Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Law


4 years full-time (note that some scholarships are for a maximum of 3.5 years at present with a possible extension). If part-time study is approved, the maximum duration is 8 years.

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirements are: English language proficiency, and at a minimum, a bachelor's degree with first or upper second class honours, usually in law. Admission into this program is highly competitive and we therefore prioritise applicants with a first class honours degree. We favour applicants who also have a masters degree with a high grade point average.

The level of English language required for Law is high (see How to Apply). If you are an international student, you must provide a current IELTS or TOEFL certificate as proof of your competency. The tests can be arranged through the British Council or the Australian Embassy in your country.

Program description

The PhD in Law is an opportunity for you to engage in high-quality independent research as part of an extended research project. The PhD degree requires submission of a thesis of not more than 100,000 words that makes a substantial contribution to learning in the field of law. Each candidate has a supervisory panel of academics. Students are encouraged to participate in the activities of the ANU College of Law, and would most often be based on campus and study full-time.

Mode of delivery

The research outcome of a PhD degree is a thesis of not more than 100,000 words. During their study, candidates are assessed against milestones which include: annual plans (completed 3 months after commencement and then annually); annual reports; a thesis proposal review; and an oral presentation.

Research students at ANU must fulfil the minimum residency requirements specified in the Australian Government’s Research Award Rules 2017 unless approval has been obtained for a reduced period of attendance, or the student is externally based. Applicants should make a detailed case for any reduced period of attendance, preferably at the time of application. ANU also has a PhD Attendance Requirements Policy which describes these requirements.

If you are approved to study externally (via distance), the minimum attendance on campus is 4 weeks each year. For further information, please refer to the Guidelines For Externally Based Students on the ANU Law Apply online page. Approval to study externally cannot be guaranteed.

ANU Law will provide a suitable work space and computer on the ANU campus in Canberra. All students will have access to Wattle (Web Access to Teaching & Learning Environments), the University’s online learning platform.


ANU has the highest level of graduate employability of any Australian university.

In addition, graduating from ANU Law will see you join a prestigious and highly recognised alumni network of over 20,000 professionals in Australia and around the globe.

Academic experts

Each candidate has a supervisory panel of academics, usually drawn from the ANU College of Law’s experts.

With particular expertise in constitutional and administrative lawinternational lawenvironmental lawmigration law, governance and national securityour academic staff are frequently called on by parliamentary committees, peak bodies, professional associations and the media for analysis, advice and guidance on the law, and what might be done to improve it.

Many of our expert research staff are also award winning teachers who are are always accessible and work closely with you to ensure you successfully complete your studies. We have created a supportive and nurturing environment in which you can thrive.

Admission to practice

A PhD in Law will not provide a basis for admission to practice.


ANU currently enrols domestic research students under the Research Training Scheme (RTS) which is funded by the Commonwealth Government. RTS funded students are not required to contribute to the cost of their tuition for the duration of their program.

International students are required to pay the cost of their tuition for the duration of their program. The annual fee for international students (2018) is $40,416.00.

Fees for the PhD program are also available on the Programs and Courses website.


ANU funds and administers a range of scholarships for graduate research degree programs, especially for domestic students. See our HDR scholarships page for information on these scholarships and their deadlines.

More information on ANU costs and fees, and scholarships and support is available on the central ANU website.

For more information on the Australian education system please go to the government websites MyUniversity and StudyAssist.


We have prepared detailed information on how to apply to do Higher Degree Research at ANU Law, including information on scholarships, putting your application together, applying online and commencement. Please read through these instructions thoroughly.

Program and Courses

For information on admission requirements, fees, courses, electives, suggested study patterns and more see Programs and Courses »

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