Skip to main content
Courses_

Overview

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at Sydney Law School equips you for careers in advanced research, policy development, public service, tertiary teaching or professional leadership. You will benefit from a vibrant and dynamic research culture and engage with internationally renowned School members who are experts across a range of fields.

From 2021, Higher Degree by Research students will be required to complete some coursework as part of their candidature. Students will have access to a range of specialist units of study relevant for research students.

Subject areas
Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your entry requirements

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

Please apply by 30 November for commencement on 1 March and 30 April for commencement on 1 July. If your application cannot be assessed in time for commencement, it will be considered for the next possible start date. You may not apply until an Expression of Interest has been accepted by the School.

Starting date

Research Period 2: 1 March and Research Period 3: 1 July

Please apply by 30 November for commencement on 1 March and 30 April for commencement on 1 July. If your application cannot be assessed in time for commencement, it will be considered for the next possible start date. You may not apply until an Expression of Interest has been accepted by the School.

Starting date

Research Period 2: 1 March and Research Period 3: 1 July

Research areas

Doctor of Philosophy students may undertake research in one of the following research themes: Asian and Islamic law; Children, youth and families; Citizenship, migration and refugees; Commercial and international commercial law; Constitutional and administrative law; Corporate, securities and finance law; Criminal law, justice and criminology; Environmental law and climate change; Health law, governance and ethics; Human rights and development; Intellectual property, media and privacy law; International law; Justice, legal process and the profession; Jurisprudence and legal theory; Labour, employment and anti-discrimination law; Legal history; Private law: tort, contracts, equity and property; and Taxation.

Please visit research themes and academic research profiles.

What you'll study

The Doctor of Philosophy (Law) is awarded on the basis of a supervised thesis of approximately 80,000 words. The thesis must make a substantially original contribution to the knowledge of the subject concerned. Students are also required to complete the compulsory research-support coursework units, LAWS6077 Legal Research 1 within the first 12 months of their candidature and LAWS7001 Legal Research 2 within the first 24 months.

Changes to higher degree research in 2021

From 2021, the University is introducing a new coursework curriculum to support research success. PhD students will complete 12 credit points of coursework and be able to choose from a pool of 270+ units from any faculty. The pool comprises a range of development opportunities that include specialist analytical methods, professional development units and discipline-specific subjects relevant for research students. Browse all available units here.

There is no separate tuition fee cost for the coursework units of study you will undertake, it is part of the tuition fee for the course.

See the ‘Your Fee’ section for fee information. Additional non-tuition course costs vary depending on the units of study.

You will be able to see and enrol in any of the units available, subject to capacity constraints and your own background. Note that your faculty may elect to make certain units compulsory for a given PhD degree pathway.

Applying for admission

There are two steps involved in making an application to a Law research program:

  1. Expression of Interest (EOI) - Prior to making a formal application, you are required to provide information about your area of intended research, academic qualifications, professional or other qualifications, details about your original research activities and publications, and any other information relevant to the application by completing an Expression of Interest form
    • EOIs are due: 
      • Domestic students: 3 months prior to the application closing date
      • International students: 6 months prior to the application closing date 
  2. Formal application for admission - If your Expression of Interest is accepted, you must submit a formal application through the University's Online Application portal. Ensure that all the Supporting documentation is submitted with your online application.  Apply now

If you have already commenced a research degree, there are additional requirements, please contact Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre (HDRAC).

Also visit Research Scholarships.

Completion requirement

To satisfy requirements of the degree students must:

  • complete any specified probationary requirements;
  • complete LAWS6077 Legal Research 1 and LAWS7001 Legal Research 2;
  • conduct research on an approved topic; and
  • write a thesis of approximately 80,000 words embodying the results of the research.

Admission requirement

There are three main conditions of admission, namely:

(i) Academic qualifications

(ii) Research and publication experience and

(iii) Suitability of the proposed course of study and research. If you are not academically qualified to undertake a research degree, you may consider pursuing your research interests through coursework study before progressing to a research degree.

The coursework program provides you with an opportunity to enhance your expertise in the proposed area of research by allowing you to complete research projects in related units of study. Applicants require a Master's degree and/or Bachelor's degree with first or second class honours.

Career Pathways

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at the University of Sydney Law School is a pathway to a number of careers, including tertiary education, policy development, advanced research, and specialisation for employment in government, inter-governmental and international organisations, and civil society organisations. You will conduct a research project that makes a substantial and original contribution to knowledge and will have a highly developed knowledge base, with strong written, oral, and critical analytical skills.

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.