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COVID-19 update: This course will start online and continue on campus later. Read more

What will I learn?

The PhD in Law facilitates research in a wide range of areas that are represented through the School of Law’s eight research clusters. These relate to human rights, law and technology, business law, socio-legal studies, public law, law and society, health law and criminal justice.

The School of Law is also home to specific inter-disciplinary research centres including the Human Rights Centre, the Essex Armed Conflict and Crisis Hub, and the Essex Transitional Justice Network. Additionally, through the strong relationship between the School of Law and the Human Rights Centre, other inter-disciplinary clusters and initiatives have developed which include the Essex Business and Human Rights Project, the Human Rights and Big Data Project, and the Human Rights and Environment cluster.

Research in the School of Law and the Human Rights Centre is cross-cutting and has had a wide range of applications at the national and international levels. Many of our staff have strong working relationships with international organisations such as the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the World Health Organisation. At the national level many of our staff are consulted by governments at home and abroad. The School of Law continues with a tradition of undertaking cutting-edge research that has practical application to the challenges that face citizens, governments, business, and the international community. Through the excellence that the School of Law has exhibited it is ranked as 51st in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021.

We also have an excellent record of winning major research grants from funding bodies including the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Nuffield Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust. Our former students have gone on to work in legal practice, international organisations, commerce and industry, NGOs, and academia, including the School of Law at Essex.

Your future

Our School of Law research graduates have gone on to a wide variety of careers including those in international and intergovernmental organisations, governments throughout the world, commerce and industry, non-governmental organisations and, as might be expected, in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Which department am I in?


Study options

Full Time (4 years)

Tuition fees
£17,050.00 (US$ 20,568) per year
The fee mentioned is for October 2022, January 2023, and April 2023 start date. April 2022 start date: £ 16,230. Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

This is a fixed fee

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Application deadline

Expected February, August 2023

Start date

January 2023, April 2023


Colchester Campus

University of Essex,

Wivenhoe Park,



CO4 3SQ, England

Entry requirements

For international students

You will need a Masters degree in law and a first or 2:1 LLB honours degree, or equivalent. A well-developed research proposal is also essential. If English is not your first language, we require IELTS 6.5 overall, and 6.5 in writing, with a minimum of 5.5 remaining components, TOEFL IBT 88 overall with minimum component scores: listening 17, reading 18, writing 26, and speaking 20.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


About University of Essex

At Essex, students learn to think differently, find new ways of doing things and adopt new techniques for solving problems.

  • World-leading academics in a research-intensive environment
  • Foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees
  • Flexible course structure, students study what matters to them
  • Internationally diverse university

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