Learn about our PhD

For general details about applying for a PhD at The University of Surrey School of Law, please click HERE.

Doing a PhD at the SCLP

The Surrey Centre for Law and Philosophy (SCLP) is a leading research institution for cutting-edge legal philosophy in the UK, and one of the largest of its kind in the world. Our research fellows specialise in a varied and expansive range of areas, including but not limited to:

  • Meta-Normative Theory and Meta-Ethics generally
  • General Jurisprudence (especially issues in jurisprudential methodology, ontology of law, legal positivism/natural law/interpretivism, vagueness in law, legal interpretation, philosophy of action and responsibility)
  • Practical reason
  • Moral and Political Theory
  • Experimental Jurisprudence
  • The Philosophy of Law and Neuroscience
  • The Philosophy of Law and the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence
  • The Philosophy of Armed Conflict and Just War Theory
  • The Philosophy of Technology and Law
  • Criminal Law Theory
  • Private Law Theory
  • Public Law Theory
  • The History of Legal and Political Thought

A full list of our current research fellows can be found here.

Research fellows run reading groups at the intersections of their respective fields within legal philosophy, and collaborate regularly. One long-running group is on intentionality and the philosophy of action, and fellows are open to forming new groups based on student interests.

The SCLP runs regular, well-attended, seminars throughout the academic year wherein philosophers from around the world present work in progress. These are held both in person, and on Zoom. (Where possible, we run them as ‘hybrid’ events wherein in-person and via-Zoom participation are welcome simultaneously, so that scholars around the world have their voices heard and get a chance to meet our fellows and students). Recent presenters include:

  • Alec Walen (Rutgers)
  • Maria Cahill (UCC)
  • Findlay Stark (Cambridge)
  • Matt Matravers (York)
  • Julie Dickson (Oxford)
  • Raff Donelson (Penn State)
  • Zofia Stemplowska (Oxford)
  • Alex Kaiserman (Oxford)
  • Hilary Nye (Alberta)
  • Cécile Fabre (Oxford)
  • Ralf Bader (Fribourg)
  • Georgi Gardiner (Tennessee)
  • Renee Bolinger (Princeton)
  • Ulrike Heuer (UCL)

To see the full list of SCLP seminars, please click here.

PhD students in legal philosophy at Surrey Law School are Graduate Fellows of the SCLP. Graduate Fellows are encouraged to participate in both the reading groups and in the SCLP seminars. Here’s what a few graduate fellows of the past and present have had to say about the program:

It is really impressive to find out that in the south-east of England there is such a large, excellent, and open-hearted community of lawyers and philosophers who, from diverse traditions of thought, work rigorously, respectfully, and joyfully on jurisprudence. Taking part in the SCLP as a graduate fellow has been an amazing experience of learning and intellectual amazement. (Armando Romero Munoz)

The intellectual atmosphere of the SCLP is second to none. The breadth and depth of the involved scholars has been instrumental in pursuing my research within legal philosophy. I could not be happier with my PhD experience. (Alex Houghton)

Doing my PhD as a SCLP fellow was one of the best decisions in my academic life. The SCLP is a dynamic, friendly, environment that enabled me to pursue my research and engage constantly with other scholars. Even during the pandemic, the centre kept itself busy with online seminars, reading groups, and events. After the completion of my PhD, I carried from Surrey not only my doctoral degree, but also many fond memories and friendships. (Daniel Peixoto Murata)

Being a graduate fellow of the SCLP has been brilliant. I feel privileged to be part of such a tight-knit group of friendly and helpful scholars of law and philosophy. (Simon Palmer)

If you are a Masters student in Law and/or Philosophy, or have graduated with a Masters in Law and/or Philosophy (or some other cognate subject), and are looking to pursue your legal and philosophical interests in a germane and welcoming environment, then please consider contacting one of our co-directors directly (Hrafn Asgeirsson and Kenneth Ehrenberg) and/or submitting an application here. Alternatively, you can click one of the names from the list above to contact any member of the SCLP directly.

Entry Requirements

Applicants are expected to hold at least a 2:1 Bachelors degree along with a Masters degree at a minimum of a merit level in Law, or other relevant discipline, or equivalent qualifications from a non-UK university.

If you are unable to offer these qualifications, you may still be considered for admission if you hold a first-class Bachelors degree in Law, or other relevant discipline, from an approved university, an equivalent from an approved non-UK university, or a professional or other qualification deemed to be appropriate and equivalent.

Deadline: Generally mid-January for entry in October, every year.