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Course options

  • Qualification

    PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

  • Location

    University of Oxford

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date


  • Duration

    3 years

Course summary

About the course

The Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) degree entails the carrying out of a research project and writing a thesis of between 75,000 and 100,000 words.

The thesis must make a significant and substantial contribution to the field of socio-legal studies. You will be expected to develop a topic that contributes to an understanding of law in society, drawing on empirical data, to a greater or lesser degree, and adopting theoretical and analytic perspectives from any social science discipline, or a combination of disciplinary perspectives.

During the first year you will attend weekly seminars convened by members of staff at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS) on ‘Theory and Methods in Socio-Legal Research’. Part-time students will be able to tailor their study and methods training in liaison with their supervisor, and may attend the seminars over a two-year period. The seminars are intended to develop an appreciation of law as a social phenomenon, to introduce various theoretical perspectives and to consider the variety of practical empirical techniques by which research questions may be addressed.


As a DPhil student you will in the first instance be admitted to Probationer Research Student (PRS) status. In your third term (sixth term for the part-time students), you can apply for transfer from probationary status to full DPhil status by taking a qualifying test (QT) which is assessed by two examiners. This requires you to submit a well-developed research outline plus a substantial piece of written work. A similar exercise then takes place in your sixth term, or later (twelfth term for the part-time pathway), when you report on your progress and submit a substantial part of the proposed thesis for a further assessment, which leads to a confirmation of DPhil status.

Graduate destinations

DPhil students pursue a range of career paths after completion of the doctorate. Many take up academic posts, or pursue postdoctoral research. Some enter legal practice and others develop careers in consultancies, government, regulatory agencies, non-governmental organisations and private companies.

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

£ 24,450per year

Tuition fees shown are for indicative purposes and may vary. Please check with the institution for most up to date details.

University information

University of Oxford

  • University League Table


  • Campus address

    University of Oxford, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2JD, England

Subject rankings

  • Subject ranking

    1st out of 105

  • Entry standards

    / Max 212
    193 100%


  • Graduate prospects

    / Max 100

  • Student satisfaction

    / Max 5

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