You are viewing this course for September start 2024

Founded in 1901, the Department of Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University bases itself on a long, reputable and increasingly varied experience of legal education and academic work. Over the years a large number of well-known legal academics have taught in the department and Aberystwyth law graduates have made their mark in a range of subsequent careers. The Department is confident in its distinctive identity and reputation for high quality teaching, linked to vigorous research activity and carried out in a stimulating and friendly environment. Students benefit from a mature and well-stocked library and generous and up-to-date information technology provision.

A research degree within the Department of Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University gives you the opportunity to explore a specific legal or criminological topic of your choosing under the supervision of leading researchers in their field.

You can study for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in most major areas of law and a number of more specialised topics on either a full-time or part-time basis.

Typical Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements 2:1 Bachelors (Honours) degree in a relevant subject area, or equivalent.

English Language Requirements IELTS 7.0 with minimum 6.0 in each component, or equivalent

Other Requirements Applicants should submit a full research proposal at the point of application

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Course Overview

The Department of Law and Criminology is always keen to welcome research students, who make an important contribution to the Department and University. The Department prides itself on the high standard of supervision provided for postgraduate students. You will find that your supervisor takes a keen interest in your progress, and is always on hand to offer encouragement, guidance and advice.

In recent years many postgraduate students from the Department of Law & Criminology have published their research in the form of books and articles, and members of staff are always happy to give advice to students about publication. There have also been several publications as a result of joint research projects between staff and postgraduates.

Research Training

Research Training is provided to all postgraduate research students, and it is an institutional requirement that appropriate training be provided for research students in accordance with the requirements of either the ESRC or Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB), depending on the subject matter and methodology of your research project.

Requirements for completion for the PhD

The degree of PhD requires a substantial thesis of approximately 80,000-100,000 words. The thesis will be written under the supervision of a member of staff of the Department. Those studying on a full-time basis will also take a course on research skills and strategy to assist them in acquiring the skills which are necessary for academic legal research. If your research project falls within the area of socio-legal studies or criminology you will be required to complete the ESRC-approved Faculty Research Training Programme. This is undertaken in your first year of PhD study and provides training in quantitative and qualitative research methodology and social science research needs.

About this course


A PhD is awarded upon the satisfactory completion of a thesis of about 80,000 - 100,000 words followed by a viva voce examination. The normal period of registration is three years (full-time) and it is expected that the thesis will be submitted within four years of initial registration. Part of the first year is spent undertaking research training, leaving the second and third years for full-time research into your chosen topic.

A PhD enables you to become expert in your chosen subject and to explore the intricacies of your subject in context, be it in law or criminology. In order to satisfy the examiners, you must demonstrate originality of thought as well as detailed analysis. A PhD is regarded as a major stepping-stone in academic and academic-related careers. It signifies that you are capable of undertaking detailed research and of presenting the results of that research in an understandable way. 


The Professional Doctorate or DProf is more appropriate for those pursuing professional rather than academic careers and is designed to allow qualified professionals to study towards a doctorate while maintaining their employment. A DProf will be awarded in recognition of the successful completion of an approved taught programme of study, together with the successful completion of an advanced piece of research. The collaborative aspect provided by a work-based research project provides an ideal opportunity to embed new knowledge in the workplace and ensure that your research is relevant to your sector.

Modules September start - 2024

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Quantitative Data Collection and Analysis (for social scientists) PGM1010 10
Manuscript Skills: Post Medieval Palaeographic and Diplomatic PGM1210 10
Principles of Research Design PGM0210 10
Ways of Reading PGM0410 10

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh