Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Gain a degree of distinction at the ANU College of Law

ANU is a leading centre for the study of law in Australia and the world, in large part due to its close connections with all levels of government, developed over six decades.

The journey to postgraduate study can take many different paths. For some, it’s a deliberate choice made in pursuit of a lifelong passion. For others, it’s a turning point in their career that sets them on a new trajectory, reshaping their professional and personal lives.

Chloe Hosking was just 18 when she deferred her Bachelor of Laws (Honours) degree at The Australian National University (ANU) to chase her dream of becoming a professional cyclist on the world stage.

“I deferred my spot for a year while I went overseas to race my bike,” Chloe said. “I ended up being offered a professional contract with what was then the best team in the world.”

Over the subsequent years, Chloe went on to achieve remarkable success, representing Australia at the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and World Championships, all while completing an undergraduate communications degree online.

As her cycling career soared, Chloe never relinquished her desire to one day return to law school and pursue her other passion: sports law and governance. 

The day finally came seven years later, when Chloe enrolled in the Juris Doctor (JD) program at ANU.

Chloe’s story is one of many inspiring journeys that have led to postgraduate studies at ANU.

The ANU College of Law offers a range of internationally-recognised postgraduate degrees for current and aspiring lawyers, as well as public policy professionals, regulators and managers. Among these programs, the JD and Master of Laws (LLM) are our most highly sought-after degrees.

What’s the difference?

The ANU JD is a three-year degree designed for graduates of non-law disciplines who, like Chloe, are seeking admission into legal practice.

“Law is unique in that it is a profession that you require a recognised qualification to practice, so it is an essential step in my future career goals,” Chloe said.

The JD combines core foundational legal coursework with a practical, hands-on approach through clinical studies, internships and research projects. JD students have the option to choose from several specialisations: corporate and commercial law; human security law; international and comparative law; international law; law reform, environmental and social justice; new technologies law; private commercial law; and public law.  

By comparison, the LLM is a one-year graduate degree that allows law and non-law graduates to specialise in their field of choice. The LLM provides students with a choice from five specialisations: human security law; international law; new technologies law; private and commercial law; and public law.

Pursuing your passion

Our postgraduate programs are a gateway for students to expand their knowledge in their chosen fields of law.

Just like Chloe, Farzana Choudhury (GDLP ’13, LLM ‘16), chose postgraduate study at ANU to delve deeper into a long-held passion.

“I have a particular interest in human rights, and found that a Master of Laws enabled me to deepen my understanding of the law, particularly in relation to international human rights law,” she said.

Through the LLM, Farzana had the opportunity to write a thesis on due process and the death penalty in the Asia-Pacific region.

“This was an incredibly rewarding opportunity and my first taste of deeper academic research and engaging with experts across the globe rather than just relying on textbooks and journal articles,” she said.  

Since graduating in 2016, Farzana has made her mark as a human rights lawyer with a focus on disability rights at Canberra Community Law, President of the ACT Law Society (2022-2023), and Churchill Fellow, specialising in poverty law and disability discrimination law.

Advancing your career

From aspiring lawyers to seasoned professionals, our postgraduate study options are designed to help our students expand their professional skills at any stage of their careers.

Neil Pollock, a third-year JD candidate, had worked in and run businesses across the world for many years when he decided to return to university to fulfil a long-held interest in the Australian Constitution and public law.

Neil was CEO of an ASX-listed cybersecurity company at the time.

“I thought my analytical skills and ability to communicate were pretty well-developed,” he said. “Yet, the ANU JD has vastly improved both my fact-based, logical reasoning skills and the structure and flow of my written and verbal communication.”

During the course of his studies, Neil not only gained a deeper understanding of his area of interest, he also broadened his knowledge in many other areas of law, enhanced his research skills and expanded his professional network.

Neil said his postgraduate degree has prepared him to pursue “further studies and business opportunities”, as well as improved his “employability at a senior executive and Board level”.

Achieving balance

One of the many reasons that students choose to study at ANU is the flexibility of our postgraduate programs, which are delivered in a range of modes, including full-time, part-time, on-campus, evening or intensive.

Similar to Neil, Tessa Minns is studying her JD while continuing to work – in Tessa’s case as an Advisor at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“Balancing work and study always poses challenges,” Tessa said.

“However, in my experience, the ANU College of Law takes a proactive approach to supporting postgraduate students through their studies to be successful in their degree.”

“I have found that many courses are taught with an explicit focus not only on the black letter law, but also how the law operates in practice. Working with legislation and on public law matters as an advisor in the public service, this approach has supplemented and supported my professional work.”

Australia’s national law school

What sets ANU apart is its association with some of the brightest minds globally, world-class learning facilities, and the unique opportunities that come with studying law in the nation’s capital.

Associate Professor Ron Levy, Bachelor of Laws and JD Director at the ANU College of Law, emphasised the law school’s long-standing connections with government, allowing for engagement with real-world issues and policy problems.

“ANU is a leading centre for the study of law in Australia and the world, in large part due to its close connections with all levels of government, developed over six decades,” he said.

Dr Levy said one of our “main objectives is to bring expertise in the analysis of law to bear upon key socially relevant questions, including the main policy and legislative problems of the day”.

“Our experts lead in Australia and the world in areas such as international, constitutional and administrative law, and more specific areas like environmental protection, human rights, Indigenous peoples, global conflict, AI, gender and constitutional reform.”

The opportunity to learn from world-leading scholars is certainly one of the reasons Neil encourages people to consider enrolling in postgraduate studies at ANU.

“In deciding to undertake postgraduate law studies at ANU: you will have access, both formally and informally, to the best legal minds in the country and from across the globe; your personal circumstances will be understood by staff as you initially embark on and then progress through your studies; you will be challenged in your thinking while you meet and interact with bright, engaged, collaborative fellow students; and, you’ll expand your career prospects and employability in your chosen field.”

Choosing your own postgraduate pathway

The pathways to postgraduate study are as diverse as the individuals who embark upon it. The stories of Chloe, Farzana, Neil, and Tessa illustrate the transformative power of ANU Law’s postgraduate programs, and the unique opportunities to achieve academic and professional success.

Whether you seek to pursue your passion, advance your career, or are in search of flexible study options, the ANU College of Law is the ideal destination for your postgraduate journey.


Learn more about postgraduate study at the ANU College of Law here.

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