The Law School is active in a number of applied research projects and provides doctoral research opportunities and expertise in a wide range of law subject areas. Our research has been determined to be either at the level of 'International Excellence' or internationally recognised in over half of its output, in terms of its originality, significance and rigour.

MRes | MPhil | PhD
Start Date
February and October

The Law School is active in a number of applied research projects and provides doctoral research opportunities and expertise in a wide range of law subject areas.

We are particularly interested in receiving research degree proposals in the following areas (staff names are indicative only): 

  • Construction LawDr Joseph ManteDavid Christie
    • The role of good faith in construction law in uncertain times. How will good faith contribute to developing more transparent, fair and flexible contract arrangements that can withstand unexpected situations – Joseph Mante
    • The impact of relational contracting on effective project delivery – Joseph Mante
    • Public procurement and project funding: the role of third party funders in international construction – Joseph Mante
    • Corruption in international construction: the need for accountability and transparency – Joseph Mante
    • The intersection of construction law and practice: how each supports and develops the other – David Christie
    • Enforcement of obligations and dispute resolution within construction law – David Christie
    • The doctrinal roots of construction law rules – David Christie
  • Contract LawDr Joseph Mante
    • Conceptual issues in contract law and contract interpretation – Joseph Mante
    • Issues relating to adhesion contracts in construction law – Joseph Mante
  • Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure  Val BremnerDr Sarah ChristieLaura Sharp
    • Admissibility of evidence: rules and procedure – Val Bremner
    • The use of dockets in criminal charges – Val Bremner
    • The Moorov Doctrine – Val Bremner
    • Identification Evidence – Val Bremner 
    • Theories of responsibility for action in criminal law – Sarah Christie
    • Inchoate crimes; impossible attempts; the need for harm – Sarah Christie
    • The extent of prosecutorial discretion: transparency, accountability and the scope for legal challenge – Laura Sharp
    • Victims and witnesses in Scotland: is effectiveness and due process being sacrificed to efficiency and crime control – Laura Sharp
    • Sentencing guidelines in Scotland in the light of the trend towards individualised sentencing – Laura Sharp
    • Ensuring fairness for the vulnerable accused - Laura Sharp
  • CriminologyVal BremnerDr Femi Ilesanmi
    • Offender profiling and the involvement of women in crime – Val Bremner 
    • Criminological aspects of counter-terrorism and regional security studies – Femi Ilesanmi
  • Dispute Resolution and AvoidanceDr Joseph Mante
    • Examination of the impact of dispute avoidance strategies on public procurement of infrastructure in developing countries – Joseph Mante
    • Developing dispute resolution strategies for small and medium-sized construction projects in developing countries – Joseph Mante
    • Adjudication in developing countries: the panacea to construction dispute resolution? – Joseph Mante
    • Issues in Alternative dispute resolution, access to justice and the rule of law – Joseph Mante
  • Energy Law and PolicyLeon MollerJohn Karlberg
    • Climate Change Law – John Karlberg
    • Renewable Energy and the Energy Transition – John Karlberg
    • The Just Energy Transition – John Karlberg
    • The regulatory and policy context surrounding unconventional oil and gas projects – Leon Moller and John Karlberg
    • Transboundary extraction of oil and gas reserves – Leon Moller and John Karlberg
    • Development of transboundary resources – Leon Moller
    • Governance of natural resources - Leon Moller
  • Environmental Law – John KarlbergCaroline Nixon
    • Environmental impacts of the Oil and Gas industry – John Karlberg
    • UK and EU environmental law and policy (water, waste, air quality, nature, EIA/SEA, contaminated land) – Caroline Nixon
    • Issues relating to the enforcement of environmental law – Caroline Nixon
    • The regulation of renewable energy, especially the consenting of off-shore renewables – Caroline Nixon
  • European Union Law and European Human Rights – Carole Lyons
    • Brexit: all legal aspects especially role of the Courts (UK and European) in relation to Brexit - Carole Lyons
    • The EU Migration Crisis: especially migration crisis case law, before the CJEU and the ECtHR - Carole Lyons
    • The ECtHR and the legacy of WW 2 / the Holocaust – Carole Lyons
    • Transitional Justice in Europe/Transitional Justice and European Courts - Carole Lyons
    • EU Citizenship law - Carole Lyons
    • EU Human Rights law; The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU - Carole Lyons
    • EU Law including EU Law and Preliminary References (Art 267 TFEU) and The Rule of Law in the EU (and Art 7 TEU) - Carole Lyons
  • Legal Theory, Philosophy and Jurisprudence – Dr Hamish Ross
    • The nature of rights in general, and legal rights in particular –Hamish Ross
    • The nature and characteristics of fundamental legal concepts other than rights – Hamish Ross
    • Children’s rights – Hamish Ross
  • Maritime Law / Law of the Sea – Dr Leon Moller
    • Challenges and developments in the law of the sea / maritime law – Leon Moller
    • Legal aspects of dry and wet shipping – Leon Moller
    • Legal developments and regulation of offshore resources – Leon Moller
  • Medical Law and Ethics – Dr Sarah Christie
    • The legal and/or ethical perspectives on the regulation of assisted suicide – Sarah Christie
    • Autonomy and capacity in medical decision-making – Sarah Christie
    • Legal and/or ethical perspectives in adult or paediatric end of life care – Sarah Christie
    • Foetal rights and foetal personhood – Sarah Christie
  • Property Law – Dr Craig Anderson
    • The protection and recovery of possession of property – Craig Anderson
    • Restrictions on and regulation of landownership – Craig Anderson
    • Systems of transfer of ownership of both land and moveable property, including the interaction between property law and the law of obligations – Craig Anderson
    • The use of comparative law and legal history in modern practice – Craig Anderson
  • Private International Law – Dr David Hill
    • The regulation of contractual disputes and the choice of applicable law – David Hill
  • Professional regulation and access to justice –  Margaret DownieVal Bremner
    • The impact of tribunal fees on access to tribunals in Scotland – Margaret Downie
    • Issues in professional regulation - Val Bremner

