Deepen your knowledge through our MA, MSc and PhD programmes. The School of Law offers an taught courses in MSc Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Studies, MSc Policing and Security Studies, MSc Forensic Psychology, MA Culture, Consumption, and Marketing, and a wide variety of Social Work programmes. We welcome postgraduate research proposals in law, criminology, sociology, forensic psychology, and social work.
All students who have graduated from an undergraduate programme at Royal Holloway will have an automatic 15% discount on fees.
Law, Forensic Psychology, Sociology, Criminology
We have a growing postgraduate community with an emphasis on engaging with current intellectual debates and the development of skills to enhance employability.
Our postgraduate students enjoy a friendly and stimulating research environment and regular, tailored supervisory sessions.
Many of our postgraduate students are from outside the UK, which provides a forum for exchanging ideas in an international context.
MPhil and PhD
The School of Law is highly regarded for its research and has an active and vibrant research culture.We conduct research on a wide range of subjects spanning law, criminology, sociology, social policy, social work and forensic psychology. Our main research areas can be found here.
To read detailed research profiles of our staff, and find information about their publications and projects, please click here for our Law, Criminology, and Sociology staff. For our Social Work researchers please click here.
To read more about our PhD, click here.
Research Facilities and Environment
Our postgraduate research students enjoy a friendly and stimulating research environment and regular, personally-tailored supervisory sessions. Participating fully in the life of the School, our doctoral students are valued members of a close-knit group of academics.
We provide regular monthly workshops where students take it in turns to present their work and receive feedback from other students and from the Director of Graduate Studies. Additional sessions may be offered on topics ranging from publishing to career choices on completion of a doctorate.
Our lively annual Postgraduate Research Day is always well-attended and gives postgraduate researchers the opportunity to showcase their work to staff and students in the School of Law. We understand the importance of fostering doctoral students' professional skills, and fully support them in presenting papers at academic conferences in the UK and abroad. We are committed to our students' success, providing mock vivas, annual reviews, and personal advice on issues such as managing time pressures and meeting deadlines. Students are also actively encouraged to join one of the School’s four thriving research groups. Many members of the School's postgraduate community are from outside the UK, providing an opportunity for the exchange of ideas within an international context.
Students register for an MPhil and then participate in an upgrade process before the 20th month of their studies if full time (40th month part time). This requires them to submit chapters of their work for consideration by a panel of staff members and then make a formal presentation in front of this panel. Having upgraded students are expected to submit their thesis by the end of their third year, or at the latest by the end of their fourth year if full time (part time by the end of their 8th year).
The School welcomes applications from suitably qualified and highly-motivated candidates. The application process for our postgraduate research programmes is interactive. We place great emphasis on matching prospective students to supervisors’ interests, building on our existing research activities. Interested potential applicants should first refer to our website to obtain a good idea of the School’s research expertise. The School is only able to consider applications in research areas of interest to its full-time academic staff.
In the first instance, potential applicants should prepare a research proposal, outlining the project that they will undertake if accepted onto the PhD programme. This should be at least 4-5 pages long and should include a brief literature review, the key research questions stemming from this review, proposed methodology and a bibliography. Email this research proposal, along with a brief CV, to the Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Jonathan Gabe.
If the proposal is met with interest by a potential supervisor, the Director of Graduate Studies will invite the candidate to discuss their proposal further via email with this person. If the potential supervisor recommends that the candidate should apply, the Director of Graduate Studies will request them to do so. UK-based applicants will be invited to visit the School for an interview while overseas applicants will be interviewed over the internet.
Potential applicants may contact the Director of Graduate Studies with proposals at any stage of the academic year. They can begin their studies at three points in the academic year – September, January and April.
English Language requirements for overseas PhD students to be accepted for study in the School of Law are as follows:
IELTS: 6.5 overall with 7 in Writing and no sub-score below 5.5
PTE: 61 overall with 69 in Writing and no sub-score lower than 51
TOEFL: 88 overall with Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20 and Writing 26
Our PhD programme is very successful and our alumni have gone on to undertake careers in a variety of roles, particularly in the criminal justice, education, and health and social care sectors. Our graduates have also gone on to have extremely successful careers in a variety of Universities including here at Royal Holloway, University of London as well as at other institutions both inside and outside the UK.
Fees and Funding
View our Postgraduate Research degree fees.
Find out about sources of funding.
How to apply
Please click here to apply.
MSc Social Work
This combines class-based academic and practice-oriented teaching with two field work placements, and leads to a professional qualification in Social Work.
MSc/Postgraduate Diploma Advanced Practice (with Advanced Award in Social Work)
This programme is delivered in part-time modules which offers social workers the flexibility to continue their professional development.
We work in partnership with local authorities and voluntary agencies to provide professional courses across health and social care settings.
Professional Doctorate programme
We also offer MPhil/PhD places within all of our research groups, for study on a full- or part-time basis. We accept students throughout the year.
The Professional Doctorate will equip practising health and social care professionals with leadership skills and support original research that leads to advanced practice.
For further information, please contact our Director of Graduate Studies, Dr Frank Keating.
We offer a range of financial support, particularly for low-income families, mature students and care leavers, and scholarships for the most academically gifted, including the Jo Campling Bursary.
The College Research Scholarship also offers a PhD/Professional Doctorate tuition fee waiver at the Home/EU rate for up to three years (full-time) or six years (part-time).
What our graduates say
Dr Chaitali Das
Lecturer, Queen's University, Belfast
I started my PhD in 2004 and successfully defended my thesis in 2009.
The department was extremely supportive in creating a suitable atmosphere for me to carry out my research, by providing me access to a good infrastructure and mechanisms of support from staff and students.
My faculty also helped me create links with other administrative departments in the university where I was later able to get a part time administrative position to support myself.
My supervisor was brilliant. She was sensitive to my needs as an international student and supported me to be able to live and study well at RHUL. She also encouraged and supported me to attend various conferences, apply for grants and subsequently plan my future after my research.
Dr Rick Hood
Senior Lecturer, Kingston University
In 2005-07 I studied for an MSc in Social Work at Royal Holloway, and after qualifying went on to work for a local authority child protection team.
A couple of years later I happened to see an email advertising a number of PhD scholarships funded by the Southwest London Academic Network (SWan). Suddenly I knew that was what I wanted to do!
I contacted my MSc course director, who was very helpful and supportive, and encouraged me to make an application. Then I was fortunate enough to make it through the selection interview.
Along with my lead supervisor, I was also provided with two other supervising academics linked to SWan. They were all brilliant. My lead supervisor was there right from the start and stayed with me through every stage of the process, culminating in the nerve-shredding experience that is the PhD Viva.
Doing a PhD was transformative in many ways. My supervisors encouraged me to present at conferences and publish papers, and gave me opportunities to teach and contribute to other research projects. In the end, it has completely changed my career path.
Dr Jenny Tonsing
National University of Singapore
Doing my PhD study at Royal Holloway has given me exposure to an outstanding academic experience and research environment which has helped expand my intellectual inquiry.
The institutional support and the resources made available for doctoral students for research were excellent. I never stopped working: reading, thinking and writing.
I was fortunate to have a committed and dedicated supervisor. She was exceptional from day one of my doctoral study. She was sensitive to my needs, intuitive, supportive and a superb mentor.
My supervisor's high expectation, confidence in me, and enthusiasm for my research project were the driving force to give my best and to be the best that I can be.