Admission | Law

Admission

Initial enquiries

If you are interested in finding out more about the research programs that we offer, the research interests of our staff, the entry requirements for our programs, the availability of scholarships for research students, how to apply or any other information that you may require, please contact Jenny Jarrett on j.jarrett@unsw.edu.au or 02 9385 3821.

How to apply

There are two ways that you can find out if you are eligible for admission to a research program in the Faculty of Law at UNSW.  You can either submit an Expression of Interest / EOI [ download as .doc or .pdf  ]  to the Faculty of Law or you can submit a formal application with the Gradudate Research School at http://research.unsw.edu.au/how-apply-enrol-research-degree.  The aim of the EOI process is to provide an informal assessment of your eligibility for one of our research programs, without the need for you to provide certified copies of your transcripts or to pay a fee.

If you intend to apply for a scholarship we recommend that before you submit an EOI you visit the following websites to find out the closing dates for postgraduate research scholarship applications:https://research.unsw.edu.au/postgraduate-research-scholarships and https://research.unsw.edu.au/key-dates.

If the closing date for a scholarship application is less than 6 weeks away from the time that you are considering applying for admission to one of the research programs in the Faculty of Law, we recommend that you directly lodge a formal application with the GRS, instead of submitting an EOI with the Faculty of Law.  The reason we recommend this course of action is because the University will not consider a scholarship application from a potential candidate, unless they have also submitted a formal application. 

If you choose to submit an EOI please email Jenny Jarrett (j.jarrett@unsw.edu.au) with the following information:

  1. A completed EOI form [PDF 87KB]
  2. Academic transcripts for all previous degrees (at this stage it is not necessary to provide certified or original copies) and copies of grading systems for each institution and degree;
  3. A research proposal - please see below for information that is to be included in a research proposal.  For information on the research interests of the academic staff of the Faculty of Law please visit: Faculty of Law Research Interests . The UNSW Learning Centre provides information on preparing a research proposal at: lc.unsw.edu.au/onlib/thesis.html(This link is no longer available) and a literature review at: lc.unsw.edu.au/onlib/litrev.html
  4. Resume/Curriculum Vitae including details of publications and previous research experience;
  5. If appropriate, any evidence of your English ability that you might currently have available such as a recent IELTS or TOEFL result, or evidence of previous study in English or of Australian residency.  If you require further information on UNSW’s English language requirements, please visit the following website: http://www.unsw.edu.au/english-requirements-policy.

An acknowledgement will be emailed to you after your EOI is received by the Faculty of Law. Please allow at least 4 weeks for your EOI to be considered.  You will be informed whether or not you should make a formal application for admission to one of our research programs by email.  If you require any further information in relation to the above, please contact Jenny Jarrett on j.jarrett@unsw.edu.au.

Prior to submitting an EOI, candidates should also work through the following steps:

Step 1:  Check that you meet the academic entry requirements

PhD: The minimum academic entry requirement for the PhD is:

  • A undergraduate law degree to an acceptable level to the Faculty Higher Degree Committee (generally honours 1 or equivalent)
  • A postgraduate law degree to an acceptable level to the Faculty Higher Degree Committee (generally a Distinction average is required, plus proof of successful research)
  • In exceptional circumstances, candidates with qualifications in disciplines other than law will be considered.

SJD: The minimum academic entry requirement for the SJD is:

  • To be eligible for entry to the LLM by coursework component of the SJD program potential candidates must satisfy the conditions for admission to the LLM by coursework.
  • A University of New South Wales Master of Laws by coursework degree with a minimum of a Distinction average and a viable research topic for which the Faculty can provide appropriate supervision, is required to articulate to the SJD program. 

LLM by Research: The minimum entry requirement for the LLM by Research is:

  • An undergraduate law degree to an acceptable level to the Faculty Higher Degree Committee (generally LLB Hons 2(1)
  • A Masters of Laws by coursework with a minimum of a Distinction average.

