Class format | Law

Class format

Student-centred learning in seminar classes

You will never sit in a lecture theatre among hundreds of others at UNSW Law. We pioneered student-focused, seminar style teaching in Australian legal education, as we believe our students learn best when they’re actively engaged. 

Interactive, seminar style teaching is demanding on students, but also exciting. It requires preparation and pre-reading, but it also facilitates real debate and discussion. In class you will develop skills of reasoning and analysis, argument and negotiation that are critical to your future legal career.

To allow you to develop your confidence and capacity to engage in the interactive seminars, your foundational courses are kept smaller. In addition, to provide you with the grounding necessary to move onto your other core course in your first term of study, Introducing Law and Justice commences in Orientation Week (one week prior to the start of term). This is taught in an intensive format during that week, helping you to grasp the basic conceptual tools needed to study the substantive law subjects. You will learn the principles of statutory interpretation and how to read and interpret case law as well as essential legal writing and research skills.

Class Format

Each compulsory course is usually taught over four hours per week. Class sizes will vary as you progress through the program, giving students an opportunity to experience a range of classes and teaching styles. Both compulsory courses and electives are taught in a variety of formats which may include:

  • Twice weekly daytime or evening classes
  • Weekly daytime or afternoon/evening classes
  • Intensive classes (taught over a condensed timeframe) offered during term, on weekends or over the Summer
  • A combination of weekly and intensive classes

Academic Support

The Peer Tutor Program is offered to all first year JD students to assist them in developing and practising legal skills such as case-reading and statutory interpretation. Senior students are trained to act as paid peer tutors and work with a small group of students for about one hour per week. This program is open to all JD students and is free. International JD students can also enrol in the specialised elective, Legal Writing in Context.


All compulsory courses are offered at the UNSW Kensington Campus (just 7km from the Sydney CBD). Most classes are held in our modern, purpose-built law building which also houses the Herbert Smith Freehills Law Library, Law Student Services, Kingsford Legal Centre, the Law Centres Precinct, and the UNSW Student Law Society. Core classes at Kensington are generally held during the day, and electives are scheduled during the day and early evenings.

We also offer core courses and some electives in the Sydney city (UNSW CBD) campus, in O'Connell Street. Classes in the CBD have a limited capacity and are held in the late afternoon and evening.