Where Will Postgraduate Study in Law Lead You?
The Master of Laws (Research) equips students for careers in advanced research, policy development, public service, tertiary teaching or professional leadership. It will enable you to acquire and develop sophisticated research and analysis skills, honed through work on a topic of your choice that expands legal thinking and understanding.
The Master of Laws is up to two years full-time and four years part-time and is awarded on the basis of a supervised thesis of 50,000 words. The thesis must make a substantial contribution to the knowledge of the subject concerned. Students are also required to undertake the compulsory research-support coursework unit, LAWS6077 Legal Research 1.
For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.
Please apply by 30 September for commencement on 1 March and 30 March 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.
Research Period 2: 1 March and Research Period 3: 1 July
Master of Laws researchers perform original research in an area of law or regulation involving legal or interdisciplinary methodologies under the supervision of a member of the University of Sydney Law School who is an expert in the subject matter.
Learn more about Sydney Law School research
The Master of Laws (Research) is awarded on the basis of a supervised thesis of a maximum 50,000 words. The thesis must make a substantial contribution to the knowledge of the subject concerned. Students are also required to complete the compulsory research-support coursework unit, LAWS6077 Legal Research 1 within the first 12 months of their candidature.
Changes to higher degree research in 2021
In 2021, the University is introducing a new coursework curriculum to support research success. Masters students will complete 6 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. Refer to the Interdisciplinary Studies handbook
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 restraints and your own background. Note that your faculty may elect to make certain units compulsory for a given degree.
Expression of Interest (Optional)
While you are not required to submit an Expression of Interest before applying, Sydney Law School recommends that you do so before submitting a formal application, especially if:
· you are seeking funding assistance;
· have not identified a potential supervisor; or
· you are an international applicant.
Submitting an Expression of Interest will allow the School to support you in presenting a formal application and provide you with feedback on whether your application is likely to succeed.
The Expression of Interest form includes information about your intended research topic, academic and professional qualifications, and publications.
To allow the School to consider your information and provide you appropriate and timely guidance, applicants are encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest as early as possible and no later than:
Optional - Expression of Interest Submission Date
Formal Application Closing Date
Course Commencement Date
Formal Application for Admission
To apply for a Master of Laws (Research) degree, you will submit a formal application through the University's Online Application portal.
You must ensure that all required supporting documents are submitted with your application, including the following documents requested by Sydney Law School:
. expression of interest acceptance (if submitted one), otherwise please include evidence of consultation/comments from potential supervisors. The nomination of supervisors is determined by the Law Postgraduate Research Education Committee.
· full research proposal (approximately 10 pages) which outlines:
- aims of the proposed research thesis
- background to the research, including a brief reference to the relevant literature and law (including case law where appropriate)
- a clear statement of the area to be researched
- rationale for the research and a statement of why it is significant
- working hypotheses or research questions
- research methodology including theoretical and empirical considerations for the research
- statement indicating how you will be able to sufficiently fund your proposed field work or overseas study/research. Explain why this work is essential for completion of your thesis.
· motivation statement
· time availability statement
· curriculum vitae
· list of publications (if available)
· timeline for completion of the thesis and the compulsory unit of study, LAWS6077 Legal Research 1
· two referee statements in support of your application (in addition to the referee forms)
Before you apply, please check the University of Sydney’s eligibility criteria for admission to a research program at Apply for Postgraduate Research.
To Apply now
To be considered for a scholarship, you must select “Yes” in the “Scholarship Details” field on your application form. To find out more, please visit Scholarships
To qualify for the award of Master of Laws, a student must complete the unit of study LAWS6077 Legal Research 1 within the first 12 months of their candidature and a thesis in the approved subject with an upper limit of 50,000 words. The thesis must satisfy the examiners that it is a substantial contribution to the subject concerned. Thesis submission requirements and examination procedure as set out in the Academic Board resolutions for this course and the Higher Degree (HDR) Rule 2011.
A successful applicant for admission to candidature for the Master of Laws (LLM) requires an Honours degree with first or upper second class honours. Applications for admission to candidature for the Master of Laws (LLM) by thesis are assessed on the basis of: suitability and sufficiency of merit of the applicant's prior qualification (Bachelor of Laws, Juris Doctor or equivalent); suitability of proposed topic; and availability of appropriate supervision.
The Master of Laws by Research (LLM) 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. The Master of Laws by Research is also an excellent starting point for further postgraduate study in the doctoral (PhD) program.