Why study MPhil/PhD Law at Goldsmiths

Goldsmiths Law MPhil/PhD candidates are given outstanding opportunities to explore modern legal phenomena in their rapidly changing socio-political, cultural, and economic context.

  • Our forward-looking, cosmopolitan, and distinctive Law Department draws on – and has further strengthened – Goldsmiths’ rich heritage of critical and transformative scholarship, and its unique ability to foster radical and creative thinking, facilitated by cross-disciplinary dialogue and collaboration. 
  • Goldsmiths is known for its academic strengths in the creative arts, humanities, and social sciences; its unique focus on public and community engagement; the outstanding alumni from every generation of students; and its ground-breaking multidisciplinary research. Our MPhil/PhD programme follows this tradition, and students joining the programme will also be joining a wider doctoral community served by Goldsmiths’ multidisciplinary Graduate School.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Aysem Diker Vanberg.


2-4 years full-time or 4-8 years part-time


Home - full-time: £4786
Home - part-time: £2393
International - full-time: £17690



You'll research

Research supervision areas

All MPhil/PhD candidates at Goldsmiths receive supervision from two members of academic staff throughout their study with us, who may be drawn from the same department or, in the case of interdisciplinary projects, multiple departments at the university.

Areas of research strength in the Department of Law include:

  • Criminal law and procedure, and criminal justice
  • Public international law
  • Transnational human rights
  • Law and migration
  • Gender, race and sexuality
  • Law and technologies

Find out more about our research areas and events.

Prior to making your application you are strongly encouraged to directly approach individual academics with expertise in the area that you intend to pursue for doctoral study. This is your opportunity to inquire informally about supervision availability and discuss preliminary research ideas.

Explore a full list of our current staff and their areas of research expertise.

Working independently and with others

We aspire for our PhD candidates to fully integrate into the Department of Law’s innovative approach to legal studies and legal research, and are passionate about connecting students with our network of leading scholars and professionals, including:

  • Our renowned Visiting Professors
  • The dynamic organisations with which we work, whose aim is to make a real impact on policy, the law, and communities

  • Academic staff and doctoral researchers in other Goldsmiths departments (e.g. in the departments of Politics, Psychology, Sociology, Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, History, Art, Design, Institute of Management Studies, and others) with intertwined research interests

  • Our activist research centres and think tanks
  • The scholars and legal professionals with whom we collaborate in our Law and Policy Clinics

PhD candidates are offered opportunities to contribute to our research and public engagement activity that will develop their skills to work in and beyond academia upon graduation, including growing confidence in public speaking, and using modern technologies to communicate research outputs.

Our Library

The Library at Goldsmiths gives students access to all the key legal databases for law – for example, Westlaw, Lexis Library, and Hein Online. It additionally contains the key practitioner resource, Practical Law. Through Practical Law international, Westlaw International and Nexis, you can access materials from many jurisdictions around the world.

You will also have access to subscriptions to Cambridge University Press Law eBooks (around 3,000), Oxford University Press Law eBooks (around 2,000), Hart eBooks, Lexis Library eBooks and Westlaw eBooks on top of the paper collection.

Goldsmiths postgraduate students are also able to join the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies library, and make use of its legal resources, both print and digital.

A student in the Goldsmiths library reaching for a book on a high shelf

Goldsmiths postgraduate students are able to join the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies library.

A student in the study space on the ground floor of the library, writing notes in front of a Macbook laptop

The Library at Goldsmiths gives students access to all the key legal databases for law.


In addition to pursuing traditional career paths in academia and postdoctoral research, graduates of our PhD programme are also encouraged to consider future career opportunities in the third sector, government organisations, or legal practice. Integration of theory and practice, and the embedding of a wide range of career skills in the PhD programme, will have exposed candidates to such opportunities and allowed them to create connections with relevant legal professionals and networks.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

These are the PG fees for students starting their programme in the 2024/2025 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £4786
  • Home - part-time: £2393
  • International - full-time: £17690

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time under a student visa. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Funding opportunities

Goldsmiths scholarships and studentships

To be considered for funding, candidates are strongly advised to make contact with potential supervisors and submit their subsequent application early in the academic year.

PhD candidates in Law may be eligible for funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) via the CHASE doctoral training partnership, including (if applicable) the Stuart Hall Foundation CHASE scholarships.

Fully-funded studentships are available to research students via the ESRC/SENSS Doctoral Studentships Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP).

International candidates may be interested in applying for a Commonwealth PhD Scholarship.

Candidates who have already commenced doctoral study, who are not yet in receipt of funding, may be eligible for a Modern Law Review scholarship

Paying your fees

Find out about paying your tuition fees.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments.

Entry requirements

We welcome applicants from both traditional legal educational backgrounds, and those with a background in other areas interested in pursuing doctoral research in law or legal studies.

Applicants should ordinarily possess at least a first degree (equivalent to upper second-class honours or above) and would normally have (or expect to be awarded) a Masters (taught or research) in a relevant subject area.

Candidates with non-standard qualifications or equivalent experience will be considered.

International qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing and no element lower than 6.5 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.

Please note: You are very welcome to submit your proposal as part of an initial approach to an academic, but this will not constitute a formal application to study at Goldsmiths. Following any fruitful discussions with a prospective supervisor, you must also make a formal application by clicking the 'Apply now' button above.

We welcome proposals for research in any area of law. We give priority to those with proposals for research within the areas of interest of our staff. When you apply, please indicate your intended research area and any preference for a particular supervisor.

Before submitting your application you'll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • Contact details of a second referee
  • A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
  • Details of your research proposal
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

We are only able to offer you a place on the programme if a suitable supervisor has agreed to supervise your proposed research. Before you apply for a research programme, we advise you to study our academic staff pages to identify one or more potential supervisors for your research, and to get in touch with them to discuss your plans. Your prospective supervisor will need to confirm their willingness and ability to supervise your thesis before an offer can be made.

How detailed a research proposal are we looking for on the application form?

What you put on the form and the exactly what you end up researching may be rather different, but in order to judge whether or not to offer you a place, the Department needs to know whether you have the broad outlines of a viable project. This means:

  • A project that is both worthwhile and interesting, but not overly ambitious
  • A project that can realistically be achieved within the confines of PhD on a full-time (4 years maximum) or part-time (8 years maximum) basis
  • We need to be sure that you have thought about it carefully and are fully committed to the research
  • We need to be sure that you understand what is involved in doing a PhD

Your research proposal should give us enough information to be able to reach a decision about whether to interview you.

When to apply

You can make an application to study for an MPhil or PhD with us at any time of the year, for the academic year starting the following October.

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.

If you're applying for external funding from one of the Research Councils, make sure you submit your application by the deadline they've specified.

Selection process

Admission to the programme is based on an interview and the panel’s assessment of your application. Online interviews can be arranged when necessary.

Find out more about applying.

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