SOAS University of London

School of Law

Law Research Degrees (PhD/MPhil) (2021 entry)

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The School of Law accepts candidates for research work leading to a PhD. The central feature of PhD work is the close relationship between the doctoral candidate and his or her supervisor, in which they meet regularly and consult closely. This relationship is supported and strengthened in various ways. Every doctoral candidate has an adjunct supervisor, another member of staff with a close interest in the candidate’s region and/or subfield of the discipline.

There is a departmental director of doctoral studies (research tutor) with overall responsibility for doctoral candidates who is available for a discussion of general problems. In addition there are a number of other activities which contribute to a doctoral candidate’s work and training. All incoming MPhil/PhD candidates are required to take the School of Law’s Research Methods Seminar Programme in their first year.

Doctoral candidates are encouraged to contribute to the research activities of the department. Several of them are active in the various Research Centres run in the School of Law and are encouraged to participate in conferences and other projects organised by the department. Doctoral candidates are expected to participate in the School of Law PhD Colloquium which is held once a year. The colloquium, which is organised by a committee of PhD acandidates, gives doctoral candidates the opportunity to present their research and progress to colleagues and staff.

Many SOAS doctoral candidates spend some time doing field work in the regions of their research. The School, and other members of SOAS, through their various connections with individuals and institutions in the universities and governments of Asia and Africa, facilitate this work with personal contacts and introductions. The School’s language training facilities are also available to doctoral candidates to develop their facility in an appropriate language for research purposes.

Applicants must normally have an advanced degree equivalent in level and content to the School of Law’s LLM or MA.

Applications for admission in September 2021 will open in November 2020. In the meantime, you could contact potential supervisors to discuss your research proposal with them. A list of potential supervisors can be found here

Recent PhD Theses in the School of Law

  • Radin Ariff Taquiddin Radin Amir, The Role of Takaful Business Practices in the Development of Malaysian Takaful Law (2018)
  • Elizabeth Torbe Stubbins Bates, Solving the Conundrum Between Military Training, Prevention and Compliance in International Humanitarian Law (2018)
  • Emilio Ramos Calzon, Patents, Innovation and Free-Riding in China (2018)
  • Laila Fathi, Forgetting the Unforgivable: Amnesties Following the Algerian War of Independence (1962-2012) (2018)
  • Hala Helmi, Maritime Boundary Delimitation in the Arabian/Persian Gulf: A Study of Gulf State Practice in the Light of International Law, With Particular Reference to the Continental Shelf (2018)
  • Kuan-Chuan Huang, Judicial Supremacy in Taiwan: Strategic Models and the Judicial Yuan, 1990-1999 (2018)
  • Sujith Koonan, The Right to Sanitation in India: A Multi-Faceted Right in Search of a Comprehensive Framework  (2018)
  • Sheri A. Labenski, Female Defendants in International Criminal Law and Beyond (2018)
  • Chung-Hsien Lee, Fragmentation, Integration and Sustainable Development: Reflections from the Market-Based Mechanism for GHG Emission Reduction (2018)
  • Kari Lipschutz, Oil Dependence and Access to Environmental Justice in Nigeria: The Case of Oil Pollution (2018)
  • Miyase Yavuz, The Role of Ijtihad in Family Law Reforms of Modern Muslim-Majority States: A Case Study of Morocco (2018)
  • Jinan Yousef Mohamed Abdulrazzaq Bastaki, Refugees No More: The Implications of Citizenship for the Palestinian Right of Return (2017)
  • Nandini Shivany Boodia-Canoo, Assembling a Nation: Law, Labour and Identities in 19th century Mauritius (2017)
  • Gabriela  Marti, Filipino and Indonesian Migrant Domestic Workers in Singapore and Hong Kong: Legal Regulation and Access to Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining (2017)
  • Prince Ndudi Councillor Olokotor, Judicial Attitudes to Enforcement of Transnational Awards Under the New York Convention : A Critical Assessment of the English and Nigerian Courts (2017)
  • Virginie Rouas, In Search of Corporate Accountability : Transnational Litigation Against Multinational Enterprises in France and the Netherlands (2017)
  • Manprit Kaur Virdi, Marriage/breakdown amongst Punjabi-Sikhs in Canada : A Legal Ethnography of Disputants, (Un)official Forums, and Access to Family Justice in Ontario, Canada (2017)

For the full list of selected PhD Theses in the School of Law please visit our PhD Theses page.

