At UNSW, undergraduate students study law as part of a double degree. This means you'll study a Bachelor of Laws alongside another non-law degree such as Arts, Commerce or Science and graduate with two degrees.
The UNSW Bachelor of Laws (LLB) is ideal for high school leavers, and can open the door to countless opportunities, both inside and outside the legal profession, from commercial practice to working in a community legal centre, to running a start-up or working for an international organisation.
For example, if you study an Arts/Law degree you'll graduate with a BA/LLB qualification; Commerce/Law graduates gain a BCom/LLB; International Studies/Law graduates gain a BIntSt/LLB.
If you're just leaving high school, you can only enrol in a Law double degree.
All domestic applicants (Australian citizens, permanent residents and New Zealand citizens) who wish to study an undergraduate Law dual degree program at UNSW must sit the Law Admission Test (LAT).
Visit the LAT section of our website for more details and key dates.
The decision to study at UNSW was an easy choice for Stephanie Blancquart. “UNSW has a very strong program for both law and psychology. The Law School’s small group seminar teaching methods sets UNSW Law apart from other universities and the interactive seminar-style classes were the perfect fit for me. There were many opportunities to ask questions, meet new people and to make the most of my time at Law School.”
From a technical perspective, Stephanie says UNSW Law helped her prepare for being a graduate lawyer. During her studies, she was encouraged to ask questions, think deeply about the legal issues at hand and identify the practical implications of legal issues that clients have.
“More broadly, I think that you build communication skills not just through classes, but also via extracurricular opportunities. I had a lot of experience in this through my involvement with UNSW Law Society, where I found myself working with fellow students, UNSW staff and external firms.” Stephanie says these relationships and contacts will also continue to be relevant when she joins the workforce.
Stephanie commences her graduate role at Herbert Smith Freehills in March 2020.
“Herbert Smith Freehills is a commercial law firm and as part of their graduate program, I’ll be completing three, six-month rotations in various teams. This will include exposure to the litigious and transactional teams, before I choose one to settle in as a solicitor. During this program, I’ll also do my PLT (practical legal training), and become admitted as a solicitor,” says Stephanie.
“I’m not completely sure where the future will take me. I look forward to starting my career in law, but I’m also open to other opportunities, such as further study and overseas opportunities! What’s really good about UNSW Law is that graduates go into so many different fields.”
Read more about Steph's story here.
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws (Honours), 2019
Khushaal Vyas chose Law at UNSW based on the Faculty’s pursuit of social justice, something he feels very passionate about. The Law School’s social justice projects and initiatives provided some of the most memorable and rewarding aspects of his degree.
Khushaal also found the smaller class numbers at UNSW beneficial, as it allowed students to actively participate in class and quickly learn how to construct and advocate a legal argument.
“Being surrounded by peers who share the same curiosities about the law means you engage in some excellent discussions, and challenge one another on policy, legal principles and so much more. As a result, you're equipped with the confidence that you know how to make a persuasive argument and be flexible in responding to opposing views and challenges, and sometimes accepting that you're wrong!
“You are also placed in an environment that's conducive to learning, where having questions asked of you makes you learn how to think in a more critical and advanced manner. This naturally flows into your advocacy skills when entering a professional workplace,” he says.
Khushaal is currently a Graduate Lawyer at Baker McKenzie.
“It's been a really great learning experience so far, and I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to work out of the firm's London office for a month prior to starting full-time work.
“At the moment, my focus is to learn as much as possible from a professional work environment and improve my skillset to become the best legal advocate that I can be. However, I do aim to continue my work in the community and philanthropic space.”
Read more about Khushaal’s story here.
Studying Law at UNSW exposed Isabel Chong to situations that helped shape her way of thinking, which she says will be invaluable as she embarks on her career.
“For example, the capacity to think critically when faced with complex questions and to evaluate the strength of arguments objectively and methodically. Another example is the importance of maintaining an inquiring mind.”
Since graduating from UNSW, Isabel has had the opportunity to work in a commercial law firm in Hong Kong and to intern at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law in Vienna. In 2021, Isabel will commence her role at Ashurst in Sydney and work as an Associate to a Federal Court judge.
“I’m most looking forward to meeting thoughtful, passionate and like-minded people, as well as gaining insight into advocacy and the judicial process while at the Federal Court.
“I hope to study a Masters-level law degree overseas, perhaps focused on private international law and conflict of laws,” says Isabel.
