Research students | Law

Research students

New candidate enrolment

If you are a local candidate, once you have accepted your offer for admission to one of UNSW Law's research programs, the Graduate Research School (GRS) will generate an enrolment form which it will forward to the Faculty.  The Faculty will then contact you to advise you that your enrolment form is available for your completion. 

If you are an international candidate, to accept your offer you will need to pay the deposit and accept online at  An enrolment form will then be generated and forwarded to the Faculty.  The Faculty will then contact you to advise you that your enrolment form has been forwarded from the GRS and to organise a time for you to come in to the Faculty and complete the form. Once this has happened, your enrolment form will be forwarded to the GRS for processing.

Twenty-four hours after the GRS have enrolled you, you can collect your student ID card from Student Central  This card is used as proof of identification, to borrow books from the University Libraries, to access the Faculty building and for discounts at University Union food outlets.  If you are a full-time research student you will be allocated a workspace on level 3 of the Law Faculty building. Access to the following areas of Law Building 24 hours a day, seven days a week will be organised for you:

  • Main entrances and Centres corridor
  • Level 2 and 3 corridors
  • Mailroom 273
  • Room 381- HDR offices

If you have been awarded a scholarship, you need to complete the Commencement of Study form and lodge it with the GRS, as soon as possible after you have commenced your studies.

You must be enrolled every semester by the Census Date, unless you are on approved program leave.  Program leave is on a semester basis and this must be applied for and approved prior to the Census Date to take effect in that semester.

The Census Dates for Semester 1 and 2 are as follows:

Semester 1: 31 March
Semester 2: 31 August

Late Enrolment

If you are not able to enrol before the commencement of semester, please contact the Graduate Research School at:

Essential information for new research students


MyUNSW is your gateway to the administrative and information services you need throughout your research candidature.  To access myUNSW you visit:

MyUNSW allows you to:

  • Update your contact details
  • My News and Events brings you the latest news at UNSW
  • My Announcements is where you will find important messages and reminders from UNSW to you – be sure to check these regularly
  • The Thesis Examination Management system for recording and viewing administrative steps in the examination of research theses
  • Research Progress Review system for completing online Progress Review Form and recording outcomes of Review Panel
  • Scholarship pay advices
  • Pay advice for research candidates undertaking paid work at UNSW
  • Handbooks and Guides
  • Pay and view fees
  • View assessment results and academic standing
  • Academic records
  • Graduation information
  • Key links – information and links to other academic, administrative and general student services such as the UNSW Library, Faculty websites and systems, etc.


It is important to check your University email address regularly or to arrange to have this forwarded to an account that is checked often.  Official communication from the University will be sent to this account.  It is your responsibility to ensure that you check this account regularly.  

University Password (UniPass)

You will need to use your UniPass to access a range of services throughout your candidature.  This password is used for gaining access to electronic resources such as email and WebCT.  Information on how to set up your email and obtain a UniPass is available at:

IT Support

If you have any other problems that cannot be solved by visiting the IT Services website, please send an email to, phone them on 9385 1333/1777, or visit them in person on Level 2 of the Library Building (campus map reference E21).

Courses and Programs for New Research Candidates

UNSW Law Research Methods Course

UNSW Law provides a Research Methods Course which each semester.   Attendance at this course is compulsory for all new full and part-time research candidates. For candidates enrolled in the Faculty's PhD program, satisfactory performance in this course is a requirement for Confirmation of Candidature. 

GRS Orientation Program

The GRS offers an Induction for Postgraduate Researchers at the beginning of Semester 1 and Semester 2.  Attendance at these sessions is compulsory for all research candidates commencing a research degree to ensure a smooth transition to research study at UNSW.  All research candidates are expected to attend one of these sessions as soon as practicable after commencing their candidature.

As well, the GRS provides a key publication 'Induction Essentials for New UNSW Postgraduate Researchers'.  This publication provides a useful summary of documents and contacts needed by students during their candidature including:

  • A comprehensive list of services and resources made available by the University,
  • Information on useful contacts,
  • Guidelines, policies and procedures.

All new research candidates will be provided with a copy of this document upon enrolment.  An electronic version of the document can be downloaded from the GRS website.

Research Candidate Reviews

Ongoing enrolment in the PhD program is subject to confirmation between six and nine months full-time equivalent (FTE).  PhD candidates are required to attend a Confirmation of Candidature Review Panel for this purpose.

General information on the requirements of  this Review is included in the  'Progress Review and Confirmation of Research Candidatures Procedure'  which is available at:Progress Review and Confirmation of Research Candidatures Procedure

For this Review doctoral students are required to complete the Research Progress Review Form online and also provide the information set out in section 5, page 3 of the above document. These requirements must be read in conjunction with the attached Faculty of Law Guidelines, which set out the Faculty’s specific requirements for confirmation of a PhD candidature : Confirmation of candidature guidelines.pdf

Once candidature has been confirmed, PhD candidatess are required to attend an Annual Progress Review Panel. Information on this Review is also available in the above document.

