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.
- You will set yourself apart with a degree from the Law School ranked 14th in the world in the 2020 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 a wide variety 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.
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.
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.
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). 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
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.
From Term 1 2021 we will offer a mix of face to face classes (including evenings) at the Kensington campus and online classes. This will provide greater flexibility for those students balancing work and family commitments, as well as providing online options for students who are unable to travel to NSW based on the current border restrictions due to the pandemic.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The UNSW JD is the professional law degree for graduates of disciplines other than law, or those with a law degree from an overseas institution.
Applicants who do not have a university degree undertaken and assessed in English must provide evidence that their English language ability meets the requirements for admission. For further information on this, please visit unsw.edu.au/elp
Selection into the UNSW JD is based on academic merit and you will be assessed on the basis of your academic results in completed tertiary study only. There are no additional selection criteria.
Selection into the UNSW JD is based on academic merit and only completed tertiary qualifications at Bachelor, Masters or PhD level will be considered. To be eligible for an offer, applicants must have completed a Bachelor degree in a discipline other than law, or a degree in law from an overseas institution.
UNSW offers domestic applications both Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) and full-fee places in the JD. CSP are offered to the most competitive applicants and the remaining eligible applicants will be offered a full-fee place in the JD program. You should list both CSP and full-fee codes in your UAC preferences if you wish to be considered for both places.
As a guide, to be competitive for a CSP, you would have achieved at least a distinction average in your Bachelor or Masters degree. Your eligibility may be improved if you have also completed an optional honours year or research degree. To be competitive for a full-fee place, you would have achieved at least a credit average.
If you are in your final year and about to complete your Bachelor degree, please refer to the UAC guide for Admission Requirement Deadlines.
Current students of UNSW and other universities must have their final results available by certain dates to be considered for a place in Term 1 and Term 3 intakes.
Transfer from a full-fee place to CSP (UNSW JD Awards)
UNSW JD students enrolled in a full-fee place can apply to transfer to a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) after completing a minimum of 48 UOC. Applications will be assessed on the results of your UNSW JD study only. Awards will be offered to those students with the highest overall JD WAM and a minimum WAM of 75.00 is required.
The awards offer a fee reduction up to a maximum of the difference in fees between a full-fee place and a Commonwealth Supported Place for the remaining duration of the awardee’s JD program. Up to eight awards are available per year. Applications can be made through UAC Postgraduate. For further information please contact Law Student Services here.
Transfer from another university
We welcome applications from law students wishing to transfer to the UNSW JD from other universities but only completed qualifications will be considered in the selection process. A maximum of 48 units of credit (1year full-time) may be awarded for completed law studies. Note that only your completed Bachelors, Masters or PhD qualifications will be taken into account for admission purposes.
Students who have completed more than 48 units of credit will receive exemption for the additional completed law subjects, but no credit. This means they will have to choose law elective courses at UNSW to make up these additional units of credit. Students should apply via UAC Postgraduate (also refer to the apply section below).
The UNSW JD is open to international applicants who have completed, or are about to complete, a Bachelor's degree in any discipline. Those who have a degree in law from a different legal system may also apply for the UNSW JD.
To be eligible, you need to have achieved a credit average (70% or higher) as determined by the UNSW Postgraduate Coursework Entry Calculator. You may also be eligible for advanced standing. Please refer to the Faculty’s Information Sheet for Students with a Law Degree from overseas wishing to practise in Australia here.
Term 1, 2021
Domestic applicants: uac.edu.au/postgraduate main applications closing by 31 October 2020 to avoid paying an additional fee. Final applications closing 24 January 2021.
Term 3, 2021
Domestic applicants: uac.edu.au/postgraduate main applications closing 5 February 2021 to avoid paying an additional fee. Final applications close by 13 August 2021.
View UAC website for domestic application closing dates.
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 is provided for applicants with exceptional circumstances which affected their tertiary studies. Strict deadlines for application apply. Find out more about UNSW's policies for Transferring Students and view detailed information on Special Consideration for Applicants with Tertiary Study.
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.