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Course: Professional Doctorate in Legal Science (Research) (914AA)

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Award: Doctor of Legal Science
Course Level: 02
Faculty: Faculty of Business, Government & Law
CRICOS Code: 054345F
Offered Locations and Delivery Modes:

  • UC Bruce Campus
    • Full Time, Face-to-Face -
    • Part Time, Face-to-Face -


The Professional Doctorate course in Legal Science seeks to provide opportunities for advanced study and reflection on practice in the professional field of law. Such opportunities are to be provided for professionals of standing in the legal profession who will be able to draw upon, and extend, their professional experience and expertise.

The Faculty of Law has particular teaching and research strengths in the areas of corporate, business and taxation law, although the course will allow students to focus upon a range of areas.

The objectives of the course are to enable legal practitioners to extend and build upon their professional experience through:
a. the development of legal research, writing and analysis skills which enable students to produce a dissertation which constitutes an original and significant contribution to legal literature;
b. coursework undertaken in specific units;
c. the preparation of a substantial dissertation which adds to our existing legal knowledge and constitutes an in-depth investigation and analysis of a particular legal issue or set of issues; and
d. bridging the gap between theory and practice by developing closer links between the University and senior professionals in fields associated with law and related disciplines.

Course Requirements

The course has two components making up a total of 72 credit points coursework of 24 credit points and research of 48 credit points.

Students are also required to complete a Research Education Program that will assist them to acquire the generic skills and attributes identified as appropriate for graduates of postgraduate research programs at theUniversity of Canberra .

Coursework component:
Students must select a total of 24 credit point at PG level comprising:
(i) 6621 Advanced Legal Research and Writing PG
and 21 credit points from PG level units approved by the Course Convener.

Typical Course Structure

Semester 1 Semester 2
PG Unit 1 PG Unit 4
PG Unit 2 PG Unit 5
PG Unit 3 PG Unit 6
6621 Advanced Legal Research and Writing PG PG Unit 7
4517 Legal Science Dissertation D:FT or 4517 Legal Science Dissertation D:FT or
4518 Legal Science Dissertation D:PT 4518 Legal Science Dissertation D:PT
4517 Legal Science Dissertation D:FT or 4517 Legal Science Dissertation D:FT or
4518 Legal Science Dissertation D:PT 4518 Legal Science Dissertation D:PT

Course Duration

Standard: 3 years full-time or part-time equivalent
Maximum: 4 years full-time or part-time equivalent

Admission Requirements

Before a candidate is admitted to the Doctor of Legal Science Program, the University must be satisfied that it is able to supervise the candidate's proposed dissertation and that the candidate satisfies the following admission requirements:

  • a bachelor's degree in law or an equivalent qualification
  • five years of professional practice in a legal area
  • provides evidence of superior legal professional performance both intellectually and technically
  • provides evidence of capacity for specialised coursework at the postgraduate level, and
  • demonstrates capacity to undertake significant research in the proposed doctoral field.

Additional admission requirements:
International students are required to have an IELTS score of 7.0 overall, with no band less than 6.5, for admission to this course.

Advanced standing:
Advanced standing of up to 24 credit points may be granted on the basis of prior studies at a post-graduate level. This includes 6 credit points (that is two PG level units) for graduates on the basis of completion of a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice or equivalent and additional advanced standing (up to 18 credit points) for units completed at a postgraduate level which have contributed to the development of research skills and higher degree work.

Research component:
Students are required to take 48 credit points of research work through the completion of a dissertation of about 60,000 words comprising the equivalent of four semesters' full-time study. The thesis unit is:
4517 Legal Science Dissertation D:FT or
4518 Legal Science Dissertation D:PT

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