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MPhil in Law


he 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.

Please consult the University Graduate Admissions Pages for further information about the course

Postgraduate Research Handbook 2021-22

Course in brief

Course length
1 year

During their first tw terms, all research students in Law must follow our Course in Legal Research Method (CLRM), or the equivalent courses run by the Centre for Criminology or Centre for Socio-Legal Studies for students affiliated with those Centres; more information about the CLRM is provided in the section 'Opportunities for teaching and training below'. As with our DPhil programme, from the start of the course you will be assigned a supervisor who will meet with you to discuss and provide feedback on your work. You will then develop your research, aided by your supervisor and what you learn in the CLRM, culminating in submission of the finished thesis at the start of August. 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.

Student Experience

For those interested in taking their research further, the MPhil can also serve as a foundation for the DPhil. After successful completion of the MPhil, students can proceed to Probationer Research Student status and then full DPhil status (See DPhil webpage for further details) and may incorporate the MPhil thesis into the final DPhil thesis and count the MPhil fees towards the DPhil fee liability.

Find out more about the DPhil



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 40 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).

How to apply

Full information and advice on how to apply can be found on Graduate Admissions


Our academic staff

You don't have to have a supervisor before you apply, but you might like to see which areas our staff work in. Find out more about our research themes.