Information on this page is for Australian residents

Duration: 
4 years full time or longer for part time
Delivery mode: 
Blended
Block
Face to Face

Overview

Become a leading researcher in law and its application. Our integrated program offers a path to a PhD in Law for graduates with limited research experience.

Integrated PhD in Law program at VU

During the first year of our integrated PhD in Law, you’ll benefit from intensive research training. After passing the coursework and thesis with a 70% average, you’ll begin your own original and important research into local or international law.

Our team of leading legal researchers will support you throughout your PhD. You’ll also benefit from a research program with strong links with public-sector organisations and private law firms.

Our governance research program focuses on:

  • governance and regulation
  • the scholarship of legal education
  • international law
  • courts and justice.

You’ll learn to present your research findings clearly and effectively in a thesis and through:

  • conferences
  • public presentations for broader audiences
  • journals
  • books
  • other publications.

When you undertake a doctoral degree at VU, you’ll specialise in one of our areas of research focus. These are supported by expertise from the University, research partners, institutes and research centres.

We work with industry partners to solve real-world problems and our staff include leading researchers in local and international law.

Our research institute, the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, provides legal education, training, research and support services on law-related topics for industry, government and the community.

You’ll also benefit from the guidance of professionals appointed as adjuncts to the law college. These are honorary staff who hold positions in the legal community. VU’s adjunct professors include retired High Court Judge the Hon Michael Kirby, and Former Attorney-General Nicola Roxon.

VU offers fantastic opportunities to network and learn through industry partnerships and international collaborations.

You’ll benefit from embedding your research in real scenarios. You’ll also have a chance to conduct your research overseas with one of our exchange partners.

Some of our major clients, partners and industry associations are:

  • Department of Justice, Victoria
  • Migration Agents Registration Authority
  • Migration Institute of Australia
  • Department of Labour (New Zealand)
  • FCG Legal
  • Department of Education and Employment (Commonwealth; Learn Experience Access Professions Program)
  • Rob Stary Lawyers
  • Law Institute of Victoria
  • Council of Legal Education
  • Magistrates’ Courts of Victoria (Melbourne, Sunshine)
  • Society of Notaries of Victoria
  • Victoria Police.

We offer various research scholarships for our PhD students. Victoria University has several generous research scholarships for successful applicants. There are also externally funded scholarships from dozens of organisations, some of which open only to postgraduate students.

Our Queen St Campus puts you right in the middle of Melbourne’s legal precinct, giving you excellent access to the courts and legal libraries. Our close relationships with courts, legal services and law firms provide many unique research opportunities. You’ll gain real experience and insight into legal practice, and build networks for your career.

VU Research gives you opportunities to:

  • connect with other researchers
  • participate in research festivals and competitions
  • develop your research skills
  • get funding for your research
  • publish and promote your findings.

We offer support for graduate researchers including:

Find out more about graduate opportunities at VU.

Benefit from VU's active connections with top law professionals, including Marilyn Warren, AC

Law lecturers and researchers Kathy Laster and Nadav Prawer have expertise in international conflict resolution, criminology, legal history, gender and multiculturalism.

Careers in law and legislative policy

A PhD in Law will help you advance your career as a barrister or solicitor. It also opens the doors to academic or government-advisory roles.

Careers in law are paid well. Following are average salaries from the government site, Job Outlook.

Course structure

To attain the award of Doctor of Philosophy through undertaking the Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) students will be required to completed in total 384 credit points consisting of:

  • 72 credit points of Core studies in Year 1
  • 24 credit points of Elective studies in Year 1
  • 288 credit points of Thesis units as per standard PhD

YEAR 1

Core Studies

Thesis Units (36 credit points)

Or

Select 24 credit points (equivalent to 2 units) Elective Studies:

YEARS 2 - 4

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. expert understanding of a substantial body of theory and its practical application at the frontier of a field of work or learning, including substantial expert knowledge of ethical research principles and methods applicable to the field.  
  2. intellectual independence and cognitive skills to undertake a systematic investigation, reflect critically on theory and practice and evaluate existing knowledge and ideas, including identifying, evaluating and critically analysing the validity of research studies and their applicability to a research problem.  
  3. expert cognitive, technical and creative skills to: design, develop and implement a research project/s to systematically investigate a research problem; develop, adapt and implement research methodologies to extend and redefine existing knowledge; manage, analyse, evaluate and interpret data, synthesising key ideas and theorising within the context of key literature.  
  4. expert communication skills to explain and critique theoretical propositions, methodologies and conclusions; to disseminate and promote new insights; and to cogently present a complex investigation of originality, or original research, both for external examination and to specialist (eg researcher peers) and non-specialist (industry and/or community) audiences through informal interaction, scholarly publications, reports and formal presentations.  
  5. capacity to reflect on, develop and evaluate strategies for achieving their own learning and career goals.  
  6. intellectual independence, initiative and creativity in new situations and/or for further learning.  
  7. ethical practice and full responsibility and accountability for personal outputs.  
  8. autonomy, authoritative judgement, adaptability and responsibility as an expert and independent scholar.  

What's a unit?

A unit or 'subject' is the actual class you'll attend in the process of completing a course.

Most courses have a mixture of compulsory 'core' units that you need to take, and optional \'elective\' units that you can choose to take based on your area of interest, expertise or experience.

Credits

Each unit is worth a set amount of study credits based on the amount of time you study. Generally, 1 credit is equal to 1 hour of study per week.

Admission & pathways

Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee you entry into this course.

Some courses receive more applications than the number of places available. In this situation we will also assess your education, work and other relevant experience.

If you do not meet the minimum requirements you may be eligible for one of our special admission programs. We also encourage you to explore our study pathways to help you reach your goal.

  • Bachelor/Honours degree: Completed a qualification at AQF level 8 or above, typically in a cognate discipline (including a qualification without minor thesis), with Honours or its equivalent at a high standard.

There are many ways you can start your education journey at VU. Pathways offer an easy transition between courses at different levels, so that you can start with a certificate and progress right through to postgraduate study.

Find out more about pathways and credits.

If you have completed study with another university or institution and believe you are eligible to receive credit for skills and past study, you can apply for advanced standing.

Applications for advanced standing can be made after a discussion with your course coordinator or academic adviser.

How to apply

You will need to follow the six steps to becoming a research student.

Contact the Graduate Research Centre on +61 3 9919 4522 or email apply.research@vu.edu.au if you require further information.

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At Victoria University, we aim to display accurate and complete course information online. However, we are unable to guarantee that every course change is currently displayed. You may contact the University directly on +61 3 9919 6100 to confirm the most up-to-date course fees, pathways and credit transfer, recognition of prior learning, admission and enrolment procedures, examinations and services available to our students.