The Master of Philosophy in Law (MPhil) entails the writing of a supervised thesis of up to 30,000 words, as well as completing a course in legal research method. The MPhil is a three term full-time programme with a residence requirement for three terms from the date of admission. The submission deadline for the thesis is 1st August (or the preceding Friday, if 1st August falls on a weekend). The MPhil thesis must make a worthwhile contribution to knowledge and or understanding in its field.
As with our DPhil programme you will be assigned a supervisor who will meet with you to discuss and provide feedback on your work. All research students in Law must follow our Course in Legal Research Method (CLRM). The examination method for the thesis is the same as that used for the DPhil – two examiners are appointed who read the thesis and hold an in-depth oral examination, known as a viva voce, with the candidate. Unlike the DPhil, MPhil candidates can be awarded a Distinction.
Going on to the DPhil in Law
For those interested in taking their research further, the MPhil year can also double as the first year of the Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) programme, thereby exempting you from the Probationer Research Student stage which you would otherwise be required to undertake. Students following this route submit a DPhil research proposal at the same time as submitting the final MPhil thesis and if the material submitted passes the relevant assessement, are then admitted to DPhil status. Subject to certain regulations you can incorporate the MPhil thesis into the final DPhil thesis.
The induction programme is usually held in the last week of September and comprises Bodleian Law library and IT induction sessions and an orientation session (see last year's programme) for all new research students. During October the Social Sciences Division also holds a welcome event for all new research students.
The Library has 24 networked computers, giving access to all the online resources within the Library and University. There is a Graduate Reading Room, a large seminar room, two IT rooms, and three small ‘discussion rooms’ for private study or group work
Opportunities for teaching and training
Once a year the Law Faculty runs a two day graduate teaching skills programme - the Preparation for Learning and Teaching at Oxford (PLTO) programme. Research students who complete the course are listed on the Faculty’s Teaching Register, a resource for Faculty members. Students must complete the PLTO if they wish to undertake teaching for the Faculty. We also offer Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) which provide DPhil students with opportunities to teach on undergraduate options within the BA in Jurisprudence.
All research students must complete our Course in Legal Method (CLRM). Satisfactory completion of the course requires 32 hours of seminars attendance, an oral presentation and submission of a 2000 word written presentation based on the oral presentation. The CLRM programme runs during Michaelmas and Hilary. The Law Faculty has a wide range of discussion groups where you will have opportunities to present your work and to share ideas with fellow students and Faculty members.
Student Pastoral and Welfare support: In addition to the pastoral support provided by college advisors, the Faculty seeks to support students by various means. Each programme has dedicated administrative support and the administrators in question will be able to help and advice students on a range of matters relating to their studies, or point them towards dedicated sources of support elsewhere in the University. Academic Supervisors and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies - Research can also serve as a source of support.
Apart from these more general roles, the Faculty also offers support in certain specific areas (for example, Disability Contacts and Harassment Advisors).