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School of Law

Doing a PhD in law a Queen Mary

At Queen Mary, you will join a thriving cohort of PhD students who are members of the School of Law’s vibrant research community and get involved in various initiatives to grow your research and networks.

The London-based programme means that you will be able to take full advantage of the vibrant research scene across University of London institutions – including library access and the chance to attend lectures, conferences, and events at QM and beyond.

Academic support

Your supervisors will be your main source of academic support during the PhD, which is why identifying a supervisor is such an important part of the application process. Supervision meetings typically last around an hour and are an opportunity for you to talk about your research project and academic development with established academics. Most full-time students have around 10 formal supervision sessions per year, before transferring to “writing-up” status. The duration and frequency of such meetings depend on how your supervision relationship develops; there is no ‘one size fits all’ model of supervision.

The School of Law’s PhD programme also offers formal research training. The School runs a series of weekly term-time seminars at which you will be required to present your work. During your first year of study, you will also attend a formal research methods training course run at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

In addition to this Law-specific training, you will have the chance to attend courses and events organised by the University’s Doctoral College.

PhD students in the School of Law also receive a small research allowance, which can be used to pay for travel and accommodation at conferences or other research-related expenses.

Progression and writing-up

The normal period of registration for the PhD in Law is three years full-time (plus a year for “writing up”) and six years part-time (plus a year for “writing up”). 

There is a formal process in place for monitoring your progress and development. The purpose is to make sure you are getting the guidance and support you need. It is also a great opportunity to step back and reflect on your work and to have academics outside your supervisory team read your work.

If you are a full-time student, then your first review will take place about 9 months after you enrol. You will also have a review in your second year and another when you transfer to ‘writing up’, which usually happens towards the end of your third year.


The postgraduate centre in Lincoln's Inn Fields has a dedicated PhD study room with workstations, wireless internet access, projectors, and a common room. You will also have access to a smaller PhD study room in the Law Building, and the postgraduate study spaces and common room in the Graduate Centre, which are based at the Mile End campus.

Queen Mary’s Library at Mile End has a well-stocked Law Library and a European Documentation Centre, offering one of the best commercial law collections in the country. The library also gives you access to the University of London College network, an unrivalled range of electronic law journals and databases covering almost every area of the law.

You will be able to access other London libraries, including the British Library, the Law Library the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) and the University of London’s Senate House Library.  You will also be able to access many other libraries through the SCONUL Access scheme.


You will have the chance to hear renowned academics from Queen Mary at our staff seminars, and from around the world at lectures, workshops and seminars hosted by our research centres. You will also benefit from master classes given by the School of Law’s Global Professors and by other leading academics.

You will be eligible to join the School of Law Online Network (SOLON) and attend events organised by the group such as social gatherings and writing retreats. You can also get involved with the Annual Postgraduate Legal Research Conference, one of the largest in the UK, organised and led by PhD students with support from Queen Mary academics.


Our PhD programme is based in London, and we expect PhD students to be within commuting distance of campus, in order to take full advantage of the programme. There is no distance-learning version of the programme.

Hear from our PhD students:

Esther Jaromitski

Esther discusses her experience doing her PhD with us

Read Esther's experience

Luiza Tavares da Motta

Luiza shares her experience of doing her PhD with us:

Read Luiza'a experience

Have a look at the profiles of other current PhD students to get a sense of the kinds of research they're doing.

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