Postgraduate research opportunities in Law (2023)

  • Overview
  • Details
  • Entry requirements

About this course

Excellent research opportunities await at the School of Law, enabling you to work at the forefront of developments with leading experts.

  • Study full or part-time over two to seven years
  • Choose from a wide range of subject areas (see Details tab for more information)
  • Complete your research degree (MPhil/PhD) in a Faculty known for its internationally-acclaimed research
  • Explore scholarship opportunities
  • Benefit from expert supervision and researcher training
  • Enjoy excellent facilities and great employment connections

The programme route you undertake will depend on your qualifications and experience.

You will be allocated up to four supervisors, including a Lead Supervisor who will work with you throughout your studies and provide you with appropriate levels of support and guidance.

Throughout your studies, you will also have the support of LJMU’s Doctoral Academy which offers expert advice and guidance to those enrolled on MPhil and PhD programmes.

Fees and funding

How to fund your postgraduate research

Securing funding can be one of the main hurdles you face when considering postgraduate research. However, help is available. LJMU has a team of fees and funding experts who can offer advice based on your personal circumstances. You can contact them on 0151 231 3153/3154or via


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

Studying for a postgraduate research degree enhances your employability in a number of ways.

As well as enabling you to focus on your specific areas of interest and expand your subject knowledge ready for employment in your chosen sector, a postgraduate research qualification enables you to take charge of your career path by demonstrating your contribution to an area of knowledge. It enhances your self-confidence and showcases your ability to work independently and ‘go it alone’.

According to a report by theHigher Education Statistics Agency(HESA), more than a quarter of graduates felt that their employment prospects were increased by their PG qualification. And when it comes to earnings, those with a postgrad qualification have been shown to earn an average of 24% more than those who leave education with an undergraduate degree.

Some postgraduate research students are already in full-time employment when they begin their studies, whilst others are recent graduates looking to extend their research capabilities and subject expertise.

A good proportion of our students return to their existing roles with enhanced career prospects, others move on to further study or take up teaching roles in educational establishments.

(Video) PhD in Law

The student experience

Discover life as a postgraduate student at LJMU.

  • Discover life-changing study at LJMU

  • Fees, funding, scholarships
  • Accommodation
  • Living in Liverpool
  • Get involved

News and views

Browse through the latest stories and updates from the University and beyond

  • News 14 March 2023Students' trip of lifetime' to USA
  • News 09 March 2023School of Law backs Support Through Court charity
  • News 23 January 2023Research supports fears of UK voter suppression
  • News 09 January 2023The Conversation: The online ‘hierarchy of credibility’ that fuels influencers like Andrew Tate
(Video) LSE Law - PhD Programme in Law

School of Law

Explore the possibilities

Discover excellent postgraduate research opportunities at LJMU's School of Law and benefit from: the support of research mentors, investment in staff development and opportunities to attend national and international conferences.

The School of Law offers a range of opportunities for you to play an active part in an evolving, dynamic and engaging postgraduate culture. Our academic team comprises research active lecturers, qualified and former practitioners of law and criminal justice services plus internationally established experts.

Through its portfolio of postgraduate opportunities and the enthusiastic support and guidance of a dynamic and dedicated staff group, the School offers a stimulating and rewarding environment for research, where work-related skills development is seen as a priority. In the 2014 REF, research submitted by LJMU’s School of Law was ranked 4th in the UK’s Post-92 universities, withover 97% recognised internationally or considered internationally excellent. This research helps ensure that our postgraduate studies are positioned at the forefront of developments in the field and that you have an opportunity to work alongside leading experts.


An insight into teaching on your course

To complement your research, specific training needs will be identified on an individual basis. You can study topics such as:

  • Advanced Presentation Skills
  • Applying for Ethical Approval
  • How to be an Effective Researcher
  • Poster Presentation/Design
  • Postgraduate Employability Skills
  • Project Management
  • Writing Skills including Creative Planning for Writing your Thesis
  • Surviving the Viva
  • Speed Reading


How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme.

(Video) UCL Faculty of Laws: Career plans for my PhD research

Final examination for both the MPhil and the PhD is by thesis and oral examination.

The MPhil differs from the PhD in terms of the depth of study required and the extent of your personal contribution to knowledge. It requires competence in conducting an independent enquiry as well as in the use of appropriate research methods and techniques. Examiners will expect you to display satisfactory background knowledge of the subject.

