Law PhD

My supervisors have been everything that any research student could dream of and for this I am very grateful to them. They have made my decision to come to Surrey worthwhile.

Walters Nsoh PhD Law

Why Surrey?

The School of Law provides a stimulating and supportive environment for postgraduate study. Members of our 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 of Law also enjoys excellent links with local, national and international legal communities.

Programme overview

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. You also enjoy access to our excellent Law Library and a dedicated law librarian.

Meet our alumni

Learn more about our completed PhD students.

Programme content

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.

Research topics

The School of Law particularly welcomes doctoral project proposals in the following areas:

Medical law

Dr Sabrina Germain welcomes PhD proposals in medical law, in particular:

  • Resource allocation issues - studies on the distribution of resources to finance and deliver health care services
  • Comparative health care law - comparative studies on European and North American health care systems
  • Public health issues - research pertaining to health issues which lie at the intersection of the state, police powers and individual rights 

Dr Germain is also happy to consider more general research proposals focusing on connections between law and public policy. 

European Union law

Dr Theodore Konstadinides welcomes proposals in European Union law, especially on implementation, procedure and enforcement. These include:

  • Public law - constitutional principles, competence delimitation and judicial review
  • International relations - constitutional framework for action in foreign affairs, external security, common defence and security policy, EU relations with other international organisations and bodies
  • Judicial cooperation in criminal matters and transnational crime - mutual assistance in the field of  serious crime and individual sanctions
  • Human rights and fundamental freedoms - due process, data protection and freedom of information
  • Economic law - competition law, European Monetary Union, legal responses to the financial crisis, internal market 

Public international law

Dr Arman Sarvarian welcomes proposals in public international law, in particular: 

  • Procedural law of international courts and tribunals - fact-finding and evidence in international courts and tribunals, rules of procedure, site visits, documentary evidence, testimonial evidence, real evidence, burden and standard of proof, admissibility
  • Law on the use of force - interference in the internal or external affairs of a state, invitation to intervene in an internal armed conflict (civil war), invitation to engage in collective self-defence against an armed attack by an armed group not under the control of the government of another State
  • The remedy of reparation in international law - restitution, compensation (just satisfaction), apology (satisfaction), intertemporal law, standing, criminal law 

Public law

Dr Jane Marriott welcomes applications from intending doctoral students in domestic and/or comparative public law. Projects of special interest include: 

  • Comparative approaches involving all, some or any of the UK, USA, Australia, Canada
  • Electoral law
  • Rights and freedoms associated with democratic processes;
  • Petitioning
  • Administrative law


You may be considered for a Faculty postgraduate research studentship to cover fees and an annual stipend.

Related research areas

Related departments/schools

Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: 30-48 months
  • Part-time: 60-96 months

Start date:

September, January


Postgraduate Admissions Enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 686 300

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.

Before you apply

Before applying, please download our research proposal guidance document for information on submitting a suitable research proposal.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

Non-native speakers of English will normally require IELTS 7.0 or above with a minimum of 6.5 in each component (or equivalent).

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time £4,120 £14,000
Part-time £2,060 £7,000

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.

A complete list of all fees for our research programmes

Researcher Development Programme

Our researcher development programme provides a range of workshops and support mechanisms for our postgraduate researchers.

More info

Contact Us

General Enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Code of practice for research degrees

Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees.

The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.

Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).

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