Research candidates enrolling in the LLM by Research are required to attend a Review Panel towards the end of their first year of candidature and then on an annual basis thereafter.  Information on the Annual Progress Review is available at: and

Fieldwork Support Fund

The Fund is aimed at assisting students enrolled in the PhD or LLM by Research programs at UNSW Law to undertake fieldwork research, either of a quantitative or qualitative nature (including social surveys, key informant interviews, archival research and data collection).  Applications for up to $5,000 will be considered in the first instance.  Please contact Jenny Jarrett for further details.

Familiarise yourself with the Graduate Research School website

The Graduate Research School (GRS) website is available at:  The information that is available on this website includes:

  • Variation to candidature – if you need to vary your candidature in any way e.g. change from full-time to part-time, take program leave, suspend any scholarships currently held, apply for an extension of your enrolment, withdraw from your program – you need to complete an online Variation to Candidature Form on GRIS.  You can access the system at:
  • Other essential forms for Postgraduate Research Students are available at These forms can be used if, for example you need to extend your visa, vary your course, request a scholarship extension etc. Once completed, these forms should be forwarded to Jenny for processing.

Re-enrolment for continuing candidates

Continuing research candidates cannot pursue their studies unless they are enrolled. Re-enrolment occurs on a yearly basis and must be completed by the end of the University’s re-enrolment period in February or July. At the beginning of each year, the Graduate Research School "automatically" re-enrols candidates - up to a maximum of 2 years FTE for a Masters and 4 years FTE for a PhD – with the following exceptions:


  1. with leave already approved for one or both semesters;
  2. who have submitted their thesis or who intend to submit their thesis prior to 31 March;
  3. who have had their candidature discontinued;
  4. who are currently on leave
  5. who will be overtime after 31 March – ie. 4 years FTE for a PhD and 2 years FTE for a Masters;
  6. with overdue fees;
  7. who will be transferring to another program;
  8. who are subject to the “show cause” process as a result of either:
    • a lapsed candidature
    • failure to attend a scheduled review
    • unsatisfactory progress

Candidates can check whether or not they are enrolled by logging into their student profile at myUNSW to view their enrolment details. (Please note: in My Student Profile chose the Update Your Enrolment option and then click on the Enrolment History button for the relevant semesters to check if you are enrolled).

Please note, that it is your responsibility to ensure that you are enrolled at the start of each semester and that your enrolment record is correct.  Failure to re-enrol each year without approved leave will be regarded as lapsed candidature and you may be discontinued from your program.

Also please note that once you are re-enrolled your previous student card may be cancelled and you may be required to obtain a new student card from Student Central.

Enrolment deadlines

Candidates must be enrolled no later than the semester the census date: 31 March (semester 1) or 31 August (semester 2).  Research candidates who are unable to enrol by these dates should contact the GRS for advice on how to proceed.

Lapsed Candidature

Lapsed candidature refers to candidates who have not formally applied for program leave.  The GRS will notify lapsed candidates.  Failure to obtain the necessary approvals may result in the Higher Degree Committee requesting the candidate to “show cause” as to why the candidature should not be terminated.

Please note: International research candidates on a student visa must be enrolled at all times.  Failure to re-enrol will result in cancellation of the visa.

Full-time and Part-time candidature

Enrolment as a full-time candidate requires a minimum commitment of 35 to 40 hours per week. If candidates have employment or other commitments that prevent them from devoting at least 35 hours to candidature a week (they should enrol as a part-time candidate.  Full-time research candidates should not be employed in a full-time capacity).

Part-time enrolment is 50% of full-time candidature and candidates require a commitment of at least 15 hours per week in order to complete the degree in the appropriate time.  If candidates are unable to maintain this level, progress and enrolment status should be reviewed and discussed with supervisors and the Director of Postgraduate Research.

Please Note:  It is a requirement of international student visas, that candidates are enrolled full-time, unless there are exceptional compassionate and compelling reasons.

Variation to Candidature

The term “variation to candidature” refers to any change in enrolment status that the University needs to formally note as it may affect entitlements, progression or scholarship payments.

The following are variations to candidature that require School and/or Higher Degree Committee and/or Dean of GRS approval.  To apply for any variation to candidature listed below, candidates must complete the Variation to Candidature form online which is available at:

Candidates should apply for a variation to candidature in the following circumstances:

  1. If candidates wish to change between full-time and part-time enrolment
  2. If candidates wish to take leave for a full semester, and/or wish to suspend their scholarships
  3. To apply for an extension of enrolment – if candidates have completed two years full-time equivalent for a Masters, three years full-time equivalent for a SJD or four years full-time equivalent for a PhD.  Please see the information on the Variation to Candidature Form if a longer period of candidature has elapsed
  4. To withdraw from a research degree program

Please note: Changes to candidature must be applied for, and approved by the appropriate course authority, no later than 31 March for Semester 1 and 31 August for Semester 2. Variations will not be granted retrospectively.

Other information and essential forms that candidates may require throughout their candidature are also available on the above webpage and include:

Useful websites and contact numbers

Graduate Reseach School:
Contact number: 02 9385 5500/5502

Contact numbers and email addresses:

Director of Postgraduate Research:
Professor Sarah Williams

Higher Degree Research Officer:
Jenny Jarrett  02 9385 3821

 IT Service Desk:
Contact Number: 02 9385 1333