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Our Research Students benefit immensely from a vibrant research community, a supportive environment and many opportunities to engage critically with academic research and contemporary issues. They are immersed in a research culture which situates legal studies in its historical, social and economic context.
The Law School has an active and supportive student community, with excellent dedicated postgraduate facilities. Students are usually allocated two supervisors, who give guidance about the nature of the research, the standard of work required, and about the relevant literature and sources that should be consulted. Students and supervisors meet monthly, ensuring consistent and continuous support during the length of the degree.
We welcome applications for research degrees in a wide range of areas (this post on our Countercurrents blog helps offer an insight into the diverse aspects of the law our scholars choose to interrogate). You should accompany your application with a proposal of up to 10 pages including an outline of the research project you envisage, your proposed research questions, your intended methodology, an indicative bibliography, and a brief explanation of what your project will add to this literature. You are strongly advised to discuss your project with an appropriate member of staff (contact details on our website) or with the Director of Postgraduate Research prior to submitting your application. When preparing your proposal, you should read our 'Guide to writing a PhD or LLM by Research proposal.'
Kent Law School (KLS) is the UK's leading critical law school. A cosmopolitan centre of world-class critical legal research, it offers a supportive and intellectually stimulating place to study postgraduate taught and research degrees.
In addition to learning the detail of the law, students at Kent are taught to think about the law with regard to its history, development and relationship with wider society. This approach allows students to fully understand the law. Our critical approach not only makes the study of law more interesting, it helps to develop crucial skills and abilities required for a career in legal practice.
You study within a close-knit, supportive and intellectually stimulating environment, working closely with academic staff. KLS uses critical research-led teaching throughout our programmes to ensure that you benefit from the Law School’s world-class research.
You are more than your grades
For 2021, in response to the challenges caused by Covid-19 we will consider applicants either holding or projected a 2:2. This response is part of our flexible approach to admissions whereby we consider each student and their personal circumstances. If you have any questions, please get in touch.
A first or good second class honours degree in law or a relevant subject. Particular attention will be paid to your previous experience of academic research and writing.
The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Some typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice.
If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes.
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Duration: LLM 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
MPhil 2 years full-time, 3 years part-time
The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact email@example.com.
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:
In The Complete University Guide 2021, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.
Please see the University League Tables 2021 for more information.
In the most recent Research Excellence Framework, Kent Law School was ranked 8th for research intensity in the Times Higher Education.
Much of the School's research activity in criminal justice takes place in co-operation with the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Research and under the auspices of the Kent Criminal Justice Centre. Established in 1996, the Centre co-ordinates and encourages research in the field of criminal justice, and develops teaching and education initiatives, especially in co-operation with local criminal justice agencies.
Kent Law School has established a rich tradition of critical scholarship on the legal regulation of the business practices and commercial relations of market economies. Our experts inform research-led teaching in such fields as consumer debt and bankruptcy, secured credit, intellectual property, International Financial Institutions, economic development, international trade and business transactions, commercial arbitration, international labour regulation, corporate governance, regulation of personal financial services, e-commerce, and the law relating to banking and information technology.
Our expertise in the area of obligations shares a commitment to challenging the apparently coherent and common-sense rules of contract and tort. We do this by identifying the conflicts in the world outside of the textbook that shape and destabilise the operation of these rules, and by revealing the ideological, political, and distributive biases that the rules of contract and tort help to perpetuate.
The Law School has long been established as a recognised centre of excellence in research and graduate teaching in environmental law, spanning international, EC and national law and policy. Current research interests include climate change, the aquatic environment, biodiversity conservation, regulation and enforcement, and trade.
European and Comparative Law is being conducted both at an individual level as well as at the Kent Centre for European and Comparative Law, which was established in 2004 with a view to providing a framework for the further development of the Law School’s research and teaching activities in this area. Research and teaching reaches from general areas of comparative and European public and private law to more specialised areas and specific projects.
Home to the Kent Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality, Kent Law School makes a significant contribution to the development of feminist perspectives on law, nationally and internationally. The Centre produces wide-ranging interdisciplinary work, drawing on a broad range of intellectual trajectories in addition to legal studies, including political theory, philosophy, sociology, political economy, cultural studies, geography, history, and drama. The Centre explores how sexuality is produced through political categories of difference and how it is governed. The research carried out by the Centre demonstrates a shared preoccupation with inequality and social change.