To gain a PhD you are expected to show mastery of a special field and to have made an original personal contribution to the understanding of a problem, the advancement of knowledge, or the generation of new ideas. Examiners will expect you to be at the forefront of understanding in your chosen topic.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

We offer postgraduate researchers access to excellent teaching and learning facilities plus plentiful social spaces and, of course, support and guidance from our expert academics.

Entry requirements

You will need:

  • a minimum of a Masters degree with a research dissertation in a relevant subject


  • research training relating to your chosen subject area for a PhD
  • We also welcome applications from those with non-standard qualifications who can demonstrate knowledge, experience, and skills developed in the workplace or other setting relevant to the programme of research.

    If you do not hold the standard academic entry requirements, please use your personal statement to provide further details. Non-standard applications will be considered by the Admissions Tutor(s) on a case-by-case basis.

Additional information:

  • IELTS 6.5 minimum 5.5 in each component)
  • 58-64 (minimum 51 in each component for UKVI purposes)
  • RPL is accepted on this programme

If you have any specific queries, please contact

Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

All research degree registrations are subject to approval by the Faculty and University’s Research Degrees Committee. The applications process is as follows:

  1. Complete and submit your application using this online form attaching official copies of documents (e.g. certificates)andofficial institution letterhead references
  2. You will receive an acknowledgement
  3. Your application will be considered by the Admissions Tutor
  4. You may need to provide further information or attend an interview
  5. You will be informed if your application has been successful and will find out about any conditions of acceptance

PhD Application Info

If you wish to enquire about making an application for a PhD or express your interest, please send a CV, brief personal statement and outline of your intended research proposal (no more than 500 words) to

The department can then discuss appropriate supervision. You may then be invited to make a full application or offered information about your potential application.

Should you then wish to make a full application please be aware of the following guidelines prior to submission.

Your application should include two main elements: a Personal Statement and a Research Proposal. We recommend the following structure:

1. Personal Statement

Approx. 500 words to include:

a) Short paragraph on current role and responsibilities.
b) Main paragraph on CV highlights (‘greatest hits’).
c) Short paragraph on future aspirations including reason for the study and proposed location.

2. Research Proposal

Approx. 1500 words to include:

a) Working Title of proposed research.
b) Research Aim(s) (maximum three aims).
c) Research Question.
d) Background Statement - paragraph including information on the research field.
e) Literature Review - paragraph highlighting exemplars in relation to the proposed field of study.
f) Methods - paragraph including information on the proposed mode of study e.g. practice-led or thesis only.
g) Proposed Structure - in bullet point form (typically three bullet points will suffice at this stage).
h) Indicative Bibliography - including approx. 10 publications.

(Video) Best high paying PhD Career Options 🔥🤯

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.

Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.

(Video) After a PhD what next? | 6 popular options


Is a PhD better than a JD? ›

JD is a “professional doctorate”, and the qualifying degree for attorneys in the USA (assuming they subsequently pass the bar exam in their state). PhD is an advanced research degree, and in law it would be pursued after earning a JD.

Can you earn a PhD in law? ›

The Ph. D. in Law prepares graduates for global leadership in the judiciary, academia, business and government. Since 1966, the program has offered a select number of diverse students the opportunity to attain their highest professional aspirations and career goals.

Which subject is best for PhD in law? ›

PhD in Law Subjects
  • Human Rights Law.
  • International Business.
  • Judicial Process.
  • Public Law.
  • Foundation of Business Law.
  • Industrial Organization.

How long does it take to get a PhD in law? ›

The Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) is the most prestigious of the Law Faculty's research degrees. It entails writing a thesis over a period of three, or at most four years (six to eight years for part-time students).

Is a PhD harder than a JD? ›

For most people, a JD is the easier degree to finish, as it is all course work, and it takes only three years. A PhD is typically five or six years, the second half of which is devoted to original research. By comparison to a JD, a PhD is a long, hard slog.

Why is a juris doctor not a doctorate? ›

A Juris Doctor degree is technically a professional doctorate. But unlike other Ph. D. holders, lawyers don't hold the title of “Doctor.” Instead, they can choose to use the title “esquire,” which is shortened to “Esq.” and is fashioned after the lawyer's name.

What do you call someone with a PhD in law? ›

Doctor of Law - Wikipedia.

Is a JD higher than an LLM? ›

A J.D. prepares someone to practice law, while an LLM provides advanced training. An LLM will provide you with advanced training in law, but it doesn't qualify you as a licensed lawyer. A JD prepares you for legal practice by teaching you everything you need to pass the bar exam and be an effective lawyer.

How much is the stipend for Yale law PhD? ›

For Ph.

