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Ph.D law is one of the professional doctorate degrees are considered the highest possible formal degrees. Ph.D law can positively enrich your resume and, in turn, your career.
Law students are allowed to practice Law after a three year Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in the U.S. In the U.K., the undergraduate degree for Law also called an LLB (The LLB is an abbreviation of the Latin’ Legum Baccalaureus’, which translates to a Bachelor of Laws degree).
A Ph.D. in Law is an optional next step. It is research-intensive and ideal for students wishing to further their careers in academic research in the field of Law. Having a Ph.D. means that you are an expert on your subject, and this can make you very employable to, perhaps, specialist public bodies or niche law firms.
Pre-requisites of Ph.D Law
The prerequisites for admission to a Ph.D. program are a Juris Doctorate / LLB or a Master of Laws degree. Most institutes would require students to have gained at least some professional experience of practicing Law.
Many accredited universities welcome applications from those individuals who have research interests in interdisciplinary fields. A Ph.D. in Law allows them to receive advanced training in Law and these other fields, promoting a sound education.
Time required for Ph.D Law
The average Ph.D. in Law program takes three to four years to finish and may take longer depending on if the student is enrolled part-time or full-time. The curriculum comprises coursework, assessments, and examinations, and students must complete a thesis/dissertation.
Students can earn a doctoral law degree alongside a Juris Doctorate as a dual degree program. Students enrolled in dual programs may complete law school in three years and doctoral work in six years if enrolled full-time.
Major research areas for Ph.D Law
A wide range of research areas is available for a Ph.D. Law program, The curriculum may include specialization courses in the following areas;
- Commercial and Financial Law: All aspects of retail, corporate and financial Law accommodating diverse research interests. These include corporate governance, banking regulation, investment & economic Law, Commercial Law, sale of goods, bankruptcy and insolvency, arbitration, regulation of financial and capital markets, etc.
- Criminal Law, criminal justice, and criminology: pursues research into criminal justice systems and criminological issues. Students can choose to explore relevant areas such as policing, crime prevention, victims, youth justice, cyber-crimes, and offenders’ supervision.
- Employment law: Labour law mediates the relationship between workers, employing entities, trade unions, and the government. Modern research in employment and labor law explores new boundaries within the growing incidence of technology, globalization, and social media, with redefined roles for both employees and employers.
- European Law and Policy: This field of study can look at unique aspects of Law for those in the European Union, international public Law, or private international Law.
- Human rights: Research work focuses on Freedom of religion or belief, Freedom of expression, Women’s Rights, Minority rights, etc.
- International Law: Earning a Ph.D. in International Law gives students the foundation necessary for a career in business and government work that crosses international boundaries. Graduates will study and research laws that are universal to most countries.
- Medico-legal: This considers all aspects of the Law relating to medical treatment. These include, but are not limited to, ethical issues, professional regulation, clinical negligence, medical treatment and the family, parental rights, human rights and healthcare, body ownership, reproductive rights, Law & technology, and autonomy.
- Private Law: Private Law is that part of a civil law legal system, which is part of the jus commune that involves relationships between individuals, such as contracts and torts, and the Law of Obligations.
How much it costs for Doctorate in Law
For U.K. students, the tuition fee for a Ph.D. varies between £3,000 to £6,000 per academic year. However, for international students that now include the E.U., the program cost is £19,596.
The cost of PhDs in the USA can vary between $28,000 to $40,000 per year. But many students can get funding for much, or all, of their studies. For example, at Yale Law School, Ph.D. students receive a full-tuition waiver, a health award for health insurance coverage, and a stipend to cover their year-round living expenses, as well as support for participation in national and international conferences.
Career opportunities for Ph.D Law
Nowadays, a simple LLB or B.A. alone might not be enough to score fulfilling positions in the competitive job market. A Ph.D. in Law can open doors to rewarding careers in teaching Law and legal research alongside usual practice.
For individuals hoping for diversity and a chance to explore alternate career paths within the field of Law, a Ph.D. is a good option. However, in terms of income returns working in private or public sectors pays more than a college lectureship.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data, Postsecondary law teachers made a mean annual wage of $130,710 in May 2018, compared to the mean annual salary of $144,230 for lawyers in the same period, mean wages exceeded $200,000 in some private sectors.