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Program description

Research a professional practice issue in the field of law

The Professional Doctorate in Legal Science (Research) combines coursework with a research dissertation to enable advanced study and reflection on practice in the professional field of law. As a doctoral student, you will choose a real-world legal problem to explore as a research project and will be encouraged to use it to draw upon, and extend, your professional experience and expertise in relation to your own workplace, organisation or community.

The UC Faculty of Business, Government and Law has particular teaching and research strengths in the areas of corporate, business and taxation law, although you can choose to explore a subject from across the legal spectrum. You will graduate from the program having made a unique contribution to professional practice in your chosen field and ready to progress your career to the next level. As a Higher Degree by Research (HDR), this course is covered under the Australian Government's Research Training Program (RTP) funding model, which provides a fee offset for domestic students for the standard duration of the course.

Study a Professional Doctorate in Legal Science (Research) at UC and you will:

  • undertake coursework in specific units
  • develop the legal research, writing and analysis skills which enable you to produce a dissertation which is an original and significant contribution to legal literature
  • prepare a substantial dissertation which adds to existing legal knowledge and forms an in-depth investigation and analysis of a particular legal issue
  • initiate closer links between the University and senior professionals in fields associated with law and related disciplines.

Work Integrated Learning

A professional doctorate is, by its very nature, the embodiment of Work Integrated Learning (WIL), and is much more focused on professional practice than a traditional PhD. Throughout your coursework and specifically in your dissertation, you will be encouraged to apply your existing professional knowledge and undertake new research to identify and explore a real-world problem in the field of law.

Career opportunities

  • Academic
  • Lecturer
  • Sessional academic
  • Senior research officer
  • Senior research fellow
  • Lawyer*
  • Solicitor*
  • Barrister*
  • Judge*
  • Magistrate*
  • Registrar
  • Company director
  • Public servant
  • Senior policy adviser
  • Parliamentary counsel
  • Legislative drafter
  • Law reform officer
  • Senior analyst
  • Strategic adviser
  • Business consultant

*Subject to satisfactory undergraduate law degree and successful completion of a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, which qualifies you for admission to practice as a lawyer.

Course-specific information

Before a candidate is admitted to the Professional Doctorate in 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: 

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

There are non-standard English language requirements for this course. To be eligible, you must have an academic IELTS or equivalent of 6.5 with no band score below 6.0. Students who have undertaken all their education in an English-speaking country (as defined on the UC website) are deemed to have met our English language proficiency requirements.

Domestic students who are accepted on this course are provided for under the Australian Government's Research Training Program (RTP) funding model, which provides a fee offset for the standard duration of the course. Once your RTP entitlement is consumed, you will be charged the annual fee rate that applied at the start of your degree. Further information on fees for Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students can be found here.

About this institute

University of Canberra

Welcome to The University of Canberra, Australia's Capital University! The University of Canberra is ranked in the top 4% of universities worldwide and within the top 100 young universities. A friendly, multicultural environment and a focus on work-integrated learning, university of Canberra graduates...


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