D. students at Yale receive the following financial award, typically for a minimum of five years: a fellowship that covers the full cost of tuition ($46,900 for 2022-2023) a 12-month stipend (minimum of $38,300 for 2022-2023)

Which is the hardest subject to do PhD in? ›

PhD in Theoretical Physics: For you to emerge a doctor of Theoretical Physics, you must have background knowledge of Mathematics and Physics. A qualitative amount of focus is also required of you so as to be able to imagine the warping of gravitational waves and space-time due to the gravitational field.

What is the highest degree for a lawyer? ›

A Doctor of Juridical Science degree is considered the highest level of a law degree and is designed for professionals who are looking to gain an advanced legal education after earning their JD and LLM.

What is the highest doctorate in law? ›

A PhD in law is generally considered the most advanced law degree. While some universities call it by other names, such as SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science) or JSD (Doctor of Jurisprudence degree), this is essentially the same thing.

Can you get a PhD in law after a JD? ›

Applicants must complete their J.D. degree before enrolling in the Ph. D. in Law program. This means that students may apply during their third year of law school, but most applicants will have had at least one year of post-law school experience of some kind.

How many years is a JD PhD? ›

The JD/PhD is an efficient and cohesive option for future legal academics, particularly as law schools increasingly seek faculty who hold dual degrees. Students are able to complete the entire program, including the dissertation, in as few as six years.

What is the difference between a doctorate and a PhD? ›

One of the main differences is that a PhD is typically an academic degree, while a doctorate can be either academic or professional. Additionally, a PhD is highly theoretical and research-focused, while a professional doctorate is practical and geared toward applying research to specific professional settings.

Is a JD more like a Masters or PhD? ›

While research and professional doctorates have different characteristics, the A.B.A. issued a Council Statement requesting that J.D. be treated as equal to a Ph. D. when it comes to educational employment.

Is a JD equivalent to a PhD or Masters? ›

For those lawyers who enter the academic world with faculty rank or duties, almost all institutions would count their JD as a terminal degree for accreditation and other purposes, exactly as they would a PhD. (It is in the school's interest to claim as high a percentage of doctoral degrees as possible).

Is PhD more stressful than work? ›

While it depends on your personality, a PhD can be more stressful than a full-time job outside of academia. Several specific circumstances trigger high-stress levels among PhD students. With looming deadlines, large scale projects, and a huge amount of personal investment, a PhD can be extremely stressful.

Is Kim Kardashian a licensed attorney? ›

In 2021, Kim cleared her bar when the results got announced in December. She shared with her friends that passing the baby bar exam was a nearly impossible journey and that it was sheer hard work and determination. By passing the test, Kim can continue with her legal apprenticeship and try the state bar exam.

How do you address someone with a JD? ›

The appropriate way to address someone with a J.D. Degree is to mention “Attorney” before his name. For example, it will be relevant to address a professional with a J.D. as- Attn: Kevin Brown, J.D., and the salutation inside the mail or letter would be Dear Mr. Brown.

How do you write JD after your name? ›

Add "JD" after an attorney's name in an academic setting.

If the attorney has more than one degree, list the abbreviations after their name in order from highest to lowest. For example, if John Justice has a JD and an MBA, you would list his name as "John Justice, JD, MBA."

Is a PhD more prestigious than an EDD? ›

The Ph. D. is generally considered more prestigious than the Ed. D., especially at highly selective research institutions.

Should I put PhD after my name? ›

However, many sources, including the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, still recommend the use of periods: Ph. D. When you are addressing a person with a doctoral degree, it is considered more polite to use the title Dr. or the academic abbreviation PhD with the person's name, instead of the simple courtesy titles Mr. or Ms.

Does having a JD make you a lawyer? ›

A JD proves you have a legal education, but it does not give you a law license. Without the license, you are not an attorney and you are not entitled to call yourself Esquire. The bar exam is only part of getting a license.

What is a juris doctor degree equivalent to? ›

A J.D. is the minimum educational level for lawyers. The J.D. is considered a professional doctorate. The United States Department of Education and the National Science Foundation do not consider a J.D. degree equivalent to a research doctorate, which would confer the recipient the title of "Doctor."8

How much do JD vs LLM make? ›

According to Ziprecruiter, a JD holder will earn an average of $99,949 annually. In comparison, Ziprecruiter finds an individual who holds a master of laws will have an average salary of $142,663 annually.

Can I practice law in the US with an LLM? ›

Foreign trained lawyers who wish to remain in the United States and practice law here are advised to obtain the JD degree rather than the LLM degree. The JD degree will enable candidates to take the bar examination in every state while the LLM degree may qualify them only to take the bar exam in a few states.

