Postgraduate Research

Click on the picture for an introduction to the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies by Professor Fernanda Pirie





The Centre for Socio-Legal Studies welcomes applications from students who wish to pursue research in any aspect of socio-legal studies, broadly defined. We offer programmes of study leading to MPhil and DPhil degrees in Socio-Legal Studies and to the MPhil in Law. MPhil and DPhil programmes are wholly undertaken at the Centre, while the MPhil is available to students who have undertaken the BCL/MJur in the Law Faculty and wish to undertake a socio-legal project during the second year of their programme.

The Benefits of being a research student at the Centre

There are a number of benefits to joining us as a research student:

  • Access to a team of expert supervisors who are experienced socio-legal researchers and have an excellent track record in supervising to completion.
  • Centre students are eligible for scholarships from the ESRC through the Grand Union Doctoral Training partnership.
  • The Centre has the largest group of socio-legal students in any academic unit in the UK.
  • Research students take part in a methodology course run by the Centre for Centre students.This gives students the opportunity to engage in expert training while also getting to know staff and their fellow students. The University of Oxford has a wide range of other advanced methodology lectures which students have access to.
  • We place our students at the very heart of the Centre in an open plan office space where they are all allocated a desk and storage facilities.This means that students are surrounded by, and share all the Centre facilities, with staff.These include a kitchen, seminar room, social space and easy access to our team of administrators.
  • Researchers at the Centre have access to two world class libraries that are only a very short walk away.The Oxford University Social Science library is housed in the same building as the Centre and the Bodleian Law Library is next store in the Law Faculty building.
  • Students are given access to research funds for conferences and fieldwork expenses.
  • The Centre has an impressive programme of events which involve guest lectures and seminars, socio-legal masterclasses, reading groups and student run workshops.Students will also be kept informed of events in the Law Faculty and across the University.There is never a shortage of things to go to.
  • We have an active student body which organises weekly social events during term time.Student representatives sit on our General Purposes Committee and other committees where they can draw attention to student views. There is also a tradition of everyone at the Centre meeting for afternoon tea on Thursday afternoons and end of term parties.

How to Apply

Applications for the next round of admission will commence from 2nd September 2019. All applications will be reviewed in one gathered field after the application deadline in January, and interviews take place in February. If applicants have not been contacted for interview by mid-February they should assume their application has not been successful on this occasion. Applicants who have been interviewed will receive the final decision around the end of March from the Graduate Admissions Office.  Admissions information and application forms will be published via the University Admissions website.

Applicants must be interested in thinking about the links between law and society. Members of staff in the Centre can offer supervision of projects in a wide range of socio-legal areas. We appreciate applications for theoretically informed empirical research, as well as more theoretical socio-legal inquiries. When applicants are drafting their research proposal it may be of use to consider whether:

  • They have engaged with existing literature in the field;
  • Identified a body of scholarly work they want to engage with in the course of the research degree and identified a gap in the existing literature that they aim to fill;
  • Specified a clear research question; and
  • Identified likely sources for the research project and indicated what methods they will use in the research.

When naming referees it is beneficial for us to have academic referees who have taught or supervised applicants.

Applicants do not need to contact fellows at the Centre prior to their application in order to identify a supervisor. Supervisors will be allocated in September prior to admission in October once places for graduate research degrees have been taken up.

Will Brexit have implications for my application?

Please click here for further information on Brexit.

Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership studentship

Students finance their fees and living expenses in different ways. Each year a number of applicants to the CSLS from the UK and EU are successful in obtaining funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). UK/EU (resident) candidates can be nominated by the Centre for an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership studentship, for either the DPhil (full and part-time), or the MPhil where students are intending to continue immediately to DPhil study (ESRC funding is not available for a stand-alone Masters programme). Studentships cover fees and maintenance for UK students, and fees-only for EU students. In order to be considered for a Grand Union DTP ESRC studentship, you must select ‘ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentships in Social Sciences’ in the University of Oxford scholarships section of the University's graduate application form.  You must also complete a Grand Union DTP Application Form and upload it, together with your graduate application form, by the relevant January deadline for your course. 

CSLS Student Representative(s) for 2019-20

Lisa Hsin
Sila Ulucay