Postgraduate PhD


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.

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. The school's research was ranked 2nd in the UK in the Times Higher Education (THE) following the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2021).

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You can study full-time or part-time and, 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 or take time out. 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.

Whatever your mode of study, you will be part of an active, supportive and vibrant student community, with excellent dedicated postgraduate facilities, and benefit from cutting-edge legal training taking place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in person and online. 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, this blog post 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 ten 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 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.

Research student Jess talks about studying for a PhD at Kent.

About Kent Law School

Kent Law School (KLS) is the UK's leading critical law school. Its research has been ranked second in the UK by the Times Higher Education. 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. 

It has established a number of research centres and groups that focus on particular areas of law, and postgraduate research students are encouraged and welcome to become involved with those that are close to their own research interests

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 programme are:

Full-time: Home - £TBC | EU - £18,600 | Overseas - £18,600

Part-time: Home - £TBC | EU - £9,300 | Overseas - £9,300

See the Tuition Fees table for the most current information.

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

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:


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?

Please see the Kent Law School's guide to writing a research proposal for advice and guidance.

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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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.


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