Normal entry requirements are a first or upper second class honours degree from a University of the United Kingdom, or from an overseas University, or degree equivalent qualification, subject to the approval of Robert Gordon University. Applicants holding qualifications other than those above shall be considered on their merits and in relation to the nature and scope of the proposed research programme. 

Applicants holding qualifications other than those above shall be considered on their merits and in relation to the nature and scope of the proposed research programme. Applicants will normally register for an MSc/PhD or MRes/PhD with transfer to PhD dependent on satisfactory progress. However, applicants who already possess a Master’s degree which includes a significant research component could be registered directly for a PhD, subject to a satisfactory research proposal, and clear evidence of research expertise. 

English Language

Any applicant whose first language or language of previous University-level instruction is not English must normally demonstrate competence in English. This should be a score of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

We accept a variety of in-country and secure English language tests, find out more:

English Language requirements

Our Pre-Sessional English Programme (PSP) is available for students who have not yet reached the required English level and those who would like to improve their language competency.

Pre-Sessional English Programme at RGU

Please note, some courses may require a higher standard of English than stated in this page. Contact for further information.


For Academic Year 2022/2023


  • Full time - £4,596 per academic year
  • Part time MPhil/PhD - £2,760 per academic year
  • Part time MRes/MSc by research - £2,298 per academic year


  • Full time- £14,850 per academic year
  • Part time MPhil/PhD- £8,910 per academic year
  • Part time MRes/MSc by research - £7,425 per academic year

Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:


Alumni Discount

Robert Gordon University is delighted to offer a 20% loyalty discount on course fees for all alumni who have graduated from RGU.


Student Funding

Postgraduate students will normally make their own arrangements for payment of fees. However, there are a limited number of SAAS funded places on certain postgraduate courses.
There are also sources of funding that are applicable to categories of student.


Scholarships and Financial Awards

You may also qualify for a scholarship or financial award:



For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter. For further information see:

Student Finance


All applications should be made via the University's online application for research students.

Our Research degrees usually start in February and October each year. There is no official deadline for you to submit your application, though we recommend you submit it as early as possible in order to ensure we can help you join us at your preferred time.

Completed application forms should be accompanied by:
  • Two academic references
  • A transcript or mark sheet for all graduate qualifications
  • A draft research proposal, or at least a short summary to indicate the potential area of research (Refer to Section 8 of the Application Form)

For applicants whose first language or language of university education is not English, applications must include:

  • Certificate of English language competency score of IELTS 6.5 in each of the four test components (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking).
  • Students who can demonstrate successful completion of tertiary (university or college) studies in a country whose national language is English, may be exempted from this requirement.


For more information on your proposal and application:

Dr Sarah Christie Research Co-Ordinator

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