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Course content

The Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Studies is a one-year full-time (or two-year part-time) research course and is awarded on the basis of a dissertation 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.

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 dissertation 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.


The course is exclusively by independent research. The proposed research topic is considered by the Degree Committee during the application process. While individual arrangements vary, the student should normally receive one-to-one supervision at least once a month.


Supervisors are required to submit termly reports to the Student Registry, which students can access online via their self-service accounts on CamSIS.



A thesis, not exceeding 30,000 words in length, including footnotes, but excluding appendices and bibliography, shall be referred to two examiners (one of whom will be an external examiner), appointed by the Degree Committee, who may, at their discretion, examine the student orally on the thesis and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls. Each examiner shall submit a separate report to the Degree Committee on the student's thesis, and the examiners shall submit a joint report on the student's performance in the oral examination, if held. The Degree Committee, after considering the reports of the examiners, shall resolve whether or not the student is entitled to be awarded the Diploma.

Funding Opportunities

For detailed information about all possible funding sources (Faculty funding, University funding, and College funding) please refer to the Diplomas in Law page on the Faculty of Law's website and the Funding page on the Graduate Admissions Office website.

General Funding Opportunities

Apply using the Applicant Portal

The Apply Now button on the right will take you to the Applicant Portal, where you can create and submit your application and supporting documents, and request references.

An application is only complete when:

  1. you have submitted your application and supporting documents via the Applicant Portal
  2. you have paid the £60 application fee
  3. your referees have provided their references.

If you miss the deadlines specified in this section, you will not be able to submit your application.

Other criteria for admission

  • Suitability of proposed research to Cambridge
  • Availability of suitable supervisor at Cambridge

Although applications for the Diploma in International Law open on 3 September, they are considered as a gathered field after the course deadline has passed. The majority of decisions are made by the end of April.

Applicants should be aware of funding deadlines which may be earlier than the course deadline. Late applications will not be considered for funding, even if made within the course application deadline.

Selection Process

An interview (either by Skype, telephone or in person) may take place before any decision is made whether to recommend to the Graduate Admissions Office that a formal offer of admission is made.

Further information on How To Apply

Visit the PG Dip Legal Studies page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!