Who has the highest paying PhD stipend in USA? ›

PhD Stipend in USA for International Students

Here it is to be noted that the PhD student stipend in USA is paid on the basis of the number of months in an academic year i.e. usually 9 months per year rather than the entire calendar year. You can expect an average PhD stipend in USA between $15,000-30,000 per year.

What is the maximum PhD stipend in USA? ›

A stipend is a non-repayable grant provided to doctoral students to help support their studies. What is the PhD stipend in USA? PhD students in USA can earn between $15,000 and $30,000 a year depending on their institution, field of study, and location.

What is the most expensive Law School in the US? ›

The most expensive law school in the country is Columbia University. The university is located in the thriving Manhattan neighborhood of New York City.

What is the toughest degree in the world? ›

What are the hardest degrees in the world? Ranked by Experts
  • Chartered Accountancy.
  • Astrophysics.
  • Quantum Mechanics.
  • Law.
  • Aerospace/ Aeronautical Studies, Engineering.
  • Biomedical Studies, Neurosciences, Biochemistry.
  • Nursing.
  • Dentistry, Medicine.
Dec 16, 2022

Is there anything better than a PhD? ›

No, a PhD is not a higher degree than a professional doctorate. If you're wondering what's better than a PhD, both PhDs and professional doctorates are the highest level of college education that can be earned.

Who has the most PhDs held by one person? ›

Benjamin Bradley Bolger (born 1975) is an American perpetual student who has earned 17 degrees as of March 2022 and claims to be the second-most credentialed person in modern history after Michael W. Nicholson (who has 30 degrees). Like Nicholson, Bolger is from Michigan. Flint, Michigan, U.S.

Which type of law pays the most? ›

Patent lawyers are among the highest-paid types of lawyers and earn one of the highest median salaries in the legal field. These legal professionals advise clients about patents so their clients can obtain patents granted by patent offices around the world.

What degrees look best for law? ›

As you select your undergraduate major with the intent to apply to law school in the future, these are some of the leading majors to consider.
  1. History. ...
  2. Business. ...
  3. English. ...
  4. Philosophy. ...
  5. Political Science. ...
  6. Economics. ...
  7. Arts and Humanities. ...
  8. Psychology.

Which types of lawyers earn the most on average? ›

Here are 11 of the highest-paying jobs that lawyers can pursue:
  • Attorney at law.
  • Patent attorney.
  • Legal manager.
  • Intellectual property paralegal.
  • Lawyer.
  • Family lawyer.
  • Personal injury lawyer.
  • Corporate counsel.
Dec 14, 2022

Is a PhD in law a Doctor? ›

Find Your Law PhD

PhD Programs A PhD in Law involves research and an academic approach to Law study. A PhD in Law is not to be confused with a Juris Doctor, which is a professional degree preparing students to practice.

Are JD PhDs funded? ›

JD-PhD Funding Structure

Students admitted to the JD-PhD program are typically granted full funding (including tuition and all living expenses) for six academic years and five summers.

What does LLM stand for law? ›

An LLM, or Master of Laws, is a graduate qualification in the field of law. The LLM was created for lawyers to expand their knowledge, study a specialized area of law, and gain international qualifications if they have earned a law degree outside the U.S. or Canada.

Is JD PhD worth it? ›

It is probably not worth as much given that there are more PhD/JDs now than before. Still PhD/ JD is a good combination as long as the PhD is somewhat rigorous and the JD is from a reasonably good law school. Other good combinations include JD/CPA, this is a good combo, specially if you go into tax. MD/PhD is awesome.

Does Harvard offer PhD in law? ›

Interested individuals apply for the PhD through GSAS and for the JD through Harvard Law School.

How long is a JD at Harvard? ›

The J.D. degree requires three years of full-time study, and new students begin their studies only in the fall semester of each year. Apart from for practicing lawyers, we have no part-time, distance, on-line or summer programs. Does HLS offer any part-time or summer programs?

What is the difference between JD and Esquire? ›

both refer to someone who has completed law school. J.D. stands for Juris Doctor, and signifies that someone has completed law school and earned their J.D. degree. Esq. stands for Esquire and this title typically signifies that someone has both completed law school and passed the bar exam.

How long does a Harvard JD PhD take? ›

Coursework. Students will ordinarily be enrolled for at least four years (8 terms) in GSAS. They must complete at least 16 half courses to receive their PhD.

Is it harder to get a PhD or doctorate? ›

A doctorate degree is not easier than a PhD. They're different and both take hard work. It would be best to research the area of study you are pursuing. A PhD demands years of original research, while a doctorate degree looks at an existing body of knowledge and looks into theories created by this knowledge.

