The School of Law has over 100 years of achievement in both education and research. We are ranked as a leading centre for legal research in the UK, and our academics are recognised experts at home and abroad.
We offer PhD supervision across the legal field, supporting a range of approaches, from the doctrinal to the sociolegal, comparative, criminological and critical.
Our doctoral students go to exciting careers, including as academics at law schools across the UK. Our base in Belfast gives us direct contact with the legal profession and judiciary, allowing excellent access in terms of the study of law and legal practice.
We are committed to making doctoral students part of the life of the School of Law and the wider university. We have created a bespoke training programme for new PhDs; more advanced students can avail of training opportunities offered by the School and by the University's Graduate School. Our PhDs can apply for paid teaching experience from their second year; there are also opportunities to get involved in editorial work for the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly (one of the UK's oldest law journals), or with LawPod,, a podcasting venture hosted by the School of Law, or the student-led Research Network. Funding is available to support students who want to present their work at conference or expert seminars.
The £20 million investment in a new School of Law building has created excellent facilities for postgraduate researchers, with access to Queen's Graduate School just minutes away.
A student-led Research Network
- Excellent Opportunities to Engage with Professional Audiences
- The Law School has strong links with the High Court and Court of Appeal, and the Northern Ireland Assembly (all based in Belfast). This gives you a unique opportunity to meet law makers and leading judges.
World Class Facilities
- The new £20 million law school features world class facilities.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- We are extremely proud of our international connections and have staff and students from over 70 countries. Our academics have research links across the world.
Research students are encouraged to play a full and active role in relation to the wide range of research activities within the School. You will have access to:
- A student-led Research Network
- The University's Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme
- Office accommodation with computing facilities and support to attend conferences.
- A bespoke School of Law PhD training programme
"Queen's is an ideas factory for budding legal academics like me. I count myself lucky to be in such an inspirational place."
Dr Conor McCormick
PhD alumnus and Lecturer in Law at Queen's
You will join the 80 PhD students in the School who make up a vibrant postgraduate community contributing to the School’s scholarship and research culture. Research supervision is available in a wide range of legal areas including:
Human Rights: this is a longstanding area of strength within the School, with expert colleagues at all levels and a dedicated Human Rights Centre, which PhDs can join. A human rights conference is held annually, hosted by PhDs, who choose the conference theme and manage the event. Our expertise spans both core and emerging areas of human rights, including gender, health, refugees, equality and non-discrimination, intellectual property and rights, the EU and human rights, conflict and human rights, business and human rights, and new technologies and human rights.
Justice: Justice is a further longstanding area of strength within the School, which has close relations with the University's George Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. Our expertise ranges from transitional justice to criminal justice, with additional strengths in areas such as the legal profession, judicial review and international criminal law.
Law and Governance: Our track record on questions of law and governance is impressive and wide-ranging. We have expertise in commercial, contract and business law, in EU law and governance, and in questions of law and ethics, and law and risk.
Importantly, the School is able to host PhDs across an array of research methods. Our experts use a particularly wide range of legal research methods, allowing us to offer supervision to PhDs that are doctrinal, sociolegal, critical, criminological or oral-history based. We are also able to host interdisciplinary PhDs, working with experts from across Queen's.
We are also delighted to be able to welcome applications in the following emerging areas of legal studies:
- The UK's changing relationship with the European Union (EU)
- Business and human rights
- Heritage, property and culture
- Law and new technologies, from the human right to science, to copyright in a digital environment
Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus, bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes, alongside sterling integration with business experts, helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.
For further information on career development opportunities at PhD level please contact the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Career Development Team on firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 28 9097 5175
Development Officers Cathy Wilson and Aileen Carson will be happy to provide further information on your research area career prospects.
People teaching you
School of Law
If you have any enquiries, please contact email@example.com
A research degree offers students an opportunity to foster their capacity for independent research and critical thought. It also allows students to explore an area of interest and so understand and solve theoretical and practical problems within the field.
Undertaking a research degree can enhance a student's written and oral communication skills and a PhD is almost always a formal requirement for an academic post.
A PhD is awarded for original research in a topic chosen by the student. PhD studies may be undertaken on a full (3 years) or part-time (6 years) basis.
Research students are appointed a primary and secondary supervisor who will guide them through their research.
'My doctoral experience so far has been a brilliant one. I have met people from diverse backgrounds who have been kind and friendly, offering a helping hand when needed'
PhD Student Year 2
This independent research is complemented by programmes of training, provided both by the School of Law and by Queen's Graduate School, which is housed in a beautiful converted building just minutes from the entrance to the School of Law building.
Assessment processes for the research degree differ from taught degrees. Students will be expected to present drafts of their work at regular intervals to their supervisors who will provide written and oral feedback.
In addition, a formal assessment process takes place annually. This Annual Progress Review requires students to present their work in writing and orally to a panel of academics from within the School. Successful completion of this process will allow students to register for the next academic year.
The final assessment of the doctoral degree is both oral and written. Students will submit their thesis to an internal and external examining team who will review the written thesis before inviting the student to defend their work orally at a viva voce.
Supervisors will offer feedback on draft work at regular intervals throughout the period of registration on the degree.
Full time PhD students will have access to shared office space and access to a desk with personal computer and internet access.
An Upper Second or First Class Honours degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) in law or another relevant discipline, plus a Master's degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) with an average above 60%.
Applicants with an Upper Second or First Class Honours degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) in law or another relevant discipline who are currently studying a Master’s degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) will also be considered.
Applicants with an Upper Second or First Class Honours degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) in law or another relevant discipline plus evidence of ability to conduct independent and original research will be considered on a case by case basis.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) £4,407 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £4,407 Other (non-UK) EU £4,407 International £16,950
Tuition fees for students from Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and the EU have not been set for 2020-21. The tuition fees for 2019-20 was £4,327. This normally increases by inflation annually and will be set in January 2020. The international fee quoted above is for the academic year 2020-21.
There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may also be other extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies . Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £100 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, and library fines. In undertaking a research project students may incur costs associated with transport and/or materials, and there will also be additional costs for printing and binding the thesis. There may also be individually tailored research project expenses and students should consult directly with the School for further information.
How do I fund my study?PhD Funded Opportunities
Find PhD funding opportunities and studentships by subject area.Doctoral Training Centres at Queen's
Find out more >
Queen's has seven outstanding competitive Doctoral Training Centres, with each one providing funding for a number of PhD positions and more importantly a hub for carrying out world class research in key disciplines.New UK PhD loans
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The UK Government will introduce new doctoral loans of up to £25,000 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes from 2019. Loans will be offered to English-resident students to study all types of doctorate at universities across the UK.International Scholarships
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Information on scholarships for international students, is available at www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships.
How to Apply
Find a supervisor
If you're interested in a particular project, we suggest you contact the relevant academic before you apply, to introduce yourself and ask questions.
To find a potential supervisor aligned with your area of interest, or if you are unsure of who to contact, look through the staff profiles linked here.
You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.
Fees and Funding