The UNSW JD is a flexible postgraduate degree that provides the basis for admission to legal practice in Australia, as well as a wide range of careers in government, business, legal and social policy, as well as international relations.  

The JD is a graduate entry professional law degree for graduates of disciplines other than law, or with a law degree from an overseas institution. 

As a JD student, you will develop your legal knowledge in a challenging and dynamic learning environment under the guidance of a world-class Faculty. 

Why choose the UNSW JD?
  • You will set yourself apart with a degree from the Law School ranked 14th in the world in the 2019 QS World University Rankings. 
  • The degree allows you to study law at postgraduate level, accounting for the maturity and proven proficiency of JD candidates in tertiary study. 
  • We offer JD-only classes throughout the compulsory component of the degree to enable you to establish a strong collegial network with classmates from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. 
  • The JD can lead to admission to legal practice internationally and is valued by employers around the world. 
  • UNSW Law is a leader in experiential learning and clinical legal education and we are proud to offer you Australia’s leading and largest range of experiential opportunities. 
  • Included in our extensive list of electives are courses that offer sustained and direct engagement with legal practice in the form of internships and specialist clinics, as well as national and international mooting competitions. 
  • We offer extensive opportunities for students to study other countries’ legal systems through our overseas electives in China, the USA, Switzerland and Chile. 
  • UNSW Law is the first law school in NSW to offer an in-house careers service, dedicated to UNSW Law students and alumni. The service includes one-on-one counselling sessions, a jobs board and a range of resources, presentations and workshops aimed at maximising your employability. For more information visit our UNSW Law Careers
  • You will study 17 compulsory courses and seven elective law courses, giving you the depth and breadth of knowledge to set you apart in today’s competitive careers market. 
  • Domestic students can apply for Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) and full-fee places.
Mature and diverse cohort

Our JD students are an exceptional group. The qualifications, experience, skills and interests of UNSW JD students are wonderfully diverse, which makes for a very rich learning experience. The availability of JD-only classes throughout the compulsory component of the program enables you to establish a strong collegial network with colleagues from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

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 for 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.

Flexible study and interactive teaching

Class format 

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 semester of study, Introducing Law and Justice commences in Orientation Week (one week prior to the start of semester). It is taught in an intensive format during that week, helping you with 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. 

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 time frame) offered during term, on weekends or over the Summer 

  • A combination of weekly and intensive classes 

Locations 

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 (KLC), 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. 

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.

Progressive curriculum

Our curriculum sets the benchmark for a progressive, student-focused legal education. Informed by the changing legal landscape, our program incorporates a global outlook and prioritises experiential learning to create highly skilled, highly sought-after graduates. We offer courses in established areas of law with a focus on the most recent and relevant developments. We ensure students have access to new and emerging topics so that UNSW Law graduates are prepared and able to adapt to the future of law.

Experiential learning

UNSW Law is a leader in experiential learning and clinical legal education, and we are proud to offer you Australia’s leading and largest range of experiential opportunities. Kingsford Legal Centre (KLC) is an integral part of UNSW Law, and all students experience working at this community legal centre housed on campus. Included in our extensive list of electives are courses that offer sustained and direct engagement with legal practice in the form of internships and specialist clinics, as well as national and international mooting competitions.

Global student opportunities

We offer an extensive list of opportunities for students to study other countries’ legal systems through our overseas electives in China, the USA, Switzerland, South Pacific, India and Chile. Or you may wish to immerse yourself abroad at one of more than 80 exchange partner schools.

UNSW JD pathway to Oxford

UNSW JD and Oxford University Faculty of Law have signed a memorandum of understanding to give UNSW JD students the opportunity to graduate with two internationally recognised qualifications in just three and a half years – the UNSW JD and the Oxford Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) or Master in Laws and Finance (MLF). 

Those with a degree in law from a different legal system may also apply for the UNSW JD.

Pathway to HKU LLM degree

UNSW Law pathway to HKU 

UNSW Law and Hong Kong University Law Faculty have signed a memorandum of understanding that provides UNSW Law students who are studying a dual LLB degree or a JD degree an opportunity to gain an LLM degree from HKU.

The first intake of the Pathway Program for UNSW Law students to HKU is First Semester (September) 2020. UNSW Law students will need to follow the standard student exchange application procedure for the First Semester study at HKU and must indicate their interest in the Pathway Program on the application. Find out more 

UNSW HKU Pathway

 

What's the difference between the LLB and JD?

The Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and UNSW JD are both professional law degrees, meaning they lead to admission to legal practice.  

The LLB is typically for those commencing law studies from high school, while the JD is for those who already have a degree and have studied at postgraduate level.

Apply

To commence:

Applications due:

Term 1, 2019

Domestic applicants: uac.edu.au/postgraduate by 31 October 2018 to avoid paying an additional fee. Standard applications are open until 27 January 2019.
International applicants: apply.unsw.edu.au by 30 November 2018. Applications received after the deadline may still be considered.

Term 3, 2019

Domestic applicants: uac.edu.au/postgraduate by 31 May 2019 to avoid paying an additional fee. Standard applications will be open until 14 August 2019.
International applicants: apply.unsw.edu.au by 31 July 2019. Applications received after the deadline may still be considered.

UAC program codes for the UNSW JD are:

For Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP)
UAC code – 910600

For Full-Fee Places
UAC code – 910601

Special consideration for admission to the JD

Special consideration is provided for applicants with exceptional circumstances which affected their tertiary studies. Applications must be submitted to the University no later than Thursday 30 November 2018 for admission in Term 1 2019, and no later than 31 May for admission in Term 3 2019.

Download the Special Consideration Form.

Transfer

  • Students studying the JD at other universities can apply to transfer to the UNSW JD, but only completed qualifications will be considered in the selection process.
  • Applications are via UAC www.uac.edu.au/postgraduate.
Download the UNSW Postgraduate Guide
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