Period of Study
The minimum period of study for the degree of MPhil is two academic years of full-time study, or the equivalent in part-time study; and the minimum period of study for the PhD is three academic years of full-time study, or the equivalent in part-time study; the normal period of full-time study for a PhD is four years.
Students undertake a piece of supervised research independently. The research programme is usually designed to extend over three years full-time or six years part-time. Assessment is by means of a thesis of no more than 100,000 words. The thesis must demonstrate a student’s capacity to pursue original research based upon a good understanding of the research techniques and concepts appropriate to the discipline, and must represent a distinct and significant contribution to the subject, whether through the discovery of new knowledge, the connection of previously unrelated facts, the development of new theory, or the revision of older views. It should show the exercise of critical judgement with regard to both the candidate’s own work and that of other scholars in the field.
Students applying for a PhD at IALS are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after the successful completion of one year and with the approval of IALS.
Students also undertake a piece of supervised research independently. The research programme is usually designed to extend over two years full-time or three years part-time. Assessment is by means of a thesis of no more than 60,000 words. The thesis should represent a contribution to the subject, either through a record of the student’s original work or a critical and ordered exposition of existing knowledge.
Research methods training
All research students are expected to attend the research methodology programme in their first year of registration.
As a research student at IALS, you will be supported to develop the research skills necessary to undertake and successfully complete your doctorate in a number of ways:
- IALS offers a popular Introduction to Legal Research Methods course to assist MPhil and PhD students in law registered at universities across the UK. This course, directed by Professor Lisa Webley, provides the chance to explore a range of research methodologies that may be relevant to MPhil/PhD research in law and legally related fields. This course is compulsory for IALS PhD students
- IALS also offers a highly successful ‘How to get a PhD in Law’ programme of National Research Training Days to assist MPhil and PhD students in law registered at universities across the UK. IALS PhD students are strongly advised and encourage to attend
- In addition, a series of ‘Socio-legal research training days’ is organised collaboratively by IALS, the Socio-Legal Studies Association and the British Library.
Research training and career development
The School of Advanced Study offers extensive discipline-specific, generic and online research training programme, as well as support for career and personal development, wider preparation for careers in academia and elsewhere.
SAS is also part of the Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network (BSPN), a shared skills training programme. The Network enables research students in participating institutions, including UCL, Birkbeck, and SOAS, to enhance their generic research and personal transferable skills and to meet students from different institutions.