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1. Check our entry requirements

To be accepted on our PhD programme, you'll need a master's degree or equivalent, in a course with a substantial element of law.

If you are from outside of the UK, you will also need an IELTS score of 7.0, or above, with at least 6.0 in the four sub-sections, or equivalent.

For more information on entry requirements, visit our Graduate School website.

2. Select your topic

You should first determine whether your proposed project is suitable for study at PhD level. The project must also be feasible within the resources and time frame available to you; it should also address a perceived 'gap' in the literature and, most importantly, be of interest to you.

It is strongly recommended that you read the guidance on how to write a PhD proposal for Law before submitting your application.

To study at the University of Reading your proposed PhD should relate to the research interests of a member of staff in the School of Law, please view our Find a PhD supervisor page. Contact members of staff via email if you are interested in studying for a PhD with them.

3. Identify a supervisor

Once you have identified a relevant supervisor, we recommend that you contact them to discuss your proposed PhD project and check whether it is suitable.

If you would like assistance with identifying potential supervisors then please contact Dr Matthew Windsor, Co-Director of Postgraduate Research Studies, by emailing:

It is not essential to communicate directly with the Department before submitting your application, but many candidates find it helpful.

4. Make an application

Once you have identified a research area of interest with a potential supervisor, please apply using the PhD and professional doctorate online application system.

This allows you to complete the necessary information and attach copies of relevant documents, including the details of two appropriate referees.

You are strongly encouraged to read the Graduate School's guidance on how to write a research proposal before submitting your application.

Although you'll be working with a specific department or supervisor, all PhD applications must be made centrally. The University will acknowledge your application and then pass it on to our school.

Although most new students join the PhD programme in September, it's possible to start your studies at any point during the academic year.