PhD Masterclasses

What is it?

An opportunity to discuss PhD research with colleagues, with expert input from senior academics experienced in PhD research. The discussion is informal and round-table. Topics may be suggested in advance via the Convenor. Although colleagues may not be able to give expert advice on the specific subject matter of your PhD, they may be able to give advice on research generally.

Why have it?

PhD Research can sometimes feel isolating, both physically and intellectually. We are focused on one relatively narrow legal question, a subject that perhaps most others will have little interest in. We have to motivate ourselves and direct the course of our own study. A Masterclass can hopefully ameliorate the sense of isolation and make us feel more part of an academic community. Even hearing that other people are having the same problems as us can diminish those problems in our own heads. We can also hear useful tips from others on how they have solved problems that may be devilling us.

When and where?

Masterclasses are held approximately once every month in IALS. An email will be sent to all IALS PhD students in advance informing them of the date and time. They are generally held during the day.

Who is eligible to attend?

At present, the focus is on IALS PhD students. However, if you are a studying for a PhD in law at another institution and would like to attend, please contact the Convenor. Provided that the numbers are sufficiently small, there will be no difficulty with having students from outside IALS present.

Sample topics for discussion

  • What happens in a Viva?
  • How should I select my external examiners?
  • Should I use Endnote, Zotero or neither?
  • At what point should I stop reading and start writing?
  • How much of my own personal experience and opinion should I include?


The Masterclasses should not be seen as an alternative to the advice and instruction received from your Supervisors, but should rather complement them.

Further Information
PhD Masterclass convenors for 2016-17
Chukwuemeka Golding,
Calvin Jackson,
Sirajo Yakubu,

2016-17 Masterclasses

Set out below is a listing of the sessions scheduled for October 2016 to March 2017 (inclusive). A further listing for the latter half of the academic year 2016/17 will follow, once the Programme for April to July 2017 has been finalised. All Masterclass sessions will take place at 2pm in IALS Room L104 (unless otherwise stated). Sessions will last one hour with time for discussion with fellow attendees and on occasion the presenter (or a bit longer, depending on participants’ wishes).

Thursday 27 October 2016, 2.00-3.00pm  
IALS Room L104 
Sirajo Yakubu, Chukwuemeka Golding, Calvin Jackson (current IALS research students); Alan Brener (QMUL research student), Dr Ahmet Mustafa Osam, who recently completed his PhD at IALS  
Subject is: ‘Top Tips’ Session – A panel discussion. The panel will discuss with current and continuing research students some suggested ‘Top Tips’ for carrying out research studies. The Panel will also be joined by Paolo Biondi, Deputy Editor of IALS Student Law Review, who will additionally talk about the Review.
Thursday 24 November 2016, 1.00-2.00pm [Please note 1pm start time] 
IALS Room L104 
Professor Diamond Ashiagbor 
Subject is: ‘Your PhD programme and careers in legal academia’ The newly-appointed Head of Research at IALS will discuss with new and continuing research students their experience of the PhD programme, aspirations and suggestions for changes to the programme; plus guidance on career development and careers in legal academia.
Thursday 26 January 2017, 2.00-3.00pm  
IALS Room L104 
A panel of IALS research students 
Subject is: 'Pastoral Session' A panel of current IALS research students, supplemented by one or more who have recently completed their research studies will discuss any issues/problems that fellow students may wish to raise in connection with their own studies; such as accommodation or immigration status, how best to work with supervisors, promoting the highest levels of work motivation, plus commitment and completion skills. .
Thursday 23 February 2017, 2.00-3.00pm  
IALS Room L104  To be confirmed 
Dr Mazhar Ilahi (Associate Research Fellow at IALS)  
Subject is: ‘How to Construct a PhD Thesis’.
Thursday 30 March 2017, 2.00-3.00pm 
IALS Room L104 
Professor Helen Xanthaki (University College London)  
Subject is: ‘Legislative Research for a PhD’.
Presentation slides: ‘Legislative Research for a PhD’ (PDF)
Thursday 4 May 2017, 2.00-3.00pm 
IALS Room L104 
Professor Diamond Ashiagbor (Head of Research at IALS), Dr Bahar Hatami (GSM London) and Sirajo Yakubu
Subject is: ‘Viva sessions’.
Thursday 25 May 2017, 2.00-3.00pm 
IALS Room L104 
Dr. Ahmet Mustafa Osam 
Subject is: ‘Jurisprudential Methodologies’.
Monday 26 June 2017, 2.00-3.00pm 
IALS Room L104 
Professor Susan Edwards (Buckingham University)
Subject is: ‘Editing and publishing while completing a PhD’.
Thursday 13 July 2017, 2.00-3.00pm CANCELLED
IALS Room L104 
Panel of Alan Brener, Calvin Jackson and two others TBC
Subject is: 'What Next Career-wise? - Legal Practice, General Counsel, Academia and NGOs'.
This seminar has been CANCELLED and will be rescheduled in the next academic year.


NOTE: Please make a diary note that the PhD Masterclass sessions to be held in the second half of the 2016/17 academic year will be on Thursdays 27 April, 25 May, 29 June and 13 July 2017.

2013-2014 Masterclasses
2014-2015 Masterclasses
2015-2016 Masterclasses

Page last updated: 3rd July 2017