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School of Law - PhD opportunities available

  School of Law

About the Programme

The University of Aberdeen is one of four ancient universities of Scotland. Law was a founding discipline when the University was established in 1495. Today, our PGR students benefit from both its ancient roots and its modern-day international reach and reputation. We have a vibrant, multinational academic and student community and our School of Law is at the forefront of innovative legal research, often influencing law and policy.

We welcome applications from students who wish to pursue research degrees in law, and we provide supervision in a wide range of legal subjects. There is an active research community, with students from many parts of the world registered for a PhD or LLM by Research. If you come to the University of Aberdeen, you too become a part of that esteemed history of excellence.


We offer a comprehensive training programme running throughout the three years of the PhD. This will provide you with the necessary knowledge, tools and skills to successfully complete your degree. From broadening your legal education, to training you to become a modern teacher and lecturer, and on to mock training for your viva voce and job interviews, we will support you throughout your PhD. You will be supported by a minimum of two advisers to guide you on your research project.

LLM by Research

The main requirement of this one year programme is to write a dissertation of 40,000 words. The programme is suitable for students who later aim to pursue a PhD or who are looking for an alternative to traditional taught LLM.

You will receive advanced training in research skills and methods and you will have two supervisors, who will guide and advise you.

Our research

Our legal research is cutting-edge and first class. Our academics publish at top publishing houses, such as Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and MIT Press, as well as an array of premier law journals across the globe.

We have five active Research Centres:

  • Centre for Commercial Law (Corporate & Commercial Law; International Trade Law; Intellectual Property & Technology Law; Dispute Resolution)
  • Centre for Constitutional and Public International Law (UK Public Law, Comparative Constitutional Law, French Constitutional Law, Public International Law, Legal Theory)
  • Centre for Energy Law
  • Centre for Private International Law
  • Centre for Scots Law

As a PGR student you will be invited to join one or more of our Research Centres.

Dedicated Law Library

Taylor Library, a dedicated law resource, is housed within our Law School. It contains not only a comprehensive collection of Scots and English law sources but also a substantial collection of European Union, Commonwealth and American materials. This includes an excellent collection of books in the field of Roman and Roman-Dutch law. The University is a European Documentation Centre, and that collection is available within Taylor Library.

Other reasons to study with us:

·      The School of Law has a long history of creating great legal scholars. Our graduates go on to teach at leading global universities.

·      We are ranked Top 10 in the UK for Law by the Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

·      We have a strong community of PhD research students here to help you.

·      We offer supervision, rigorous research and scholarly training throughout your PhD.

·      Part time and online PhD options are available.

Whatever your reason to study with us, we will support you along the way. We have a great team of academic advisers and support staff to assist you with your studies and ensure you stay on track.

Entry requirements

Phd –Applicants should have a UK upper second-class Honours degree in law or a relevant discipline; or a UK Master's degree in law or related subjects; or any international equivalent of the previous two.

LLM by Research - Applicants should have a UK first or upper-second class Honours degree in law or a relevant discipline; or any international equivalent.

How to apply

Please complete our online application package and submit an original research proposal. View our website for instructions and guidance.

We review applications on a rolling basis and you will usually hear from us within 28 days.

Funding Notes

The PhD opportunities on this programme do not have funding attached. You will need to have your own means of paying fees and living costs and / or seek separate funding from student finance, charities or trusts.

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