Step 2: Prepare a Research Proposal 

PhD Applicants

At UNSW and other Australian universities, it is standard practice to ask applicants to submit a research proposal.  The reason that applicants are requested to provide a research proposal is to determine whether the Faculty can provide adequate supervision and resources to support your research.  The research proposal should be approximately 5 to 6 pages in length and should include the following information:

  • Proposed title of research thesis,
  • Aims of the research thesis,
  • Background of the research, including literature survey, a statement of the expected significance of your research, and an outline of your research methodology.

The UNSW Learning Centre provides information on preparing a research proposal: https://student.unsw.edu.au/thesis-proposals and a literature review: lc.unsw.edu.au/onlib/litrev.html.

The above information will assist us in considering your eligibility for the research program of your choice.

If you are accepted into the program, the topic may be reviewed or refined during the course of your enrolment.  The proposal is also used to assess your capacity to undertake research.  Your proposal should demonstrate:

  • Your research question and whether it is capable, in principle, of driving a research project of the required standard, i.e. one that will result in a significant and original contribution to knowledge
  • The methodology or methodologies that will be used to explore your research question
  • Is the research question clear and sufficiently narrow in scope in the sense that it is capable of being answered within the confines of a PhD research project?
  • Does the proposed research engage with the existing literature on the subject or practices in the field in a thoughtful way?
  • A good command of the English language.

SJD Applicants

As the coursework component of the degree must be completed before the commencement of the thesis, we would recommend that students intending to articulate to the SJD start compiling their research proposal towards the end of their LLM by coursework. To assist in this process we would recommend that one of the courses you enrol in as part of your LLM by coursework, is LAWS8423 which is a six unit of credit research thesis.  Enrolling in this course will provide you with the possibility of beginning work on your proposed SJD thesis topic and also potentially enable you to find a appropriate supervisor for your proposed research thesis. Alternatively, the topic of the proposed thesis, may be the development of one or more coursework units that you have completed as part of your LLM by coursework and has the approval of the Higher Degree Research Committee of the Faculty of Law.

Master of Laws by Research Applicants

Master of Laws by Research applicants are required to submit a brief research proposal so that we can ascertain whether or not we have appropriate supervision available for the candidate’s research topic.  The research proposal should cover the following information:

  • Proposed title of research thesis,
  • Aims of the research thesis,
  • Background of the research, including literature survey, a statement of the expected significance of your research, and an outline of your research methodology.

The UNSW Learning Centre provides information on preparing a research proposal: lc.unsw.edu.au/onlib/thesis.html(This link is no longer available) and a literature review: lc.unsw.edu.au/onlib/litrev.html.

The above information will assist us in considering your eligibility for the research program of your choice.

Step 3:  Provide a copy of your CV/Resume

This document should include not only information on your education and work experience but if applicable, information on any previous research experience or details of publications.

Step 4:  Be aware of the UNSW English language requirements

All applicants, whether local or international, for admission to any UNSW program, who do not have an assessable qualification undertaken and assessed in English, must provide evidence prior to enrolment that their English language ability meets the minimum requirements for admission.

Applicants will be deemed to have satisfied the English language requirements if they can provide evidence that they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Prior study in the medium of English
  2. Residency
  3. English language tests:
  • IELTS  : Overall minimum score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6 in each sub-test
  • TOEFL - Internet based: Overall minimum score of 90 with a minimum in writing of 24
  • TOEFL - Computer based: Overall Minimum score of 233 with a minimum in the essay rating of 5.0.

UNSW English Language requirements: http://www.unsw.edu.au/english-requirements-policy.

EOI’s can be lodged any time throughout the year.  Once the EOI assessment is completed we will advise you on whether or not to submit a formal application with the GRS.  If we advise you to submit a formal application this can be done by applying online at: http://research.unsw.edu.au/how-apply-enrol-research-degree.

How to track your application once you have submitted a formal application

Once you have submitted a formal application you can track its progress online at: unsw.edu.au/futureStudents/postgradCourse/sad/apptrackfeat.html.

Research Student Scholarships

Information on local and international postgraduate research scholarship opportunities offered by the University and other organisations is available at: http://research.unsw.edu.au/postgraduate-research-scholarships.