rights, environmental law, Islamic law, dispute resolution, and international law.

The LLM programme is a single subject law programme that may be taken over a period of one year (full-time), or part-time over a period of two, three or four years. Every student will be required to take taught modules equivalent to four full units. The dissertation will be worth an additional two full units and complete the LLM programme.

With permission of the LLM tutor, students will be entitled to select one complementary subject or the equivalent from comparable Master’s module at SOAS including appropriate language module. A complementary subject may be chosen in substitution for either a full or a half-subject.

Examinations for all taught modules will be held in May/June of each year and the dissertation will be due for submission during September of the final year of registration. The assessment for each module may vary according to the extent to which the research component of each module is to be stressed.

It is expected that all students will graduate with an LLM in law. It is possible, however, for students wishing to graduate with a ‘specialist’ degree, to do so by way of opting to take three or more modules from the relevant subject groupings below. In each case, the student must undertake a dissertation in that subject grouping.

Structure

First Year

Coursework

During the first year, MPhil/PhD candidates are required to attend the School of Law’s Postgraduate Research Training Seminar, whose purpose is to introduce them to the principal practical and methodological issues associated with postgraduate legal studies. This course introduces MPhil/PhD candidates to both an array of methodologies, as well as different bodies of legal scholarship and theory. MPhil/PhD candidates are also able to avail themselves of general seminars on research methodology offered by the SOAS Doctoral School.

By the beginning of the third term of the first year, MPhil/PhD candidates are required to hand in a draft Research Plan that is an integrated document based on the methodology paper, research paper, draft dissertation abstract, draft table of contents, draft bibliography and working schedule.

Upgrading

All doctoral candidates are first registered as MPhil candidates. The process of upgrading - that is, upgrading registration from MPhil to PhD - takes place at the end of the first year of study (or part-time equivalent) and involves all members of the Supervisory Committee in the assessment of the candidate's work to date. Specifically, the potential of the work to be developed into a PhD thesis of University of London standard. It is based on the Research Plan and a presentation of that plan to the Supervisory Committee. Candidates who are not upgraded in accordance with this process will not be eligible to proceed to submission of a PhD thesis, although they may proceed to submit for an MPhil at the end of two years of full-time registration or part-time equivalent.

Important notice: Doctoral students will be required to complete the Research Integrity Online Programme, as part of their upgrading requirement.

After Year 1

After their first year, doctoral candidates must carefully plan their time so that they can finish their draft thesis well in time before the end of their third year of registration. The process followed by each doctoral candidate is guided by their research project. This may include a period of field research if required by the nature of the project undertaken. Doctoral candidates are encouraged to take part in the Law School's research activities and events, including the PhD Colloquium, activities organised by Research Centres, informal reading groups, and the Law School Research Seminar series.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Research Admissions and Applications

We welcome applications from qualified students holding a good Master’s-level degree (or overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject for research degrees at SOAS. Applications should be submitted online.

It is important to apply well before the start of the academic year in which you wish to enrol to allow us time to process your application. If you are applying for scholarships, earlier deadlines may apply.

The SOAS PhD programme is competitive and applicants should have a track record of high academic achievement and a viable proposal which will contribute to the research interests of the Department. Please note: we discourage purely speculative applications. Applications for interdisciplinary research are welcome, but only one application to one Department may be submitted.

Entry Requirements

Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Law. We welcome applications from students who are close to an upper second class honours degree (High 2:2) and who have other relevant qualifications or work experience.

Unconditional English Language Entry Requirements

Applicants that require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must provide a UKVI IELTS Academic certificate from a UKVI approved test centre.

International applicants requiring a Tier-4 Visa to study in the UK

Test Unconditional entry Unconditional entry with in-sessional support
IELTS (Academic) 7.0 overall or higher, with 7.0 in sub-scores. 7.0 overall or higher, with at least 6.5 in sub-scores

EEA and EU applicants

Test Unconditional entry Unconditional entry with in-sessional support
IELTS (Academic) 7.0 overall or higher, with 7.0 in each sub-score. 7.0 overall or higher, with at least 6.5 in sub-scores.
TOEFL IBT 105 overall or higher, with a minimum of 25 in sub-scores. 105 overall with a minimum of 22 in sub-scores.
OR
100 overall with a minimum of 25 in writing and 22 in other sub-scores.
Pearson Test of English (Academic) 75 overall or higher, with a minimum of 70 in sub-scores. 70 overall or higher, with a minimum of 65 in sub-scores.
Last updated September 2019

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