Higher Degree Research (HDR)
La Trobe Law School offers three Research Degrees:
- Master of Laws (LLM) - Research - two years (full time), thesis of no more than 50,000 words;
- Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) – up to four years full time, thesis of between 55,000 – 60,000 words;
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) – up to four years full time, thesis of no more than 80,000 words.
Why become a research student at La Trobe Law School?
La Trobe Law School has a vibrant research culture and a strong reputation for scholarly work in the areas of access to justice, commercial law and taxation and law and society. Our graduates are notable for their sound legal knowledge, practical legal skills, spirit of co-operative yet critical inquiry, integrity and service to the legal profession and the community.
Our Higher Degree Research programs emphasise excellent supervision, through regular face to face meetings between students and supervisors, and engagement in the intellectual life of the school and the university more broadly. Our postgraduate students are encouraged to join a Research Focus Area, maximise their research experience by participating in RED workshops and writing workshops run through the Graduate Research School, and to attend the regular staff seminar series.
We also encourage students to develop their presentation skills through activities such as the 3 Minute Thesis competition, the First Year Retreat and the annual Post Graduate Conference where students present their research in a supportive environment.
Our students are provided with office space, computer and printer facilities, and access to kitchens and other relevant facilities. Students have the opportunity in each semester to apply to a school research grant programme for funds to support their research activities, including travel to conferences relevant to their research.
How to apply
The first step is to obtain an 'in principle' agreement from a supervisor. It is recommended that you search the profile pages of staff members to gauge whether there is a staff member who would provide an appropriate fit for your research interests. You should contact potential supervisors directly (their contact details are on their profile pages) to discuss your research proposal. If your proposed research project does not appear to fit within the listed areas of expertise, please use the Online Enquiry Form and your request will be directed to the School Graduate Research Coordinator for consideration.
Once you have an agreement from a Supervisor, you can then begin the online application process. Please note that even if supervision is available, final decisions regarding your application are made by the Graduate Research School Committee and may take several weeks to process.
Acceptance to HDR studies in the law school requires English-language proficiency (for international students this will require sitting the IELTS), as well as relevant research experience. Research experience can be demonstrated by completion of an honours thesis in your LLB or JD degree, or the thesis component of an LLM or other relevant Masters degree. If you did not complete a thesis as part of your undergraduate or previous postgraduate studies, you can also demonstrate research experience by publication of a scholarly article in a peer-reviewed journal or similar.
If you are applying from outside Australia, you will find additional information about studying a HDR at La Trobe University at the La Trobe International page.
You may also be interested in information about HDR scholarships.