Selected Published PhDs

  • Al Khanif, Religious Minorities, Islam and the Law – International Human Rights and Islamic Law in Indonesia (Routledge, 2020). [PhD 2016]
  • Rose Parfitt, The Process of International Legal Reproduction: Inequality, Historiography, Resistance (Cambridge University Press, 2019). [PhD 2010]
  • Janan Al-Asady, Iraq’s Oil and Gas Industry – The Legal and Contractual Framework (Routledge, 2019). [PhD 2016]
  • Jonathan Bashi Rudahindwa, Regional Developmentalism Through International Law: Establishing an African Economic Community (London: Routledge, 2018). [PhD 2016]
  • Vincent Depaigne, Legitimacy Gap: Secularism, Religion and Culture in Comparative Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press, 2017). [PhD 2014]
  • Leila Alikarami, Women and Equality in Iran – Law, Society and Activism (I.B. Tauris, 2019). [PhD 2014]
  • Sonia Zaman Khan, The Politics and Law of Democratic Transition – Caretaker Government in Bangladesh (Routledge, 2017).  [PhD 2015]
  • Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, Criminal Sentencing in Bangladesh: From Colonial Legacies to Modernity (Leiden: Brill, 2017). [PhD 2013]
  • Max Wong, Re-Ordering Hong Kong: Decolonisation and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance (London: Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2017).  [PhD 2005]
  • Mohammad Shahabuddin, Ethnicity and International Law: Histories, Politics and Practices (Cambridge University Press, 2016). [PhD 2011]
  • Jonathan G. Ercanbrack, The Transformation of Islamic Law in Global Financial Markets (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).  [PhD 2011]
  • Flora Xiao Huang & Horace Yeung, Chinese Companies and the Hong Kong Stock Market (Routledge, 2013). [PhD 2010]
  • Amy Kellam, Manufactured Obscurity: The Postcolonial Erasure of Suzerainty and the Changing Legal Status of Tibet (London: Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2015). [PhD 2014]
  • Matthias Vanhullebusch, War and Law in the Islamic World  (Leiden: Brill, Nijhoff, 2015).  [open access e-book]  [PhD 2011]
  • Anita Ferrara, Assessing the Long-Term Impact of Truth Commissions – The Chilean Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Historical Perspective (Routledge, 2014).  [PhD 2011]
  • Maria Federica Moscati, Pasolini's Italian Premonitions: Same-Sex Unions and the Law in Comparative Perspective (London: Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2014). [PhD 2011]
  • Gus Waschefort, International Law and Child Soldiers (Hart, 2014). [PhD 2011]
  • Mara Malagodi, Constitutional Nationalism and Legal Exclusion: Equality, Identity Politics, and Democracy in Nepal (1990-2007) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). [PhD 2009]
  • Emir Kaya, Secularism and State Religion in Modern Turkey: Law, Policy-making and the Diyanet (London: I.B.Tauris, 2012). [PhD 2011]
  • Elisa Nesossi, China's Pre-Trial Justice: Criminal Justice, Human Rights and Legal Reforms in Contemporary China (London: Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2012). [PhD 2010]
  • Ridwanul Hoque, Judicial Activism in Bangladesh – A Golden Mean Approach (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2011). [PhD 2007]
  • Helena Wray, Regulating Marriage Migration into the UK – A Stranger in the Home (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011). [PhD 2009]
  • Robin Wyatt with Nazia Masood, Broken Mirrors. The ‘Dowry Problem’ in India (New Delhi: Sage, 2011). [PhD 2008]
  • Thoko Kaime, The Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Cultural Legitimacy Critique (Pretoria University Law Press, 2009). [PhD 2007]
  • Chao Xi, Corporate Governance and Legal Reform in China (London: Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2009). [PhD 2007]
  • Livia Sorrentino Holden, Hindu Divorce – A Legal Anthropology (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008). [PhD 2004]
  • Robin Munro, China's Psychiatric Inquisition: Dissent, Psychiatry and the Law in Post-1949 China (London: Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2006). [PhD 2005]
  • Ihsan Yilmaz, Muslim Law, Politics and Society in Modern Nation States – Dynamic Legal Pluralisms in England, Turkey and Pakistan (Aldershot: Ashgate: 2005).  [PhD 1999]
  • Xin Zhang, Implementation of the WTO Agreements in China (London: Wildy, Simmonds and Hill, 2005).  [PhD 2005]
  • Leonard Hammer, The International Human Right to Freedom of Conscience - Some Suggestions for Its Development and Application (2002). [PhD 1997]
  • Connie Carter, Eyes on the Prize : Law and Economic Development in Singapore (Kluwer Law International, 2001). [PhD 1999]
  • Prakash Shah, Refugees, Race and the Legal Concept of Asylum in Britain (London: Cavendish 2000). [PhD 1999]
  • Lynn Welchman, Beyond the Code : Muslim Family Law and the Shariʼa Judiciary in the Palestinian West Bank (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2000). [PhD 1993]
  • Naim Ahmed, Public Interest Litigation – Constitutional Issues and Remedies (Dhaka: Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, 1999). [PhD  1998]
  • Taslima Monsoor, From Patriarchy to Gender Equity: Family Law and Its Impact on Women in Bangladesh (Dhaka: Dhaka University Press,1999). [PhD 1994]
  • Bülent Çiçekli, The Legal Reception and Status of Turkish Immigrants in the EU: A Comparative Study of Germany, the Netherlands and the UK (Ankara: Karmap, 1998). [PhD 1996]
  • Shirley Firth, Dying, Death and Bereavement in a British Hindu Community (Leuven: Peeters 1997). [PhD 1994]
  • Gurjeet Singh, The law of Consumer Protection in India – Justice Within Reach (New Delhi: Deep&Deep 1996). [PhD 1993]
  • C.M. Abraham, Environmental Jurisprudence in India (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1999). [PhD 1995]

