Course information




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

Scholarship information

Funding available

Course overview

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 multi-disciplinary 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.

Working independently and with others 

We aspire for our PhD candidates to be fully integrated 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.

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 college.

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

Candidates are strongly encouraged prior to making their application to approach individual academics directly with expertise in the area in which they intend to pursue doctoral study, to inquire informally about supervision availability and to discuss preliminary research ideas. A full list of our current staff and their areas of research expertise can be found here.

Contact the department

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

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 are expecting to be awarded) a Masters in a relevant subject area, taught or by research.

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-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

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

  • Home - full-time: £TBC
  • Home - part-time: £TBC
  • International - full-time: £TBC

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.

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.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.


Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities here. If you’re interested in applying for funding, please take careful note of the college’s internal application deadlines. 


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.

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.

How to apply

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.

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

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
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but is not mandatory)
  • Details of your research proposal

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement 

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 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 over-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 

Applications from candidates who are self-funded are accepted throughout the year. Interviews will be arranged on an ad hoc basis.

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.

Find out more about applying.


Our research takes a strong interest in the impact of modern technological developments on human rights, the use of AI in the criminal justice system, and the use of technology to unearth human rights violations. For more information on research areas and events, please visit the Law Research page.


Our Library

Goldsmiths Library 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 3000), Oxford University Press Law eBooks (around 2000), 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.


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.


For more information about Law Staff at Goldsmiths, visit the department's staff pages.

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