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The University’s School of Law aims to become one of the UK’s top 10 law schools, and there are firm strategic plans in place to support this growth and ambition. We aim to expand our academic programme and our strong commitment to scholarship by continuing to hire exceptional research staff and to attract excellent research students by providing a stimulating and supportive environment for postgraduate study. Members of the School of Law academic staff have international reputations for research and are experienced legal practitioners, providing consultancy to law firms, governments, non-governmental organisations and businesses around the world. The School also enjoys excellent links with local, national and international legal communities.

As a School of Law doctoral student, you will be part of a thriving community of researchers engaged in a wide range of projects, usually joining a subject or research group as well as participating alongside academic staff in the activities of the School of Law.

Through a variety of approaches, from doctrinal to socio-legal, contemporary to historical, single jurisdiction to comparative, we will help you challenge ideas, hone your skills and develop the hallmarks of a leading researcher.

We will also provide you with office space, PCs, access to major electronic databases and a wide range of online research tools and resources.

Entry requirements

Our expectation is that you hold at least a 2.1 Bachelors degree along with a Masters degree at a minimum of a merit level in Law, or other relevant discipline, from an approved university.

If you are unable to offer these qualifications, you may still be considered for admission if you hold a first-class Bachelors degree in Law, or other relevant discipline, from an approved university, or a professional or other qualification deemed to be appropriate and equivalent.

Course modules

Our programme is a traditional UK-style PhD. You will undertake a structured, supervised programme of research into one of the areas of law in which we have expertise.

In your first year, you will take up to three modules of core research methods training, alongside advanced research training modules that further support your particular research. These include a range of modules focused on developing the practical skills required for subsequent careers.

Research training is selected from the University’s excellent offerings, and is supplemented by law-specific seminars. Our PhD researchers also organise and run their own annual research conference and attend research group seminars.

At the end of your time as a PhD researcher at Surrey you will be expected to submit an extended thesis for examination. This thesis will demonstrate your ability to pursue scholarly research which makes an original contribution to knowledge. You will also be expected to answer questions on your thesis and your research in a viva voce examination.

The School of Law currently has three research centres and two research groups: The Surrey Centre for Law and Philosophy, the Sir James Fitzjames Stephen Centre for Criminal Law and Criminalisation, the Centre for Chinese Law and Socio-Legal Studies, the Environmental Regulatory Research Group and the Surrey International and European Law Research Group. The School particularly welcomes doctoral project proposals in the following areas:

  • Environmental Law
  • Corporate and Commericial Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Health Sciences and Law
  • Chinese Comparative Law
  • International Economic Law
  • Human Rights Law
  • Public International Law
  • European Union Law
  • Tax Law
  • Legal Philosophy and Legal Theory


Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/18 only. All fees are subject to annual review.

Overseas students applying for 2017 entry should please note that annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Fee locale Course duration
PhD Full-time £ 4,195 (Academic year) Home/EU 30 48 Months
PhD Full-time £ 16,000 (Academic year) International 30 48 Months
PhD Part-time £ 2,100 (Academic year) Home/EU 60 96 Months
PhD Part-time £ 8,000 (Academic year) International 60 96 Months

Get in touch today and increase your future employability