Graduate Research Unit

A research paper may be taken as part of a Juris Doctor, Master of Laws, Master of Financial Management and Law, Master of International Law and Diplomacy or Master of Legal Practice program. The course is worth 12 units and involves the completion of a 12,000-16,000 word research thesis.

Further information can be located within the Research Paper Guidelines


Ensure you meet minimum program requirements

  • Juris Doctor - a distinction (70%) average across 24 units in your JD, including completion of at least two 8000 level courses.
  • Master of Laws, Master of Financial Management and Law, Master of International Law and Diplomacy - a distinction (70%) average across 24 units of 8000 level LAWS courses.


Topics and Supervision

Students are now required to nominate two academic staff members as potential supervisors for the course. You can choose to do this by preparing:

  • One topic and two prospective supervisors OR
  • Two topics with a different supervisor for each topic.


Begin thinking about your proposed topic and prepare an outline

The outline should comprise of:

  • the proposed research topic and its boundaries;
  • the key issues to be addressed;
  • the methodology adopted to address the issues;
  • Propose a timetable for writing the thesis;
  • preliminary literature review and a bibliography; and
  • the list of literature consulted.

The outline must be such as to convince a supervisor that the topic is sufficiently developed and refined and that the paper can be successfully completed within the semester. It is expected that the outline is a maximum of 2000 words in length.

If empirical research is to be carried out, you must indicate that any relevant ethics approval has been sought. In practice, you should get ethics clearance at least 6 to 8 weeks before the research is scheduled to occur. You will also need to consider the feasibility of completing the research in time to enable submission of your paper by the due date.


Approaching a potential supervisor

You will need to discuss your proposed research topic/s with two ANU College of Law academic staff members from the list of potential supervisors available.


Submitting an application

Once your supervisors have confirmed that they are willing to supervise you, please obtain an approval email from them and upload it when you submit your online application. Please note that the allocation of supervisors is based on academic availability. Whilst every effort will be made to assign you to one of the two supervisors selected, circumstances may require you to be allocated to another supervisor.

Applications for semester 2, 2022 closed on April 10, 2022.



If your application is approved, you will be sent a notification to enrol in the relevant course code and semester.

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team