As part of its Indigenous strategy and to ensure UNSW can achieve the mission to Grow our Own, the University has scholarships to help create a pipeline to careers in academia and research. The University aims to increase opportunities for Indigenous research degree candidates to join the UNSW research community through pathway programs to a PhD, funded by scholarships at a minimum of $43,000+ per annum. Each faculty has scholarship opportunities for a range of research programs – from MPhil to PhD.

The Faculty of Law, UNSW Sydney, seeks expressions of interest from Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants with outstanding research potential wishing to pursue a PhD in any area of law. Successful applicants will be nominated by the Faculty for a University funded scholarship.

Ranked as the 14th best Law School in the world, UNSW Law is a dynamic institution, with some of the world’s leading legal academics and a well-established international reputation for research excellence. As a PhD candidate you will join a collegiate community of scholars who are doing path-breaking work across a number of fields, from refugee law to the rule of law, international economic law to indigenous law, private and public law to international law, and from criminology to corporate and commercial law. All of our research places law in its social context and endeavours to explore the relationship between law and social justice.  UNSW Law is home to a number of Centres and Institutes with whom PhD researchers may be affiliated, including the:

•    Allens Hub for Technology, Law & Innovation
•    Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law
•    Australian Human Rights Institute 
•    Centre for Crime, Law & Justice
•    Centre for Law, Markets & Regulation
•    Herbert Smith Freehills China International Business and Economic Law Centre
•    Indigenous Law Centre

and is known for its research strengths in:

•    Criminal Law, Criminal Justice & Criminology
•    Environmental Law
•    Human Rights
•    Indigenous Peoples & the Law
•    International Law & Global Governance
•    Laws of the Asia Pacific
•    Legal & Regulatory Theory
•    Legal Education & Experiential Learning
•    Private, Corporate & Commercial Law
•    Public Law
•    Socio-Legal Studies

Our research strengths are underpinned by three longstanding concerns: social justice, technological transformation, and the global dimensions of legal thought and practice. We are seeking applicants who are inspired by and will contribute to our vision and by whom we will, ourselves, be inspired.


Applications currently open.


The scholarship stipend will be a minimum of $43,000 per annum.


Up to 4 years, subject to confirmation of candidature and satisfactory progress.


Applicants must be Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders and must not already be enrolled in a PhD program at UNSW or elsewhere. 

Scholarships are for study on a full-time basis only, unless there are exceptional personal or medical circumstances that require study on a part-time basis for all or part of the PhD program. 

Residency requirement

Applicants must normally pursue their PhD research in Sydney. External enrolments may be permitted in exceptional cases where justified and where appropriate supervisory arrangements can be made. Candidates enrolled externally will nevertheless be required to spend at least one year of their candidacy in Sydney.

Selection criteria

All applicants must possess:

•    an undergraduate degree in Law or a related discipline with a minimum Honours Class II, Division (I) that includes a substantial research component (or equivalent); or 
•    a postgraduate qualification in Law or a related discipline (including a substantial research component) with an average that equates to a minimum Distinction average at UNSW (75%); or
•    equivalent research or professional experience in law or a related discipline, supported by references and a detailed CV. 

Previous research experience, including completion of a research thesis and / or publications will be highly valued. 

Selection will be based on:
a)    the applicant’s academic qualifications
b)    their written communication skills
c)    the quality of their research proposal
d)    their research experience and potential as supported by references and a detailed cv
e)    the fit between the applicant’s proposal and the research strengths in the Faculty (see: law.unsw.edu.au/study/research-degrees )
f)    an interview. 

Details of the Scholarships

Indigenous PhD scholarship are available to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants who are interested in undertaking research in any area of law. Interdisciplinary projects will be considered, however, the primary supervisor must be located in the Faculty of Law.

Recommendations for award of a scholarship will be contingent on the availability of appropriate supervisory expertise within the Faculty.

How to apply

Applicants must complete the Expression of Interest Form for the Indigenous PhD Scholarships in Law. Expression of Interest forms are available either by emailing Jenny Jarrett on j.jarrett@unsw.edu.au or to download online:

•    Expression of Interest Form

Applicants should attach copies of ALL academic transcripts, relevant publications, a CV, and their research proposal. Details for two academic or professional referees must be provided. 

Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview, which will take place either in person or by Skype or Zoom Conference. Shortlisted applicants may also be asked to produce short pieces of written work or research as part of the selection process.

The Expression of Interest process is separate from the University scholarship and admission processes. Nominated applicants will be required to submit a formal application for admission to the University and to submit a formal scholarship application through the University processes. 

Submission of Expression of Interest

Please email completed Expressions of Interest to:

Dr Jenny Jarrett
HDR Officer
University of New South Wales
Faculty of Law
Email: j.jarrett@unsw.edu.au 

For further enquiries, please contact:

Dr Jenny Jarrett
HDR Officer
Faculty of Law
Tel:  0466 716 527
Email: j.jarrett@unsw.edu.au