Our Master of Jurisprudence (MJur) postgraduate degree is a research-based programme of study centred on completing a thesis of up to 50,000 words on an approved subject in the field of Law. The MJur is a great option for students that would like to pursue a specific area of law in greater detail without undertaking the longer degree of a Doctor of Philosophy. Former Durham MJur students have gone on to successful careers in academia and the legal profession, whether as solicitors or barristers. Please see a list of our recently graduated students and their theses here.
Most MJur projects range between 20,000 and 40,000 words. The programme is one-year in length and students are normally expected to be resident in Durham. Part-time study over two-years is available. MJur students are supported in the same way as PhD students with a dedicated supervisory team and full access to the research facilities and opportunities that the Law School offers.
In order to apply for a MJur, students must meet our entry requirements, detailed below. Once students have checked that they meet the conditions, they should contact a member of staff with a view to them acting as supervisor. When contacting staff, students should share with them a research proposal so the potential supervisor can understand fully the nature of the proposed study.
Once accepted onto the programme, students will be inducted into the University and the Law School. Please note that all induction events take place in October, although there is also a limited intake of new students who begin their studies in January or April; we accept applications year-round on a rolling basis to accommodate this.
In order to be admitted onto the MJur programme, students must satisfy the following entry requirements:
You must have a relevant Bachelor's degree or equivalent overseas qualification. Where that degree is in a discipline other than Law, you must demonstrate a sufficiently deep understanding of the relevant areas of the law or legal thought, which will usually require your degree to have included a substantial Law component. Our minimum standard for admission is a good Upper Second Class Honours degree (i.e. an average of 65 or above) or equivalent. Please note: we require a copy of your academic transcripts, with a breakdown of your module results before we can process your application.
If you are not a native English speaker, you must demonstrate competence in English. Our minimum standard is 7.0 on every component of the IELTS test. Students must achieve this standard before commencing studies. If your most recent IELTs test is more than 2 years old, it will need to be taken again. Applicants whose entrance qualifications were studied in English in certain countries within the last two years are not required to submit evidence of English language proficiency.
In addition to satisfying our entry requirements, applicants must also submit the following documents when they apply.
You must submit a current CV
You must provide a picture of the photo page of your passport.
You must supply two academic references from within the past two years. We may also accept one professional reference and one academic reference. Applicants should not email references to us themselves. Each reference must be either emailed by the referee directly to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or uploaded via the application system. All references must be on headed paper and clearly dated.
You must submit a satisfactory research proposal of no more than 2,000 words, excluding bibliography. Details of the content of a research proposal are explained below. Acceptance is dependent on whether we have the necessary academic expertise in the School. Students must make informal contact with a potential supervisor to discuss their application and research proposal at an early stage. Please note, however, that such contact does not necessarily mean that you will eventually be accepted.
Students must ensure they include all relevant documentation when applying. Any incomplete applications will not be processed.
Your application must include a proposal for the research project you wish to undertake. Without this your application cannot be considered. The UK system of research degrees is driven by the student's own choice of project, rather than projects being dictated by supervisors.
Your application must name the member of academic staff within the Law School whom you believe could act as your primary supervisor. To identify a member of staff please consult the list of Areas of Research Supervisionand then approach the identified person to ask whether they would be willing and able to supervise you. You are advised to discuss your draft research proposal with this person in advance of your application. This will strengthen your proposal and will increase the likelihood of acceptance onto the programme. Your application should clearly state with which potential supervisor you have discussed your proposal.
As part of the application process, you may be requested to amend your proposal before we come to a final determination on its suitability.
The research proposal must include an explanation of the research context (i.e. the state of the current research), set out the research questions to be answered in the thesis, and explain the sources and methods that are to be used.
A good MJur proposal will:
Introduce your proposal by explaining the ‘research problem’ that your study intends to address. Tell us why it is an important and interesting area for research and how it relates to your own interests/previous research.
Provide a brief review of the literature that shows your familiarity with current knowledge of the ‘research problem’. Tell us how your research will fit with the existing academic/legal/policy literature.
Identify the gap in current knowledge on which your project will focus.
Formulate clear research questions.
Explain how your methodology and approach will enable you to address your research questions.
Most legal research is literature-based. If, however, you propose to conduct empirical research, then you will need to describe your methodology and proposed methods for sampling, data collection and data analysis, showing how these will allow you to address the research questions. A social science methodology should be supported by reference to the research methods literature. You will need to pay attention to ethical considerations and indicate how you will address them.
Provide a research plan showing how you would conduct the research over the period of your MJur.
Explain the relevance of your previous experience to the project and what impact your research could make (e.g., to policy/practice as well as knowledge).