Legal research involves studying processes of regulation and governance. This research cluster focuses on the character of regulation and governance to critically understand the different modes through which governing takes place such as the conditions, relations of power and effects of governance and regulation. Work within this area is methodologically diverse. Intellectually, it draws on a range of areas including socio-legal studies; Foucauldian perspectives on power and governmentality; Actor Network Theory; feminist political theory and political economy; postcolonial studies; continental political philosophy; and cultural and utopian studies.
A number of Kent Law School (KLS) staff have interests in the area of Health Care Law and Ethics, focusing in particular on issues relating to human reproduction. Much of the research carried out by scholars in this area is critical and theoretical and has a strong interdisciplinary flavour. In addition to conducting their own research projects, staff have developed strong and fruitful collaborations with ethicists and medical professionals.
The starting point for research in international law at Kent Law School is that international law is not apolitical and that its political ideology reflects the interests of powerful states and transnational economic actors. In both research and teaching, staff situate international law in the context of histories of colonialism to analyse critically its development, doctrines and ramifications. Critical International Law at KLS engages with theories of political economy, international relations and gender and sexuality to contribute to scholarly and policy debates across the spectrum of international law, which includes public, economic, human rights, criminal and commercial law. Scholars at the Centre for Critical International Law engage in the practical application of international law through litigation, training, research and consultancies for international organisations, NGOs and states.
Law and its relation to political economy are addressed from a variety of angles, including the exploration of the micro and macro level of economic regulations as well as theoretical aspects of law and political economy.
Identifying the fact that several academics do work in cultural theory and political theory (including on normative concepts, religion and the state). While feminist and critical legal theories are focal points at Kent Law School, the departmental expertise also covers more essential aspects such as classical jurisprudence and the application of philosophy to law.
Kent Law School's property lawyers have a range of overlapping interests in both global and local property issues. Their work covers indigenous people’s rights, the environment, housing, community land, social enterprise, cultural heritage law and urban design, as well as the question of intellectual property. They have links with anthropologists working at the University and have run a very successful series of workshops exploring common interests. Their research draws on a multiplicity of theoretical perspectives including postcolonialism, feminism, and Foucault.
Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The Law School is recognised for the international quality of its research, with expertise across many areas of law.
Profiles for each member of academic staff and their research interests are listed on the School’s website, and we encourage intending students to review them to identify a potential supervisor. You can also use Kent’s ‘find a supervisor’ function to search the profiles, searching by member of staff or by keyword related to your area of academic interest.
We also welcome and encourage you to contact the Law School prior to making an application; to discuss your proposed research, and to ensure that our expertise matches your research interests
Employability is a key focus throughout the University and at Kent Law School you have the support of a dedicated Employability and Career Development Officer together with a broad choice of work placement opportunities, employability events and careers talks. Details of graduate internship schemes with NGOs, charities and other professional organisations are made available to postgraduate students via the School’s Employability Blog.
Law graduates have gone on to careers in finance, international commerce, government and law or have joined, or started, an NGO or charity.
Kent has an excellent record for postgraduate employment: of Kent graduate students who graduated in 2016, 98% of those who responded to a national survey were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).
Postgraduate students at Kent Law School have access to a postgraduate computing room, study area and common room with wireless internet access. The Law School has an active and inclusive extra-curricular academic and social scene, with weekly graduate seminars, a postgraduate student group for all students, and a regular guest lecture programme organised by our research centres (which include the Centre for Critical International Law, the Kent Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality, and the Kent Centre for European and Comparative Law).
Our Law Library has long been a leader in the development of electronic resources for legal teaching and research. The extensive and up-to-date law collection in the University’s Templeman Library is particularly strong on electronic material, and the Electronic Law Library includes numerous legal databases, which are increasingly invaluable tools for research. In addition, you can access the text of thousands of law journals online. Our law librarian is available to train you to use these resources and runs regular legal research classes with postgraduate students.
We have a dedicated postgraduate office, offering support from application to graduation. Research students benefit from a research training programme in the first year. An academic staff member acts as postgraduate research co-ordinator and runs a weekly postgraduate study group, at which students present and discuss research. The Law School provides research students with an allowance for conferences and other research expenses, and an annual printing allowance.
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Recent contributions include: Modern Law Review; Social & Legal Studies; The Canadian Journal of Law & Society; Legal Studies; Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.
Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.