Can anyone with a PhD be called Dr? ›

A doctoral degree (PhD) is a degree that one earns after a master's degree. A PhD entitles a person to use the title doctor. These are the social and physical scientists who conduct and evaluate published research.

Is PhD a higher degree than MD? ›

Both the MD and the PhD are advanced degrees, but they often represent very different subject areas. Individuals with MD degrees are medical doctors, while those with PhD degrees have expertise in one of many academic or medical subject areas.

What is higher than a J.D. degree? ›

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)

A Doctor of Juridical Science degree is considered the highest level of a law degree and is designed for professionals who are looking to gain an advanced legal education after earning their JD and LLM.

Is JD the highest degree? ›

A JD degree is a terminal degree—or the highest level of degree you can achieve in a given discipline. In order to begin a Juris Doctor program, you will need to have first earned your bachelor's degree, but you do not need a master's degree.

What is the legal equivalent to a PhD? ›

The Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD) is the Law School's most advanced law degree, and is considered a doctorate equivalent to a Ph. D. It is designed for those interested in becoming scholars and teachers of law including interdisciplinary approaches to law.

Which type of lawyer makes the most money? ›

11 of the highest-paying lawyers
  • Civil litigation attorney. ...
  • Real estate attorney. ...
  • Intellectual property attorney. ...
  • Bankruptcy lawyer. ...
  • Family lawyer. ...
  • Tax attorney. National average salary: $134,322 per year. ...
  • Corporate attorney. National average salary: $137,364 per year. ...
  • Patent attorney. National average salary: $143,492 per year.
Mar 10, 2023

Does a JD count as a Masters? ›

A: No, J.D. is considered a professional doctorate. Interestingly, lawyers in America will first obtain a J.D. and then apply for a master's degree since it allows them to specialize in a certain area of the law.

What is higher LLM or JD? ›

LawyerEDU defines the JD "as the initial, postsecondary law degree necessary to sit for the bar examination and practice as a lawyer in a US jurisdiction," and the LLM as "a secondary degree for lawyers who have achieved their JD and passed the bar exam, and who are interested in a focused, specialized course of study ...

Can I be a professor with a JD? ›

Yes. You can also be a law school professor, or even a professor at a traditional university that offers graduate degrees in other (specific) areas. It can be difficult. There was a prof with a JD in my grad program, who dealt with legal aspects of technology.

Should I put JD after my name on resume? ›

Be consistent in all sections of your resume. For example, if you use the abbreviation “B.A.” for your undergraduate degree, use “J.D.” for your law degree; if you write out Bachelor of Arts, write out Juris Doctor. The same applies to state names (either spell them all out or abbreviate them all).

Is JD a stem degree? ›

The J.D. degree is the only non-STEM degree in the top 10. The study used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine job growth.

What is the hardest doctorate degree to get? ›

1. Boarded Medical Doctor: After spending about eight years to earn your first degree, you are faced with between three and six years of residency. This is the most competitive field in education which means you must have passed through a very rigorous process to earn this certificate.

What is the hardest field to get a PhD in? ›

  • Music.
  • Finance/Economics.
  • Medicine/Biology/Molecular Biology.
  • Social Sciences (Anthropology, Sociology, Area Studies)
  • Humanities (English, History, Geography etc)
  • Education.
  • Engineering (Electrical, mechanical, Chemical)
  • Computer Science/ Theoretical Physics/ Mathematics.
Jul 3, 2022

What is the highest academic degree in the world? ›

Earning a doctorate degree – the highest traditional academic degree – can be an arduous and lengthy endeavor, taking anywhere from three to seven years, or more, of study. Candidates can choose from various types, most commonly Doctor of Education (Ed. D.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.).

Can you do a PhD and law school at the same time? ›

The JD/PhD is an efficient and cohesive option for future legal academics, particularly as law schools increasingly seek faculty who hold dual degrees. Students are able to complete the entire program, including the dissertation, in as few as six years.

Is it legal to call a PhD a Doctor? ›

A doctoral degree (PhD) is a degree that one earns after a master's degree. A PhD entitles a person to use the title doctor.


1. Six easy steps to apply for a postgraduate research course in the College of Arts and Law
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2. Why you shouldn't apply for a PhD
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3. What it’s like studying for a PhD in Law and the University of Aberdeen
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4. Phd Defence of Lucia Leontiev
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5. Law - PhD - University of Kent
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6. HEC Paris PhD in Law and Regulation - Information Session on November 22, 2022
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