Doctoral Studies at Edinburgh Law School

Doing a PhD at Edinburgh Law School

Edinburgh Law School’s PhD programme seeks to train the future world leaders in law and criminology research.

A PhD at Edinburgh Law School involves undertaking independent research, culminating in the submission of a 100,000 word thesis, which should be an original piece of work that makes a significant contribution to knowledge in a chosen field of study and contains material worthy of publication.

PhD students will also develop the skills to communicate your findings to a wide variety of audiences.

Training and support

We offer a supportive environment for PhD study. You will benefit from:

  • supervision by a team of experts in your chosen field of study
  • a PhD training programme which provides a basic foundation in legal and criminological research methods, as well as key transferable skills
  • opportunities to undertake individual advanced training that is necessary for a particular research project
  • the chance to integrate with a community of established researchers and benefit from a rich and diverse intellectual environment.
Find out more about training and support.

Subject areas

PhD supervision is available across an extensive range of legal and criminological subjects. If you have a particular PhD topic in mind, you can find out if we have a potential supervisor for you by looking at the Research Fields web pages.

Browse research fields. 


Once your registration has been confirmed at the end of the first year of the PhD programme, you will have the opportunity to engage in a range of academic-related activities alongside your studies, including research assistance and teaching.

PhD students are also encouraged to attend seminars and conferences at other institutions in order to disseminate their research findings. The School makes some funds available to each research student for the purpose of research-related travel during the prescribed period of study. 

The PhD student community

Edinburgh Law School has a diverse and dynamic PhD student body, which is very active in organising academic and social events. The student body also elects the Postgraduate Research Student Board to further the interests of the postgraduate research student community and to serve as a link between research students and the staff in the Law School.


By becoming a PhD student at Edinburgh Law School, you will be joining an ambitious and successful community of scholars.

Our PhD students go on to pursue careers in a variety of fields. Many of the former students have gone on to undertake an academic career in law or criminology at leading universities around the world. Others have also gone on to work in private practice, for national governments or for international organisations.