Doctoral Programme in Law
The Department of Law enables you to study the challenges facing European law, public international law, and private law, with Ph.D. opportunities across social, cultural, political and economic topics.
Our researchers create strong links during their time here, thanks to our outstanding levels of interaction between faculty and researchers. Close supervision, seminars that are open to all, and active working groups ensure a dynamic exchange of ideas and knowledge, which shapes your research and helps develop your intellectual independence.
The interdisciplinary nature of our Department means that, each year, world famous scholars and leaders in their field visit to carry out research, and to present and discuss their work. Our researchers further develop their skills and understanding through access to these experts.
Applicants are selected for interviews on the basis of their academic record and their research proposal. Your research proposal shows that you are ready to write a PhD dissertation that can be supervised at the EUI. The proposal must be written in English or French and must be no longer than 2500 words (including footnotes, references and bibliography). Longer proposals may be excluded from further consideration.
The proposal should outline the project that you wish to pursue in your PhD dissertation. It should demonstrate command of the state of the art in the field (with references to the literature) and of research methodology within the discipline, formulate a research question and include a short bibliography. Where appropriate it should also include the theory or hypotheses that will be examined or a description of the empirical content and sources of the research project.
The policy of the EUI is not to offer individual guidance and advice on dissertation proposals. You should not contact potential supervisors and ask them to support your application or to provide you with advice. You should instead read the information on research themes supervised by the department and by individual professors. In the application form and in your research proposal you can indicate one or more professors who you think could supervise your dissertation.
Please also consider the following points when framing your research proposal for studies in the Law Department.
- Identify a research question that you wish to explore. The research question can guide you to identifying the main topics for your research, and can also be used to explain why, in your view, the present literature does not address the issue in a satisfactory manner. The research question should also be the basis for you explaining the salience and importance of that question today.
- Do not be overly ambitious in your research plans. A thesis is normally approximately 120,000 words (a 200 page book) so you cannot write a successful thesis on a wide theme, you will necessarily need to focus your research. Both at interview and during your supervision, you will be advised on how to refine your research and focus it, but it helps if at the preliminary stage you demonstrate a capacity for selecting and delimiting a research topic.
- Specify your methodology. In law many theses are based upon reading primary sources (cases, statutes, treaties) and consulting secondary sources. This kind of black letter law research is welcomed, although during your studies you will be exposed to other types of methodologies (e.g. using law and economics). If you feel more comfortable in presenting a project in the black letter law tradition then the methodology component in your research project can be relatively short. Of course the method you choose should reflect the kind of research question you have in mind.
- In terms of resources the library has an excellent collection of monographs and journals, as well as primary materials from most EU jurisdictions and pertaining to public international law. If you are shortlisted for interview the library will check the availability of resources based on your research proposal, but it will be helpful if you consider certain specific material necessary for your research, that you spell this out so that we can ensure the library has the materials you need.
Before starting your online submission, prepare the required documents:
- one or two page CV
- research proposal of 2500 words
- degree transcript(s) issued by your university listing the exams/courses taken at university, grades/marks awarded and (if applicable) the final degree result. You should also attach your degree transcript(s) from previous degree(s). Do not attach or send supplementary documents that are not strictly requested, such as the copy of your official diploma, traineeships diplomas etc.
- International English language certificate
- Copy of an identity document (such as passport or ID card) - JPG format. The copy of your ID document will be only processed by the EUI Administration and the relevant grant authority(ies), it will not be distributed to the EUI Departmental selection committee.
- Recommended: GRE general test scores (EUI code 7395 – Departmental Code 5102 LAW) - Candidates should directly upload the recommended GRE scores (GRE Examinee Score Report/GRE Test Taker Score Report) to the online application form.
Note that attachments must be PDF using standard international fonts (max size 1MB).
For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.