About the Course

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a full-time advanced study and research programme, for a three-year period. Each candidate shall submit a thesis on the approved subject within 6 months after the three-year period. This PhD programme has been designed to provide training in advanced and comprehensive legal research methodology. At the same time, it will expose a candidate to the diversity and complexity of intellectual challenges that entails legal scholarship. The programme offers emerging scholars an opportunity to contribute to the development of law as an academic field within and outside Sri Lanka. Furthermore, it paves an alternate pathway into the teaching of law, alongside the existing routes.


The Faculty of Law will allocate a research supervisor for each candidate depending on their preferred area of study. While it may not always be possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students. Depending on the required area of expertise, students may also be assigned with supervisors from outside the Faculty of Law.

Candidates are expected to meet their supervisors routinely throughout the programme to discuss the progress of the research. The Supervisor will work closely with the candidate, discuss his/her work, and provide feedback and advice.


  • A candidate shall undertake full-time advanced study and research in the approved subject. 
  • The candidate shall thereafter submit a thesis on the approved subject consisting of not more than 80,000 words within 6 months of the termination of the three-year period. 

In exceptional circumstances the Senate may grant extension of time for the submission of the thesis, based on the recommendation of the Faculty Board after obtaining the recommendation of the Higher Degrees Committee. 

  • The thesis shall represent a significant and substantial contribution in the particular field of learning
  • In submitting the thesis, the candidate shall demonstrate knowledge on the methods of research, evince competence in systematic analysis, exercise critical and independent thought, and exhibit lucid and scholarly presentation.
  • The candidate shall be required to submit himself/herself to a viva-voce examination on the subject of the thesis.

***The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy may also be conferred on a candidate who has submitted a published work which in the opinion of the examiners, represents a significant and substantial contribution to the field of study*** 

Graduate Prospects

Upon successful completion of the PhD programme, candidates will be able to pursue a range of diverse career paths. Opportunities will be available to take up academic posts, or to pursue post-doctoral research. In terms of other prospects, doctorate holders are able to enter/continue legal practice as advocates and judges, or become legal advisors to the Government Ministries and Departments, Non-governmental Organizations, or Private Companies.


Eligibility Criteria

No person shall be registered for the programme leading to the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy unless such person:

  1. Has obtained the Degree of Master of Philosophy (in Laws) of this University or any other recognized University; or
  2. Has been registered for a programme leading to the Degree of Master of Philosophy in this University and his request to transfer to this programme has been recommended by the Supervisor and approved by the Senate; or
  3. Has obtained a ‘B’ grade in the written papers of the coursework and in the extended essay of the examination leading to the Degree of Master in Laws of this Univerisity; or
  4. Has obtained a First or Second Class Honours, the Degree of Bachelor of Laws of the University of Colombo or any other recognised University, and the Senate has approved the direct registration to this course.


However, a candidate may be admitted to the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, if he,

  1. Has been a registered postgraduate student of the programme leading to the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the University of Colombo,
  2. Has thereafter pursued in the University an approved programme of research of at least three years duration, provided the minimum period stipulated shall not apply to teachers of the Faculty of Law,
  3. Has paid such registration, tuition, supervision, examination and other fees as are prescribed by the Council; provided that a teacher in the Faculty of Law shall not be required to pay the registration and supervision fees, and 
  4. Has,
    1. Presented a thesis acceptable to the examiners embodying research or, a subject approved by the Senate and,
    2. Satisfied the Board of Examiners at a viva-voce examination.


Fees and Funding

The total breakdown of costs for the PhD Programme is as follows: 


Course fee: Rs.775,000/=
Examination Fee: 150,000/=

The Faculty of Law offers several scholarship packages to students. The availability of these scholarships will be announced through the Faculty website. The award of these scholarships will be a highly competitive process based on academic merit.

Application for 2023 Intake is over now