Natasha Naidu wanted to study at UNSW Law because of the university’s commitment to social justice and its reputation as a law school that educates students to stand up for 'the little guy'.
“Studying at UNSW Law was always more of a dream for me as I didn’t think I could achieve the marks required for admission. On completing the HSC, I received a UNSW Academic Achievement Award for high performance among my Year 12 cohort. The award came with bonus points which made me eligible for admission into UNSW Law. So, studying law at UNSW was not a choice I made, but more a dream come true,” says Natasha.
Natasha completed her final semester of Law on exchange at Jindal Global Law School in India. She was then hired on a short-term contract as a legal consultant at a non-government organisation called Project Expedite Justice in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
“I spent two months working for Project Expedite Justice, where I assisted victims of human trafficking in cross-border compensation claims and helped facilitate mass atrocity investigations in [the] Congo and South Sudan. Now that I have returned to Australia I am preparing to begin work as a tipstaff to a judge in the NSW Court of Appeal next year.
“At the Court of Appeal, I think I will most enjoy the opportunity to observe the different styles with which lawyers advocate in court and how they interact with the judges. I hope to spend the time absorbing the most effective styles of advocacy which I can translate into my career as a practicing lawyer,” says Natasha.
Double Degree Options
We offer a wide range of double degree combinations, so you are sure to find one that is right for you.
Employers seek out our graduates for their critical thinking and analytical skills. We teach our students to think outside the box, so when it comes to your career, there will be any number of options available to you.
There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to selecting your double degree – think about what you’re interested in, what you think will challenge you and what you might want to do after graduation. The diverse combinations studied by our students always enrich our law classes.
Studying law develops one’s understanding of the levers of power in our society in a way that is even more effective than political science. This is because law is directly concerned with power and reaches into every part of life. For that very reason, law is extraordinarily important to everyone’s way of life.
Lawyers refer to ‘the rule of law’ because a society governed without law would leave ordinary people at the mercy of the arbitrary abuse of power by those who are simply powerful. In some countries the rule of law is absent – think of Cambodia during the rule of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, for example – and, when that happens, life is very difficult for ordinary people who have no way of protecting themselves from the powerful.
In societies where the rule of law exists, people may even be relatively unaware of it, because their life is not interfered with by corruption and abuse of power. Australia is a country where the rule of law mostly exists, and although its legal system is not perfect in every respect, it does manage to restrain unfettered power. Lawyers can use the law to hold governments accountable.
Studying law allows a person who has a strong sense of justice to see where there are defects in the system and to work constructively and effectively to change it. In this sense, studying law offers the idealistic person a realistic way to make a difference in the world. Many lawyers work in policy and law reform in this way.
Studying law offers a wonderful intellectual challenge in that it develops the ability to argue from evidence in a way that can be very hard for non-lawyers to counter. Studying law will equip you with intellectual skills which will give you a decisive advantage in whichever profession you choose.
A law degree opens up a wide range of career opportunities in myriad fields.
At UNSW Law we prepare our students for careers in business, media, the arts, science, education, engineering and government. Our alumni include judges, barristers, partners and solicitors in leading law firms, politicians, entertainers, academics and some of the most dedicated public sector and community sector lawyers in Australia.
Our teaching style has always been distinctive and an integral characteristic of UNSW Law. From the beginning, the focus has been not only on what is taught, but how it is taught.
UNSW Law pioneered student-focused, interactive teaching in small classes in Australian legal education. Interactive seminar-style classes give you the chance to debate and discuss ideas, ask questions and get to know your lecturer and peers.
As a student at one of Australia’s leading law schools, you will learn from some of the country’s leading scholars and professional legal practitioners, many of whom have written the textbooks you will use in class.
“At UNSW Law all our classes are seminars, which means that you read material before you come to class and then you discuss it with your teacher and classmates. We know from experience that this is the best way to learn law – it helps you to develop your ideas, to maintain a critical and analytical perspective, and it also ensures that you get to know the people you are studying with.
We teach not only the law and how it works, but also its impact on people and how it relates to justice. This makes law a fascinating and compelling area of study – not the bare study of doctrine, but the study of law in action in all its complexity.”
Michael Grewcock - Director of Undergraduate Studies
UNSW Law offers more clinics and internships than any other Australian Law School, leading the way in innovative legal education.
