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Can you do a Law PhD without a Master's?

Hi,

I'm planning to do a part-time master's and PhD when I finish my undergrad law degree. However, I want to do it in legal history, so it would have to be a research master's (as most unis don't offer courses in this for taught degrees), and my options for a part-time research master's seem to be limited to Edinburgh's LLM by Research. If I don't get accepted to that, would I be able to apply to PhDs without a Master's? I know some require it, but some just say "normally" or "preferred". Given that legal history is quite niche so it's hard to find a master's in it, might they make an exception? I've seen some LinkedIn accounts where this seems to be the case. My undergrad is at Oxford so we've done some extended essays if that counts for anything. I'm also doing the LLM Legal Practice next year, but that's mainly just SQE prep so I'm also not sure if that would help at all.

Thanks in advance for any help! And if I'm being delusional/uninformed please let me know, I don't know anyone going down this route so I'm just trying to figure it out lol
Original post by ginevrafanshawe
Hi,
I'm planning to do a part-time master's and PhD when I finish my undergrad law degree. However, I want to do it in legal history, so it would have to be a research master's (as most unis don't offer courses in this for taught degrees), and my options for a part-time research master's seem to be limited to Edinburgh's LLM by Research. If I don't get accepted to that, would I be able to apply to PhDs without a Master's? I know some require it, but some just say "normally" or "preferred". Given that legal history is quite niche so it's hard to find a master's in it, might they make an exception? I've seen some LinkedIn accounts where this seems to be the case. My undergrad is at Oxford so we've done some extended essays if that counts for anything. I'm also doing the LLM Legal Practice next year, but that's mainly just SQE prep so I'm also not sure if that would help at all.
Thanks in advance for any help! And if I'm being delusional/uninformed please let me know, I don't know anyone going down this route so I'm just trying to figure it out lol

PhDs are like an open competition - best fit wins, and the subject of the research proposal is key. So there are no fixed rules about what is required in terms of undergrad or Masters, the important thing is can you convince that as well as an interesting research proposal, you have the skills to do the research. Normally a masters will give that greater evidence of research ability. But you don't have to have a Masters in Legal History to do a PhD on legal history. you could do any related legal Masters - ideally one that perhaps isn't practice-focussed, or any history masters, where the dissertation was on legal history. Looking at it in that broader perspective may give you more options.
I agree with the second comment. Though a masters isn’t a requirement for a lot of PhD’s, it does give you research experience that you might not have achieved as much throughout your undergrad. I do just want to add as well, PhD programmes are incredibly competitive, so you have to think about who you are competing with, and unfortunately a lot of people will now have a masters degree. I would suggest trying to do a masters, if you can. And you can still apply to PhDs before whatever masters you choice start.

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