University of Oxford logo
  • Tuition Fee:
  • Local: $ 9.13k / 1 year
  • Foreign: $ 23.8k / 1 year
  • Deadline:
  • 20 January
  • StudyQA ranking:
  • 235pts.
  • Duration:
  • 4 years

    Photos of university

    The Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) is the most prestigious of the Law Faculty's research degrees. It entails writing a thesis of between 75,000 and 100,000 words over a period of three, or at most four, years. The thesis must make a significant and substantial contribution to its field.

    DPhil students will pursue a range of career paths after completion of the doctorate. Many will take up academic posts, or pursue postdoctoral research of one sort or another. Some will enter legal practice as solicitors, barristers, advocates, and judges; others will become legal advisors advising government departments, non-governmental organisations and private companies.

    The University of Oxford has an excellent careers service with which the department has close ties. The Careers Service organises a number of events of specific interest to students wishing to pursue a career in law, and offers one-to-one advice from members of staff with knowledge and experience specific to the legal sector.

    The Law Faculty has an extensive network of relationships within the legal profession and each year offers a number of talks and events run by law firms and barristers’ chambers.

    Students are never admitted to the DPhil degree directly. They are transferred to DPhil status following a 'qualifying test' taken at the end of their first year as a research student. Your initial application to read for a DPhil is strictly speaking an application to become a Probationer Research Student (PRS). In the Faculty of Law you may alternatively qualify through a one-year research degree (either MSt or MPhil). The MSt or MPhil year then doubles as your probationer year. To take the MPhil route you must begin with one of our taught postgraduate degrees (the BCL or the MJur or the MSc in Law and Finance).

    Here is a summary of the possible routes of ascent to a DPhil degree in the Faculty:

    1. Route 1:   PRS (one year) » DPhil (approx. two further years)
    2. Route 2:   MSt in Legal Research (one year) » DPhil (approx. two further years)
    3. Route 3:   BCL/MJur/MSc Law and Finance (one year) » MPhil (one year) » DPhil (approx. two further years).

    Whichever route you take, your first year as a research student (PRS, MSt or MPhil) will be similar. You will take a course in legal research method and you will conduct and write up a substantial piece of research. Some or all of that writing will be used in your qualifying test for DPhil status at the end of the year. In the case of the MSt or MPhil this will be your MSt or MPhil thesis; in the case of PRS it will be a draft chapter or other similar sample of work. The qualifying test will also require you to draft a proposal for the rest of your research.


    UK requirements for international applications

    Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).

    Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.

    All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.


    University requirements


    Program requirements

    Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in law. 

    In the absence of an undergraduate degree in law, candidates may be admitted with a postgraduate diploma or master's qualification in law at  Distinction level.

    For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.7 out of 4.0.

    Most students admitted to the programme have a previous master's qualification but this is not a formal requirement.

    If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

    No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

    • Official transcript(s)
    • CV/résumé
    • Research proposal: Around 600 words, up to two pages
    • Written work:One essay of 2,000 words 
    • References/letters of recommendation:Three overall, generally academic

    ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

    Higher level

    est

    Standard level scores

    Higher level scores

    IELTS Academic 
    Institution code: 0713

    7.0 Minimum 6.5 per component  7.5  Minimum 7.0 per component 

    TOEFL iBT 
    Institution code: 0490

    100

    Minimum component scores:

    • Listening: 22
    • Reading: 24
    • Speaking: 25
    • Writing: 24
    110

    Minimum component scores:

    • Listening: 22
    • Reading: 24
    • Speaking: 25
    • Writing: 24
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) 185

    Minimum 176 per component

    191 

    Minimum 185 per component

    Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) 185

    Minimum 176 per component

    191 

    Minimum 185 per component

    • Global Education
    • Hill Foundation Scholarships
    • A number of Research Council awards are available each year from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
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