PhD students at the Law School are supervised by academics who are leading experts in their area of law. At least one academic in each supervisory team will have a track record of successful supervisions. For a potential list of supervisors, please see a list of Members of the Law Research Centre.
The Law School prides itself on the levels of support provided to postgraduate research students in the course of their PhD journey. Our academics meet regularly with their supervisees, and work closely with them at all stages of the project, from inception to completion.
The University of Wolverhampton provides a collegiate research environment and first-class facilities to its PhD students, including a dedicated postgraduate research room, access to the University’s Harrison Learning Centre and leading legal databases such as LexisNexis, Heinonline, and Westlaw. PhD students may also apply to access the facilities at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London.
Postgraduate research students are encouraged to present their research to University academics and fellow PhD students at colloquia within the Law School, which provide an encouraging and friendly environment for students to sharpen their research and presentation skills.
Our postgraduate research students are afforded the opportunity to develop their research skills through participation in training events organised by the Faculty of Social Sciences and the University’s Doctoral College.
Our postgraduate research students are also encouraged to participate in the West Midlands Legal Doctoral Network, where they will hone their research and presentation skills and build their networks with researchers in the region.
What happens on the course?
The PhD programme in the School has the following three milestones:
Applicants who satisfy the entry requirements are encouraged to complete the online 'Expression of Interest' form. If the initial application is satisfactory, a conditional offer will be issued and a potential supervisor will be allocated who will provide guidance on the research proposal development.
An interview will take place when the final draft of the research proposal is submitted for approval. The granting of the interview does not imply that the applicant will necessarily be admitted to a research degree programme.
Subject to the satisfactory interview and that the Faculty Research Committee (FRC) is satisfied that: a) the research proposal is sound and has the potential to deliver a postgraduate research award; and b) the proposal is appropriately resourced, the applicant will be admitted to the research degree programme.
All students who wish to study for a PhD are required to complete a progression within 18 months (for full-time students) or 36 months (for part-time students).
The student at the progression needs to produce a paper which summarises his/her achievements on the research programme and outlines future research plans (including research methods), and conduct an oral presentation of the paper at a workshop set up for the progression purpose.
An independent assessor, nominated by the FRC, reviews the paper produced, together with supervisors’ assessment, the student’s presentation and other evidence. On this basis, the assessor will provide evaluative comments and recommendations to the FRC. Upon considering all aspects, the FRC may recommend that the student a) proceed as proposed; b) proceed subject to changes or amendments being made, addressing the concerns raised; c) be placed 'at risk'; or d) change the research degree originally sought.
Towards the end of the research programme, the student will be examined on the basis of a thesis and an oral examination (viva voce). Normally two qualified examiners are appointed, at least one of whom is external to the institution. If the student is a member of staff at the University, then a second external examiner will be appointed.
Following the oral examination, the examiners will make recommendations to the University’s Research Award Sub-Committee (RASC) whether the research degree sought can be awarded.
The University of Wolverhampton (UoW) is home to approximate 23,000 students. The UoW’s research and innovation activities have won the 2013 UK Knowledge Transfer Award, and the 2014 UK Collaborative IMPACT award. It is also the holder of the Athena Swan Bronze Award and the HR Excellence in Research Award.
In the most recent national Research Excellence Framework exercise in 2014 the University of Wolverhampton Law School was once again ranked in the top 50 law schools (which submitted over 10 staff) with 9.3% of research outputs ranked as world leading.
Research degrees in law can provide students with opportunities in a multitude of career paths, including academia, government, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.
The following are some examples of what our students have gone on to achieve with a PhD from Wolverhampton Law School:
Professor Kiarie Mwaura
Prof. Kiarie Mwaura is an Associate Professor of Corporate Governance and Corporate Law at the University of Nairobi and is the Chairman of the Kenyan Transport Licensing Appeals Board under the Judiciary and Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. He has worked previously as the founding Vice Chancellor of Riara University and as a Director of the International Erasmus (European Exchange) Programme at Queen’s University Belfast. Before joining Queen’s, he completed his PhD and taught as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School as well as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington and University of Ghana. His expertise in corporate governance and corporate law has seen him serve as an expert researcher for the International Commission of Jurists’ Expert Legal Panel on Corporate Complicity in International Crimes. Additionally, he has served as a consultant on corporate governance for a variety of local and international organizations, including the Financial Sector Deepening Trust, Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies Regulatory Authority, Institute of Directors, Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya, Champions of Governance Award, Training and Consultant Associates, and Lewis Kamau & Associates. He is widely published and has spoken at many national and international conferences.