Experiential learning offers students the unique opportunity to simultaneously study the theory of law in the classroom and also to experience it in action. It plays a critical role in the process of transforming our law students into ethical, analytical and engaged legal professional.
UNSW Law values its partnerships with other leading global law schools. Almost 50 per cent of our graduating students have had an international mobility experience, either through exchange, undertaking one of our short overseas elective courses, or through an overseas internship program.
From your first year onwards you will have the opportunity to hone your professional skills through a variety of competitions such as mooting, trial advocacy, client interviewing and negotiation. The skills competitions further develop your legal understanding and equip you with strong analytical, teamwork and communication skills.
Find out more about mooting and competitions.
UNSW Law’s Careers Service caters exclusively to UNSW Law students and alumni. The first of its kind at a NSW Law School, the initiative is modelled on the established and highly successful career offerings at top U.S. Law Schools.
Find out more about UNSW's Legal Profession Careers Service.
Australian citizens and permanent residents, and New Zealand citizens
Applications for Law double degree programs at UNSW are processed through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).
Domestic applicants MUST sit the Law Admission Test (LAT)
International students undertaking Australian Year 12 examinations (or the International Baccalaureate) in Australia or offshore should apply through UAC International.
All other international students should apply directly to UNSW via UNSW Apply Online.
All domestic applicants (Australian citizens or permanent residents and New Zealand citizens) who wish to study an undergraduate Law dual degree program at UNSW need to sit the LAT. You can sit the 2019 LAT if you:
- Are enrolled in your final year of secondary schooling (Year 12 HSC or equivalent).
- Have already completed your secondary schooling (e.g. are on a gap year).
- Are currently studying at another university and wish to apply to transfer to UNSW Law (via UAC).
- Are in Year 11 and wish to sit the LAT prior to your HSC. (Your LAT result will be valid for two years so you can use it to apply for Law in 2019).
Indigenous students undertaking the Pre-Law Program at UNSW are not required to sit the LAT as they are assessed under multiple criteria in the Pre-Law Program.
International students are not required to sit the LAT.
UNSW Internal Program Transfer
UNSW Internal Program Transfer (IPT) is an alternative entry pathway into a Law double degree for students who are already studying a non-law degree at UNSW. Providing you receive full credit for your first year of studies it won’t take you any longer to complete a law dual degree.
UNSW Law guarantees a minimum of 100 places via Internal Program Transfer (IPT) each year. UNSW IPT applicants do not need to sit the LAT.
Find out more here.
Transfer from another university
Students enrolled in a degree at another university (who have completed a minimum of one year of full-time study in their program) can apply via UAC to transfer to a Law dual degree program.
All Domestic students submitting an application to transfer into Law at UNSW via UAC will be required to sit the LAT. Assessment will be based on secondary rank (ATAR or equivalent), tertiary rank (university studies) and LAT score.
Entry is very competitive and students generally require an ATAR in the high 90s, a grade point average of 6.0 (distinction) in their university studies and a high LAT score.
Educational Access Schemes (EAS)
At UNSW, our Educational Access Scheme (EAS) is called the ACCESS Scheme.
Through the UNSW ACCESS Scheme, special consideration may be given to applicants who can demonstrate that their educational performance has been affected by circumstances beyond their control during Years 11 and 12 or equivalent. If you are eligible for consideration under this scheme your EAS points will be recognised for entry to Law.
The types of disadvantage considered include illness, financial hardship, English language difficulties, disability, family illness and family relationship problems, and attendance at a disadvantaged school. Find our more here.
Special Consideration for Applicants with Tertiary Study (SCATS)
Applicants who have undertaken tertiary study and are applying to transfer to Law via UAC can have long-term educational disadvantage which has affected their tertiary and/or secondary academic performance considered.
Circumstances that may be considered include personal or family illness/disability and other circumstances beyond their control. Applicants must submit a SCATS application including a full written statement describing these circumstances and provide documentation to support their claims. For more information on SCATS click here.
Indigenous Pre-Law Program
The Indigenous Pre-Law Program is an intensive, four-week program held at UNSW Sydney.
The course is designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who wish to apply to study Law. Students take introductory classes including legal system and process, Indigenous legal issues, the law of negligence and academic skills. In this way, students develop a feeling for the law and get a head start in their university legal studies.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students undertaking the Indigenous Pre-Law Program are assessed under multiple criteria and are not required to sit the LAT.
Enquiries can be directed to the Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Centre. Visit nuragili.unsw.edu.au
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