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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Legal Studies is no longer accepting new applications.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Studies may be awarded by the Degree Committee for the Faculty of Law to a candidate who, after one year of independent research in Cambridge on an approved topic within the field of law, submits for examination a thesis not exceeding 30,000 words inclusive of footnotes but exclusive of appendices and bibliography.

Students are assigned a supervisor by the Faculty's Degree Committee. There is no coursework or formal teaching although students are encouraged to attend the weekly classes provided by the Faculty's Research Training and Development Programme. The course can also be taken on a part-time basis over two years.

The main aims of the course are:

  • to give students with relevant experience at first degree or master's level the opportunity to carry out focused research on an approved research topic in the field of law under close supervision;
  • to give students the opportunity to acquire or develop skills and expertise relevant to their research interests; and
  • to enable students to engage in work which is innovative and at the leading edge of legal scholarship.

A thesis submitted for the Diploma in Legal Studies must afford evidence of serious study and the ability to discuss a difficult problem critically.

An applicant interested in writing a thesis on international law should apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in International Law.


Diploma candidates may apply to continue to the MLitt or PhD by completing and submitting a Postgraduate Application Form to the Postgraduate Admissions Office via the Applicant Portal by the course deadline.

In appropriate circumstances, a student may be allowed to count not more than three full-time terms or five part-time terms towards the requirements for the MLitt or PhD.

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the end of October. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

See further the Postgraduate Admissions Events pages for other events relating to Postgraduate study, including study fairs, visits and international events.

Key Information

12 months full-time

2 years part-time

Study Mode : Research

Postgraduate Diploma

Faculty of Law

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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