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Studying for a PhD/MPhil or LLM by Research
Please note that any substantial increase in postgraduate fees such as has been seen for undergraduates commencing study in the academic year 2012-2013 will not apply to research students who are continuing their studies in 2012-13, having begun their studies in the academic year 2011-12.
Lancaster University Law School received a 5 rating in the last Research Assessment Exercise, indicating the independent judgment that research done in the School is of international standards of excellence. Research in the School covers an immense range of legal, jurisprudential and socio-legal issues, leading to an exciting and challenging research environment.
The School offers programmes of supervised research leading to the degrees of LLM by Research, MPhil, or PhD. The LLM by research is a 12 month full time programme, where the student researches and writes a thesis of 30,000 words. The MPhil is a two year programme. The PhD is a traditional research degree where the student researches and writes a thesis over three years.
Common for all of these degrees is that they are awarded on the basis of a thesis on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the School of Law. The School approves only those topics in which it has sufficient supervisory competence. In this respect, the School has an interest in most of the usual substantive legal topics. Please see PhD Areas of Expertise for Supervisors.
A student registered to do an MPhil will normally pursue research for two years (3 years part-time), while a Ph.D student will normally pursue research for three years (5 years part-time). Normally Ph.D students are registered as provisional Ph.D students. At the end of your first 18 months, you will then have your Ph.D registration confirmed if your progress has been satisfactory (as to which see below).
Soon after your registration as a research student, you are required to formulate a research training programme in consultation with your supervisor and the Director of Postgraduate Studies. This should be tailored to your own research topic, methodology and experience. A Research Training Programme is provided through a combination and co-ordination of Faculty and School modules, which offer a foundation in the social sciences (broadly conceived) and discipline-specific training. All students are recommended to take those modules directly related to their research topic and methodology, and to attend the School's Research Method and Study Skills module offered to the LLM students. The Law School is part of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences which runs a research-training programme for all research students. This programme consists of a number of taught courses. Information will be given to you about these courses during the Faculty's Induction Programme for research students.
Facilities for Research Students
In addition to the common room, photocopier, graduate notice board and other facilities mentioned in the section of this Guide on School and University Facilities, there are some services specifically provided for research students. All full-time research students are provided with desks in study rooms (part-time students with special needs in this respect are asked to speak with the Director). At the beginning of the year, you will be allocated a room and given a key. Desks, bookshelves and computers are provided in accordance with Faculty standards. The School also wishes to promote and encourage those research students interested in teaching. For those who do take up teaching duties, the Director of Graduate Studies will also function as a teaching tutor, offering consultation, advice and support.
The following are some of the services which you might want to use during the course of your study.
Please see the English for Academic Purposes web page for further details.
In addition to the components in the research training programme, theSchool of Independent Studies offers sessions on "how to survive as a postgraduate". The University offers courses for overseas students, covering English language and other study skills. In particular, it offers a pre-sessional course in September which is strongly recommended for any student whose first language is not English and who has not previously studied at university level in English.
Confirmation of PhD Status
The confirmation stage normally takes place within the first 18 months of registration. Full guidance will be given to students well in advance of the decision being made.
Funding for Postgraduate Study
If you have not already obtained funding for your postgraduate work, your attention is drawn to the following possibilities.
Current and past students have been awarded scholarships by the ESRC and the British Academy for research degrees in the School. The deadlines for these applications are strict and you should contact the Director of Postgraduate Studies, Professor Peter Rowe well in advance if you wish to apply.
This is also the case with the various University and College Awards available.
You should contact the Postgraduate Co-ordinator, Eileen Jones in relation to all these studentships and awards early in the year in which you propose to commence your studies, or you can obtain information from the Graduate School.
Admission to Research Degree Programmes
You can find details of our admissions requirements and how to apply on the Postgraduate Admissions Information page.
The Law School, in partnership with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, is able to offer one studentship, please see FASS website for further details.
Masters Degrees FAQs (pdf)
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