Our PhD in Law aims to train the next generation of legal thinkers, law reformers, policy advisors, political activists, and academics. Our emphasis in the School of Law on combining theory and practice makes us unique in the UK, and a world-class centre for deep and creative legal research.
Surrey’s specialisms in law offers you the opportunity to explore a diverse range of areas. We have particular research strengths in legal philosophy and legal theory, neuroscience and law, criminal law, Chinese law, international economic law, Roman legal history, environmental law, health sciences and law, artificial intelligence and law, human rights law, and public international law. Our unique concentration of expertise in legal philosophy and legal theory is largely unparalleled worldwide.
Our academic staff are internationally recognised for their research and are experienced legal practitioners, providing consultancy to law firms, governments, non-governmental organisations and businesses around the world. As a School of Law doctoral student, you’ll be part of this thriving community of researchers engaged in a wide range of projects, and – depending on your area of study – will be able to join a subject or research group as well as participating alongside academic staff in the activities of the School of Law.
The School also enjoys excellent links with local, national and international legal communities. You’ll benefit from stimulating roundtables seminars, workshops and lectures delivered by distinguished academics, eminent judges and law practitioners.
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. You will work on a structured, supervised programme of research in one of the areas of law in which we have expertise.
You’ll be able to develop your teaching skills, as well as the ability to think theoretically and provide innovative practical solutions to legal problems. We encourage our postgraduate research students to present work and discuss ideas in both formal and informal settings. We can also support you intellectually and financially to present and exchange ideas and discuss your research in an international setting.
In your first year, you’ll 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’ll 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.
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There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. Find out more.
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).