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Law PhD / PhD by Distance Learning / MPhil / MJur

Law PhD / PhD by Distance Learning / MPhil / MJur

Course Overview



The 2014 Research Exercise Framework (REF) confirmed our excellent reputation for doctrinal, empirical and theoretical research, particularly in the fields of commercial law, criminal law, criminal justice, judicial administration, European law, public law, human rights, international law, private law, restitution, conflicts of law, international economic law, comparative law, health and social welfare, socio-legal studies and legal theory. Many of our research students have obtained academic careers in the top law schools in the country. 

The University of Northampton is also one of the UK’s top 20 law schools (QS World Rankings 2019). 

  • The PhD programme requires you to research and write a thesis of 80,000 words with supervision from academic staff, the work should make an original contribution to knowledge. Full-time students are expected to complete their work within three years. This programme can also be studied by Distance Learning 
  • The MPhil programme requires you to research and write a 60,000-word thesis under the supervision of a member of academic staff. Full-time students are expected to complete their work within two years.
  • The MJur programme requires you to research and write a 40,000-word thesis under the supervision of a member of academic staff. Full-time students are expected to complete their work within one year.
Course fact file

Course Type

Postgraduate, Distance learning, Doctoral research


PhD – 3 years full-time; 6 years part-time;

MPhil – 2 years full-time; 4 years part-time;

MJur – 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Why study this course?
  • Academic expertise – PhD supervision from internationally renowned researchers
  • Seminars and conferences: Invited to attend various staff seminars and guest lectures during the academic year
  • Employability – Northampton is one of the top universities in the UK for graduate employment



The LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice by online learning gives you the opportunity to study a wide range of courses covering regulatory and policy-based aspects of international commercial law and also particular industry sectors such as oil and gas law.

The programme consists of 180 credits, comprising taught courses worth 120 credits (60 credits per semester) and a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits.


Course layout

Commercial and company law
Comparative law
Constitutional and administrative law
Criminal law and criminal justice
Environmental law
European Union law
Family law
Health and health care law
Human rights and civil liberties
International law and global legal studies
Jurisprudence and legal theory
Law and society
Legal education and the legal profession
Private law
Property law



Postgraduate Research students have the opportunity to benefit from extensive careers advice and employability support in their time in the Law School. Those interested in a qualifying as a lawyer have access to a wide range of events and activities, as we have regular visits from major law firms and barristers’ chambers. All of our careers and employability activities are organised through the Law School’s Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research (CEPLER).

For those interested in pursuing a career in academia, we have an annual lecture on that route. In addition, we offer a specific session exclusively for postgraduate researchers, which includes advice on developing one’s career profile and ultimately securing a job in higher education. Students are also able to seek individual advice on their career progress. The Careers Network of the University of Birmingham provides information and advice on opportunities for employment available to graduate students and offers consultations on CV writing and interview skills.

Entry requirements


A first class or upper second class USA honours degree in law (or a subject related to the proposed area of research) or equivalent.

How to apply


The Law PhD / PhD by Distance Learning / MPhil / MJur by online learning has start dates in September and January of each academic year. 

We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for applicants who may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test


Documentation required

Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.

Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:

  • Degree certificates showing award of degree.
  • Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes.
  • A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.

If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.

After you apply

After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University’s applicant hub.

Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.

You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:

  • You may be offered a place unconditionally
  • You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
  • Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
    View the University’s guidance for unsuccessful applicants
Terms and conditions of admissions
  • The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.

    Northampton University admissions terms and conditions