Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

A research degree in law at IALS gives you the opportunity to undertake original research and to make a distinctive contribution to your field, under the supervision of academics who are leaders in their areas of legal scholarship. The Institute is able to accept a limited number of outstanding MPhil and PhD students whose research topics fit with the Institute's own research interests.

As a research student at IALS, you will belong to a diverse group of over 60 doctoral researchers, and will be a central part of our research community which brings together academic researchers, legal information professionals, and legal practitioners from a range of disciplines and jurisdictions. The research student seminar series and the annual PhD colloquium will provide you the opportunity to present your research to your peers, and to benefit from comments and advice from academic colleagues from IALS and University of London colleges; research student-run ‘PhD Master Classes’ will offer guidance from your peers and recent IALS doctoral graduates on the practical experience of conducting research. Research methods training, guidance on research ethics, and dedicated library services for IALS research students will enable you to develop the skills necessary to undertake your research.

Why research your PhD at IALS?

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is a unique institution, which has as its mission the promotion and support of legal research in its widest sense. At the heart of the Institute is the IALS Library – the national research library for law and one of the largest law research libraries in Europe. Doctoral researchers will therefore benefit from a rich collection of materials on the law of the UK, Commonwealth and European countries, the USA and EU, as well as other national jurisdictions, international and comparative law. The IALS Library also manages several legal archive collections, and is at the forefront of providing digital resources and online legal research tools.


IALS is part of the School of Advanced Study (SAS) at the University of London, which is the only institution in the UK that is nationally funded to promote and facilitate research in the humanities. The nine member institutes of SAS – such as the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, the Institute of Historical Research, the Institute of Philosophy – provide a research base for an international community of scholars, which IALS research students will be able to benefit from. IALS research students will also be able to participate in the extensive research Events series organised by SAS institutes, Research Training, Fellowships, Networks and Collaborations, Digital Resources, Publication Services, and Library Resources.

SAS is also part of the Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network (BSPN), a shared skills training programme. The Network enables research students in participating institutions, including UCL, Birkbeck, and SOAS, to enhance their generic research and personal transferable skills and to meet students from different institutions.

Distance Learning

The School of Advanced Study offers students with an appropriate topic and level of local resource the opportunity to undertake a PhD by distance learning. More about Research Degrees by Distance Learning.

Page last updated: 15th August 2018