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Durham Law School

PhD/MPhil/MJur

Durham Law School is ranked as one of the top five in the UK, and is a wonderful place to undertake your postgraduate research. We currently have over 90 excellent research students - from around the UK, mainland Europe and all corners of the globe - carrying out work under the supervision of our academic staff, many of whom are global leaders in their field.

Our academics are amongst the most successful researchers in the UK. Our research excellence is evidenced by the fact that Durham was ranked 3rd in the UK in the 2014 government Research Excellence Framework (REF) - which consolidated our reputation as a world-class centre of excellence. In addition to possessing expertise in their subject fields, our staff receive ongoing training in research supervision, so as well as being expert researchers, they are also professional educators. The quality of our doctoral student provision has been recognised through the award of a number of external studentships,

Find out more about potential areas of research supervision or browse our staff profiles for details of our research interests and recent publications.

Our research students are accommodated in the Law School’s dedicated postgraduate research suite, with beautiful views of Durham Cathedral. This comprises an extensive work area (60 work spaces), state-of-the-art IT facilities and two project rooms. The Law School is located in Durham University’s flagship Palatine Centre, part of a £48.4m sustainable building development and winner of the 2013 Local Authority Building Control Building Excellence Northern Award for best education building.

Our research students benefit from access to the University library, which has recently seen major investment of £11.5M, resulting in a more than 40% increase in floor area. Located right next to the Law School, the library offers access to 1.6m printed items, 17,500 e-journals, 290,000 e-books, 308 on-line databases, 1,300 technology-enhanced individual study spaces, guides, training and one-to-one support. A research librarian works alongside our own subject specialist library representative. The library also manages the Durham Research Online and e-Theses repositories (both of which manifest the University’s commitment to Open Access publication), and a number of special collections.

All research students become a member of at least one Research Group and, in some cases, have opportunities to become deputy convenors (as in the Human Rights CentreDurham European Law Institute and Law and Global Justice group). Research students participate fully in the research events of the Groups, including those specifically focused on them, including postgraduate research conferences. To facilitate our students’ engagement with external activities and conferences, the School provides a competitive grant scheme, which in the past year provided £16k to support research students in attending research events in the UK, France, the US, Switzerland, Ireland, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Turkey and Nigeria.
Find out more about student life in Durham and browse our news and events stories.

Depending upon the length of study that you propose to undertake, you can choose from applying to read for an MJur, MPhil or PhD. All these programmes start on 1 October. Learn more about the types of research degree we offer.

In addition to the formal supervision process, our research students have opportunities for intellectual stimulation and development through the Law School’s and University Graduate School’s training programmes (including on research methods, qualitative and quantitative databases, and time management). These help you manage your research, and plan for your future career. They also provide an excellent opportunity to meet students from across the many subject disciplines studied at Durham.

If English is not your first language, then both before and during your time at Durham there is excellent language support available, provided by Durham University English Language Centre.

The City of Durham is one of the most beautiful in the UK, and includes the World Heritage site of Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle, which houses one of our Colleges. A recent survey found that, out of 91 UK Universities, students at Durham University have the best quality of life.

If you want to meet us in person, staff members are always happy to meet prospective research students to discuss their plans. Alternatively, please come to one of the Recruitment Fairs in Durham or around the UK, or if you are a prospective international student look out for a visit from a Durham member of staff to your country. Prospective international students should also take a look at the pages of the Durham International Students Association to gain an impression of the great time you can have studying here.