Overview

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, political, social and economic context.

A PhD (or doctorate), is awarded for a substantial piece of supervised research that is worthy of publication and makes an original contribution to knowledge in a particular field. Research students benefit from having a supervisory committee, including a main supervisor, to guide and support their research.

The PhD at BSIS is an independent project guided by your main supervisor who will have experience related to your chosen field of research. You will have regular meetings with your supervisor (at least monthly) for informal discussions as well as formal feedback on your work. The supervisor's role is to oversee your progress, give you advice as well as share any special areas of expertise.

Your progress is closely monitored by the supervisory committee to ensure you remain on track to produce a thesis of value to the academic community. You will be reviewed at regular interviews and this includes induction, probation, annual and submission review. 

At BSIS, we hold weekly research seminars for all our PhD students and staff to attend. This is an opportunity to showcase your research and to exchange, debate and share ideas with fellow students and faculty staff. Each term, every student is required to present a piece of work which might be a research outline, results of a bibliographic search or a field trip report.

The research community at BSIS is a diverse, friendly and growing group who benefit from the interdisciplinary nature of the School and each student contributes significantly to this community as well as providing mentor and support to our taught master's student body. 

Within Law, BSIS offers supervision in Human Rights and Economic Law. See the staff page for more information.

About the Brussels School of International Studies

The University of Kent's Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) is a specialist postgraduate centre offering advanced English language-based degrees covering the spectrum of international affairs. We host three academic schools of the University of Kent which allows students to specialise in one programme while informing their personal approach to international studies with another, via a secondary specialisation.

The broad selection of taught and research programmes available, ranging from politics and international relations to law, migration and conflict studies, means you can choose a degree that best reflects your interests. Degrees are full degrees of the University of Kent, and the University is also recognised by the Flemish Community in Belgium (NVAO) and Flemish Government. The University of Kent is the only UK university with a campus in Brussels.

BSIS is known as a friendly, diverse, and cohesive community of approximately 250 students from about 55 different countries. Students benefit from close access to professors, a research-active environment, and exposure to practitioners from Brussels-based organisations.

Home to the main institutions of the European Union and numerous organisations, such as think tanks, lobby groups, NGOs and multinational companies, Brussels is at the heart of Europe. You can earn a degree from a top 20 British university while enjoying unparalleled opportunities for networking, academic development and professional advancement facilitated by the School's excellent location in the 'capital of Europe'.


Entry requirements

Candidates must hold a bachelor degree, and a master's degree in Law at distinction level, including a distinction grade in the master's thesis.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, international fee-paying students cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.

English language entry requirements

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. 

Need help with English?

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.

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Course structure

Duration: 3 to 4 years full-time, 5 to 6 years part-time

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Full-time: €9,650
Part-time: €4,825

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

The Complete University Guide

In The Complete University Guide 2020, 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 2020 for more information.

Independent rankings

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework, Kent Law School was ranked 8th for research intensity in the Times Higher Education.

Research areas


At BSIS, we can supervise in the main areas of law:

  • International Humanitarian Law
  • International Human Rights Law
  • International Criminal Law
  • European Human Rights Law (especially European Convention on Human Rights)
  • Theories of Public International Law

Our main two supervisors are Professor Yutaka Arai and Professor Harm Schepel. 

Professor Schepel is interested in the legal institutionalization of capitalism on different levels of governance. His work draws on institutional economics, political economy, economic and legal sociology and social and legal theory. The general area includes fields such as international trade and investment law, law and development, corporate governance, the law of the European internal market, comparative and European competition law, and the regulation of private governance regimes.

Staff research interests

Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Professor Yutaka Arai : Professor in Law

International humanitarian law (including part of international criminal law); the relationship between international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

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Professor Harm Schepel : Professor

Legal sociology; international and European economic law.

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Careers

Many students at our Brussels centre who undertake internships are offered contracts in Brussels immediately after graduation. Our graduates have gone on to careers in academia, local and national government and public relations. Others have joined their home country's diplomatic service, entered international organisations, or have chosen to undertake a ‘stage’ at the European Commission, or another EU institution.

At the Brussels School of International Studies, students also have access to the services of Key2advance, a dedicated careers service that provides students with assistance in developing skills and accessing the international job market. The weekly career workshops cover all aspects of the job market starting with rewriting your CV and cover letters to learning networking skills. This leads to a networking event during the Autumn Term that allows students to meet and network with employers and alumni.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

Students have access to an excellent library and extensive computing facilities. You also have access to online resources; inter-library loans; video library; online book renewals and reservations; laptop and netbook loan facilities; more than 1,300 study spaces/seats; more than 27,500 books and 10,500 bound periodicals catalogued under politics and international relations and related class marks plus British Government Publications and 50,000 online journals also available off-campus. The School’s resources include a European Documentation Centre, with all official publications of the EU institutions, and a specialised collection on international conflict and federal studies as well as the University’s collection of political cartoons. In addition, postgraduate research students have their own designated room with 12 computer terminals.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Recent contributions include: Contemporary Political TheoryInternational Political SociologyJournal of Human RightsNew Political EconomyPolitical StudiesTelos.

Researcher Development Programme

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.

Researcher Development Programme

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.

Apply now

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

Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

PhD at Brussels

Admissions enquiries

Michael Sewell

Admissions and Recruitment, Brussels

T (Belgium):+32 (0) 2641 1723

T (UK): +44 (0) 0112 816298

E:bsisadmissions@kent.ac.uk

 

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk