Juridical Science (PrDoc) - 1740

Program Summary

Faculty: Faculty of Law


Campus: Sydney

Career: Research

Typical Duration: 4 Years  

Typical UOC Per Semester: 24

Min UOC Per Semester: 6

Max UOC Per Semester: 24

Min UOC For Award: 144


Doctor of Juridical Science (Research)

View program information for previous years

Program Description

The Doctor of Juridical Science degree provides an opportunity to combine a doctoral thesis with the coursework component of an LLM degree.The degree consists of one-third coursework (equivalent to one year full-time) and two-thirds research (equivalent to two years full-time) which may be in an area encountered by the student while undertaking coursework.

The SJD is intended to be equivalent to a PhD and therefore one of the highest degrees that a university can award. The degree is intended to prepare candidates for an academic career, or for high level research and policy formulation. While exceeding the requirements of most practising lawyers who wish to undertake a higher degree, the SJD is widely accepted by the profession as an indicator of expertise and original contribution to an area of knowledge as is the case in North America and elsewhere overseas.

The coursework component of the degree is described under the entry for LLM by Coursework. All coursework units must be completed before the commencement of the dissertation. After completion of at least four coursework units, students intending to enrol in the dissertation may submit an outline of a proposed topic to the Director of Postgraduate Research. The topic of the dissertation, which may be a development of one or more coursework units, must be nominated by the candidate and approved by the Higher Degree Committee of the Faculty of Law. The dissertation must amount to an original contribution to a field of study, and be of publishable quality. It will be assessed by not less than two external examiners appointed by the Faculty Higher Degree Committee. Assessment is as for other final research degrees, ie award / not award / re-submit.

Program Objectives and Graduate Attributes

Please contact the Faculty of Law for information.

Program Structure

Please contact the Faculty of Law for information.

Please refer to Program 9200 (LLM) for a list of Postgraduate Elective Courses for the Doctor of Juridical Science (coursework component).

Academic Rules

Award of the Degree

1. The degree of Doctor of Juridical Science may be awarded by the Council on the recommendation of the Higher Degree Committee of the Faculty of Law (hereinafter referred to as the Committee) to a candidate who after satisfactorily completing a qualifying program comprising 48 units of credit in the UNSW LLM by coursework degree has through the submission of a thesis based on his or her research made an original and significant contribution to knowledge in the field of law.


2. (1) A candidate for the degree shall have been awarded a Master of Laws from the University of New South Wales and shall have achieved a average of 75% or better. In addition, a research proposal must be submitted as soon as feasible after completion the qualifying program. Admission to the SJD will be conditional on the viability of the research proposal.

(2) In exceptional cases an applicant who submits evidence of such other academic and professional qualifications as may be approved by the Committee may be permitted to enrol for the degree.

(3) If the Committee is not satisfied with the qualifications submitted by an applicant, the Committee may require the applicant to undergo such assessment or carry out such work as the Committee may prescribe before permitting enrolment.


3. (1) An application to enrol as a candidate for the degree shall be made online at:

(2) In every case before making the offer of a place the Committee shall be satisfied that initial agreement has been reached between the School and the applicant on the provision of adequate facilities to be prescribed and that these are in accordance with the provisions of the guidelines for promoting postgraduate study within the University.

(3) The candidate shall be enrolled as either a full-time or part-time student.

(4) A full-time candidate will present the thesis for examination no earlier than four academic semesters and no later than six academic semesters from the date of enrolment for the SJD degree (ie after completion of the qualifying program) and a part-time candidate will present the thesis no earlier than six academic semesters and no later than ten academic semesters from the date of enrolment, except with the approval of the Committee.

(5) The candidate must complete the qualifying program as an internal student; that is on campus.

(6) An internal candidate will normally carry out the research on a campus or at a teaching or research facility of the University except that the Committee may permit a candidate to spend a period in the field, within another institution or elsewhere away from the University provided that the work can be supervised in a manner satisfactory to the Committee. In such instances the Committee shall be satisfied that the location and period of time away from the University are necessary to the research program.

(7) The research shall be supervised by a supervisor and a co-supervisor who are members of the academic staff of the School or under other appropriate supervision arrangements approved by the Committee.


4. The progress of the candidate shall be considered by the Committee following a report from the School in accordance with the procedures established within the School and previously noted by the Committee.

(1) The progress of a candidate during both the qualifying program and the period of research shall be reviewed at least once annually, and as a result of any such review the Committee may cancel enrolment or take such other action as it considers appropriate.


5. (1) On completing the program of study a candidate shall submit a thesis which normally would not exceed 70,000 words and which makes an original and significant contribution in the field of law.

(2) The candidate shall give in writing to the Graduate Research School two months notice of intention to submit the thesis.

(3) The thesis shall present an account of the candidate's own research.

(4) Three copies of the thesis shall be presented in a form which complies with the requirements of the University for the preparation and submission of theses for higher degrees.

(5) It shall be understood that the University retains the three copies of the thesis submitted for examination and is free to allow the thesis to be consulted or borrowed. Subject to the provisions of the Copyright Act, 1968, the University may issue the thesis in whole or in part, in photostat or microfilm or other copying medium.


6. (1) There shall be not fewer than two external examiners of the thesis, appointed by the Committee.

(2) At the conclusion of the examination each examiner shall submit to the Committee a concise report on the thesis and shall recommend to the Committee that:

(a) The thesis merits the award of the degree, or

(b) The thesis merits the award of the degree subject to minor corrections as listed being made to the satisfaction of the Head of School, or

(c) The thesis requires further work on matters detailed in the examiner's report. Should performance in this further work be to the satisfaction of the Higher Degree Committee, the thesis would merit the award of the degree, or

(d) The thesis does not merit the award of the degree in its present form and further work as described in the examiner's report is required. The revised thesis should be subject to re-examination, or

(e) The thesis does not merit the award of the degree and does not demonstrate that resubmission would be likely to achieve that merit.

(3) If the performance at the further work recommended under (2)(c) above is not to the satisfaction of the Committee, the Committee may permit the candidate to re-present the same thesis and submit to further examination as determined by the Committee within a period specified by it but not exceeding eighteen months.

(4) The Committee shall, after consideration of the examiners' reports and the results of any further work, recommend whether or not the candidate may be awarded the degree. If it is decided that the candidate be not awarded the degree the Committee shall determine whether or not the candidate be permitted to resubmit the thesis after a further period of study and/or research. If the decision of the Committee results non-award of the SJD the candidate may take out a Master of Laws degree on the basis of the coursework completed before the SJD thesis.


7. A candidate shall pay such fees as may be determined from time to time by the Council.


For information regarding fees for UNSW programs, please refer to the following website:  UNSW Fee Website.

Area(s) of Specialisation