Dr Hannah Quirk
Dr Quirk has worked at the University of Manchester since 2005. Her research interests in criminal justice and criminal evidence build on her PhD research (Re-Balancing Acts? An Evaluation of The Changes to the Right of Silence and Pre-Trial Disclosure, 2004) and her previous employment. She worked as Senior Researcher at the Legal Services Research Centre (the research unit of the Legal Services Commission), and as a Case Review Manager at the Criminal Cases Review Commission, investigating claims of wrongful conviction and sentence. In 2005, she spent six months on a research sabbatical at the Innocence Project New Orleans, before joining the Law School at Manchester. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Melbourne, Queen's University Belfast (both 2009) and Fordham University Law School (2012). She has been an executive member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association, organising its 2008 Annual Conference. She was a member of the Independent Monitoring Board and has been a Council of Europe Expert, delivering training on human rights for judge candidates in Azerbaijan.
Dr Peter Yeoh
Since completing his PhD, Dr Yeoh has been based in Kuala Lumpur where he has become a leading authority and heavily published author across a wide range of relevant areas of law. He has also operated as a research authority for leading international firms.
What skills will you gain?
In addition to the regular supervision provided by supervisors, our PhD students will also be provided with training opportunities by the Faculty of Social Sciences and the University’s Doctoral College.
University Research Conference – The University Research Conference is held in June for research active staff and PhD students to showcase their areas of research and exchange research initiatives. Research students are welcome to make presentations during their period of study. Research students are also encouraged to disseminate final results of their research prior to submission.
University Research Training - Students are encouraged to participate in training provided by the Doctoral College not only because of its intrinsic value but also because these sessions may facilitate meetings with post-graduates outside the school.
Teaching Skills Development - At the Law School, we understand that postgraduate research students wish to develop their academic CVs while with us. For this reason, research students are provided the opportunity to undergo teaching skills development. The Law School seeks to ensure, wherever possible, that PhD students have the opportunity to teach on undergraduate modules on the LLB (Hons) programme.
What our students say
“My time at the University of Wolverhampton has been extremely rewarding and productive. All members of staff are always willing to help and guide where necessary, especially my director of studies. Even though I am a part-time doctoral researcher, I still feel like I am part of 'the family', and I am so glad that I chose to conduct my research at this great institution."
Matt Barnes, current PhD student (2016)
"My research journey at Wolverhampton Law School has been incredibly pleasant for many a reason. Not only are the members of my supervisory team extremely knowledgable in my research area, they are also very personable, welcoming and helpful. The ambience of the research community at the Law School is both socially enjoyable and academically stimulating."
Mike J Ogunmiluyi, current PhD student (2018)
Applicants for a research degree shall normally hold either:
• a first or upper second class honours degree, or
• a master’s degree, or
• evidence of prior practice or learning that is accepted by the Dean of Research.
An Applicant whose entry award was not delivered in English, or non-native speaker of English shall be required to demonstrate proficiency in English at least to the level of an IELTS score of 7.0 or its equivalent to be registered as a Research Degree student.
The University is committed to a transparent fee structure, with no hidden costs, to help you make an informed decision. This includes information on what is included in the fee and how fees are calculated and reviewed
The University also offers a range of Bursaries and Scholarships in addition to other financial support packages
Tuition Fees Loan: If you wish, you can take out a Government Student Loan which covers the full course fee. You pay it back once you’ve left university and your income is more than £25,725 (from April 2019). More information on repayments can be found at: repayments.It’s available to eligible full-time higher education students and does not depend on family income.
The amount of the Tuition Fees Loan is paid directly to the University of Wolverhampton by the Student Loan Company.
Visit student finance on the gov.uk website to find out more.
Self-funding: If you don’t want to take out a loan to pay your fees, you might want to take advantage of the University’s scheme to pay by instalments: see How to Pay.The funding available to you depends on when you started your studies and if you have been to University previously.