Academic Staff and their Research

Details of the academic staff and their research.

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Entry requirements

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Fees 2021/22

UK fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2021/22 entrants. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page


First Year


During the first year, MPhil/PhD candidates are required to attend the School of Law’s Postgraduate Research Training Seminar, whose purpose is to introduce them to the principal practical and methodological issues associated with postgraduate legal studies. This course introduces MPhil/PhD candidates to both an array of methodologies, as well as different bodies of legal scholarship and theory. MPhil/PhD candidates are also able to avail themselves of general seminars on research methodology offered by the SOAS Doctoral School.

By the beginning of the third term of the first year, MPhil/PhD candidates are required to hand in a draft Research Plan that is an integrated document based on the methodology paper, research paper, draft dissertation abstract, draft table of contents, draft bibliography and working schedule.


All doctoral candidates are first registered as MPhil candidates. The process of upgrading - that is, upgrading registration from MPhil to PhD - takes place at the end of the first year of study (or part-time equivalent) and involves all members of the Supervisory Committee in the assessment of the candidate's work to date. Specifically, the potential of the work to be developed into a PhD thesis of University of London standard. It is based on the Research Plan and a presentation of that plan to the Supervisory Committee. Candidates who are not upgraded in accordance with this process will not be eligible to proceed to submission of a PhD thesis, although they may proceed to submit for an MPhil at the end of two years of full-time registration or part-time equivalent.

Important notice: Doctoral students will be required to completed Research Integrity Online Programme, as part of their upgrading requirement.

After Year 1

After their first year, doctoral candidates must carefully plan their time so that they can finish their draft thesis well in time before the end of their third year of registration. The process followed by each doctoral candidate is guided by their research project. This may include a period of field research if required by the nature of project undertaken. Doctoral candidates are encouraged to take part in the Law School's research activities and events, including the PhD Colloquium, activities organised by Research Centres, informal reading groups, and the Law School Research Seminar series.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate research tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Research Tuition Fees page.

Fees for 2021/22 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Research Degrees Full-time  Part-time 
UK Overseas UK Overseas
MPhil/PhD £4,486 £20,000 £2,243 £10,000
Extension of Writing-up Status - 3 Terms £990 £990 £990 £990
Visiting Research Students (charged pro rata for termly attendance) £4,486 £20,000 -  -
CHASE AHRC Studentship 2021

Application Deadline: 2021-01-11 23:59

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Studentships


Application Deadline: 2021-01-11 23:59

Elisabeth Croll Scholarship for fieldwork in China

Application Deadline: 2021-04-30 00:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2021-02-15 00:00

Meiji Jingu Japanese Studies Research Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2021-04-20 00:00

SOAS Research Studentships

Application Deadline: 2021-04-30 00:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2021-03-08 00:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2020-06-05 15:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


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