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Postgraduate LLM, PhD

Socio-legal Studies

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.

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Overview

Kent Law School (KLS) is widely recognised as a world leader in critical and interdisciplinary scholarship including socio-legal studies, law and humanities, critical legal studies and feminist theory; and its research has been ranked second in the UK during the last round of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise by the Times Higher Education (THE).

In addition to the standard on campus research degree, we have also developed an external research route. External research degrees are designed for those who are in the process of establishing their careers as researchers or who need to study alongside other commitments. They are ideal for individuals who are looking for an opportunity to undertake a PhD but may not be in a position to relocate. International students wishing to undertake their entire programme from overseas will not require immigration sponsorship and should apply as an external research student, stating this clearly in the Reasons for Study section of the application form.

You can study full-time or part-time. Studying for a PhD part-time is a rewarding and challenging experience. While everyone is different we would expect students to need at least 2 days a week to focus intensively on their PhD in addition to the compulsory training offered. There may also be additional periods of more intense and concentrated research and writing. We do not advise full-time working while studying for a PhD part-time; and suggest part-time applicants who are working to outline a plan in their application for how they intend to balance working with their PhD study.

Whatever your mode of study, you will be part of Kent Law School which has an active, supportive and vibrant student community, with excellent dedicated postgraduate facilities, who benefit from cutting-edge legal training. You 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. You meet with supervisors monthly, ensuring consistent and continuous support during the length of the degree.

We welcome applications for research degrees in a wide range of areas. You should accompany your application with a proposal of up to 10 pages including an outline of the research project you envisage, your research questions, your intended methodology, and an explanation of how your project will advance the existing scholarly literature on the topic. 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 offers a limited number of scholarships to prospective PhD candidates.. Read more about scholarship opportunities in Kent Law School on our Postgraduate Funding page.

About Kent Law School

Kent Law School (KLS) is the UK's leading critical law school with internationally recognized expertise in socio-legal studies. 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

Your future

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.

Career support
Whether you want to get ahead in your current career, change lanes, or kickstart a new one – we are here to help you realise your ambition.

Fees and funding

The 2024/25 annual tuition fees for this course 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 information@kent.ac.uk.

Your fee status

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.

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.* 

Your fee status

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.

General additional costs

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:

Scholarships

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

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Next steps

Ready to apply?

Learn more about the application process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.

You will be able to choose your preferred year of entry once you have started your application. You can also save and return to your application at any time.

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Join our community

Stay connected with our postgraduate community.

Kent focus

Supporting your success

We are here to support your postgraduate journey.

Top 50

Kent ranked top 50 in The Complete University Guide 2024.

Fees and funding

Support for funding so you can focus on your studies.

Research excellence

Kent has risen 11 places in THE’s REF 2021 ranking, confirming us as a leading research university.

Accommodation

It’s easy to study on or off campus at Kent – discover what is right for you.