Research Degrees in


in the Faculty of Business and Law


Do you want to advance or change your career, deepen your expertise in a topic, or expand your research and practical skills?

With a PhD or other postgraduate research degree in Law you will:

  • Work with leading experts in the field. You will be part of the Manchester Law School, home to renowned research academics, legal academics, and practising solicitors and judges.
  • Benefit from studying in Manchester, a vibrant city with a strong legal services sector. We are at the heart of the Northern Circuit of the Regional Bar of England and Wales, and Manchester houses a large legal sector of over 20,000 people.
  • Gain real-world experience through our Pro-Bono Network. The Pro-Bono Network allows you to volunteer your services for initiatives across a range of legal work.
  • Undertake tailored personal and professional development training. This training ensures our graduates are equipped to make a real impact, whether in the worlds of academia or practice.
  • Receive dedicated support from the Business and Law Graduate School. We provide specialist support and training opportunities to enhance your development as a researcher and practitioner. The seventh floor of our Business School is a dedicated postgraduate space, and includes attractively landscaped social and study areas.

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Areas of supervisory expertise

We encourage applications for postgraduate research in innovative and contemporary areas of legal scholarship.

Our supportive academic staff can supervise a wide range of topics within the general areas of law in society and law in context. In particular, we welcome proposals focusing on:

  • Human rights and social justice
  • Gender and transgender identity
  • Caste discrimination
  • Domestic and honour based violence
  • Sports law
  • Legal empowerment
  • International law
  • Health care law and ethics
  • Environmental law
  • Terrorism and law
  • Commercial law
  • Law and society/socio-legal studies.

Find out more about our staff's expertise

Research culture

Manchester Law School’s general research focus is on the operation and impact of law in society. Our work is collaborative and impactful; we work with practitioners and researchers from a range of disciplines to undertake research that has an impact across a diverse range of legal fields. We have particularly strong connections with barristers’ chambers and solicitor firms in the North West and across the UK. These connections ensure that our research is professionally relevant and informed by the latest practical developments in legal education and training.

More about our research culture

Manchester Law School provides a dynamic location for pursuing high quality research across legal, socio-legal and related fields of study. Manchester has one of the largest legal sectors in the country, with over 20,000 people working in specialisms such as sport, transport, insurance, corporate finance, banking, IP, and media. Manchester Met’s Law Society is an extremely active society bringing together students at all levels. It incorporates the Critical Lawyers Group (CLG) and the Mooting and Advocacy Society, and regularly organises guest speakers and social events, including the Annual Law Ball.

We work with colleagues across the university via our two new, innovative researcher centres: Future Economies and Decent Work and Productivity. These centres bring together researchers, business and communities in order to understand the key challenges facing enterprise in the 21st century, and how these challenges can be addressed in a way that is decent for workers and productive for organisations.

As a postgraduate researcher, you will form an integral part of our research culture. You will benefit from an extensive programme of research training designed to develop your subject-specific and transferable skills. You will also have the opportunity to attend a wide variety of seminars, symposiums and networking events to expand your intellectual horizons.

Courses offered, duration, and start dates

Programmes offered

  • PhD (3 years full time, 6 years part time)
  • Master's by Research (1 year full time, 2 years part time)
  • MPhil (18 months full time, 36 months part time)
  • PhD by Published Work or Professional Practice (course duration varies by route taken and candidate's background).

Find out more about the different research degrees we offer

Start dates

The majority of our students start their courses in October. We offer a further start point in January.

Career prospects

To date, our graduates are engaged in academic careers in universities around the globe and hold senior strategic posts contributing to the sustainability of international economies and professional communities. We provide extensive opportunities for networking, as well as a comprehensive training programme.

These networking and development opportunities will provide you with the confidence and expertise to pursue senior roles as practitioners or researchers.

Course structure

This course is research based. You will independently conduct research into your own topic or a topic that we advertise. Your supervisory team will offer expert guidance throughout your studies and review work in progress.

Each year, you will follow a programme of training and development to enhance your research methods, subject-matter expertise and professional skills.

In your first year (or first two years if you are part-time) you will take four, compulsory, credit-based courses as part of our Doctoral Research Training programme.

Fees and funding

Find out more

Postgraduate Research Degrees Fees

Please refer to our Fees page for more information about tuition fees.

Loans for research degrees

Many of our PhD and Professional Doctorate programmes are eligible for the government's Doctoral Loan Scheme. MPhil and MA/MSc by Research degrees are eligible for a Postgraduate Loan.

Find out more about tuition fees and financial support


Each year we offer a number of competitive scholarships to support high quality research projects. Current scholarship opportunities in Law are advertised on our site.

Sign up to be notified when relevant scholarships are advertised

Entry requirements

Find out more

You should, as a minimum, have a first or 2.1 honours degree or an equivalent qualification.

International students must demonstrate a sufficiently high standard of English language ability (IELTS 7.0).

We welcome interest from applicants from non-standard backgrounds. We will take subject knowledge, professional experience, publications, or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment into consideration.

See more about our standard entry requirements.


Before applying for a research degree, you should have a preliminary discussion with a member of staff about your project and ideas. To arrange this, please email Dr Damian Mather,, the Postgraduate Research Degrees Lead for the School of Law.

For further information on the application process, contact the Admissions team, +44 (0)161 247 2966

How to apply

Apply now

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online using the link below. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Before you apply, you should discuss your project with a member of academic staff. You should also complete the Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information form which you will then upload to the ‘Student documents’ section of the application form. This collects key information about your research application and there may be delays if you do not submit this document.

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Postgraduate Study