The Open University Law School (OULS) provides a supportive, lively and stimulating interdisciplinary research environment for PhD students.

Research activity in the School focuses on the following research clusters:

  • Bran Science and Law
  • Feminism, Law and Gender
  • International Law
  • Law and Belonging: Identities, Citizenship and Justice
  • Law and Religion
  • Law, Information, Technology
  • Legal Histories
  • Space Exploration Analysis and Research
  • The Futures of Legal Education and Practice​

The School welcomes interdisciplinary research and members contribute to research networks across the University. Doctoral researchers are fully integrated into the academic community. Your development is supported through discipline-specific and cross-disciplinary research training, and a PhD teaching scheme. By creating a friendly environment for research, the School supports PhD students at every stage of their research journey.

Key facts

  • There are around 20 PhD students in the Law School, most of whom study full-time.
  • OULS recruits PhD students twice annually (start dates: 1st October and 1st February).
  • The School regularly offers fully funded studentships linked to specific areas of research expertise.
  • Students are engaged in projects, many of them interdisciplinary, that connect to a wide range of research clusters.
  • OULS is a member of the ESRC Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership.


Most of our full-time research students are based at our Milton Keynes campus; for details of residence requirements for different modes of study see Full-time study and Part-time study.

Career prospects

After graduating, OULS PhD students go on to build successful academic careers in the UK or internationally. Other students use the PhD as a platform for continuing professional development in a wide variety of occupations, including professional practice, international, regional and national institutions (including the UN, international courts, the European Union, the Africa Union, etc.) advocacy, and legal consultancy.



Find your research topic

Explore specific areas of research, current and prospective projects, entry requirements, fees and funding, available supervisors, how to apply and contact details for advice.

Feminism, law and gender

Legal education and practice

Legal history


Returning to academia after a significant gap, I was clear that I would only pursue a PhD in a supportive environment. I believe this support and understanding is reflected in the PhD Program well. With issues compounded by the pandemic, the extraordinary support and understanding extended by my supervisors, the Law School, the Faculty, and the Graduate School only cements this. I feel extremely privileged and grateful of being at the OU.

Nishant BeniwalPhD Student, OU Law School