Did you know that The University of Melbourne right here in Australia is ranked no. 6 in the world among some of the most prestigious universities on the planet, for its Law School? Think of it … the five that came before it are Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Yale and Stanford; extremely illustrious company indeed.
Now whilst it’s the only Australian institution to make the top 10, we did manage to score four places in the top 15! We’re referring to the annual list compiled by QS World University Rankings, a highly credible ranking system that bases its criteria on elements such as student experience, teacher/student ratio and graduate employability.
So which are the famed four? Read our list of the top four universities in Australia for Law and you’ll soon have a good idea as to which ones should be on your shortlist to apply for.
Around 15,000 students graduate from law every year in Australia and not all of them because lawyers, or solicitors. Many law graduates find themselves in diverse occupations in countless industries. You could end up working in human resources to protect your employer organisation’s interests or in investment banking to steer the company through banking laws and around tricky loopholes.
You could go into management consulting where your critical thinking skills and knowledge of the law will be highly prized, or even journalism. Few professionals would do better at presenting a balanced view than a trained lawyer.
Graduate Careers Australia says that 74 per cent of Australian law school graduates find full-time jobs within the first four months of graduation. That doesn’t mean all those graduates became lawyers but it also doesn’t mean their careers won’t be hugely successful. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, himself a lawyer, famously commented that there are “too many kids doing law”. Perhaps, perhaps not; what matters is that they find gainful employment as a result of their prestigious degree.
At which Australian university should you study for your law degree?
The prestige of a degree from Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne would look extremely good on your CV. As the number one law school in Australia (number six in the world), its credentials here are second to none. It offers the Melbourne JD, Melbourne Law Masters and Graduate Research Degrees and undergraduate students can undertake single-subject studies and breadth subjects too.
In addition to the over 90 academic staff members who teach at MLS on a daily basis, each year, over 170 lecturers, fellows and scholars visit from around the country and around the world to deliver enlightening presentations and classes. The university’s Law Library boasts one of Australia’s best collections of law works.
Other facilities include three fully equipped computer labs where students can access an extensive collection of online legal databases, and a rare books collection featuring items that date back as far as the early 17th century. The Melbourne JD (Juris Doctor) course comprises 24 subjects, including the 16 mandatory subjects that are required for admission to practice law in Australia.
Founded in 1850, the University of Sydney is home to the world-renowned Sydney Law School. It is the alma mater of many political and legal leaders including six Australian Prime Ministers, four Opposition leaders, two Governors-General and 18 Justices of the High Court, which is more than that produced by any other Australian law school.
The entry level degree is the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) which is taught in conjunction with economics, engineering, arts, commerce or science. Next is the Juris Doctor (JD), a graduate entry professional law degree that serves as a pathway into Law. A Master of Laws (LLM) is also offered and equips lawyers with deep specialist legal knowledge.
The University of Sydney’s flagship New Law Building is a purpose-built facility located on the main campus. It is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and well-designed spaces to optimise learning. How to apply.
Coming in at number 14 on the QS World University Rankings, The University of New South Wales is a popular choice for students wishing to study Law. It has a high entrance requirement, with an ATAR cut-off of more than 99, and an unconventional teaching structure. Each subject is taught in two seminars per week, a departure from the usual lectures and tutorials presentation.
The aim is to facilitate interactive learning and student participation, and students appreciate having ample time during the week, outside of those two days to work part-time or to study. UNSW co-founded and operates the Australasian Legal Information Institute which offers free online access to a comprehensive database of legal resources. UNSW Law claims to offer more internships and clinics than any other law school in Australia.
UNSW undergraduate students study a Bachelor of Laws and an additional non-law degree such as Commerce, Arts or Science and ultimately graduate with two degrees. The Bachelor of Arts and Business/Bachelor of Law degree is a five-year full-time course. You can choose from a huge array of Majors including criminology, Asian studies, international business, linguistics, politics, sociology and anthropology and even music. How to apply.
Ranked number 15 on the QS list, The Australian National University’s Law School is located in the nation’s capital and offers one undergraduate program. Students who prefer a smaller school will appreciate ANU for its student body of around 9,500 undergraduates and fewer than 7,000 postgraduate students. ATAR scores, at 98, are lower than for other institutions which means students who study there may not have been accepted to other universities, but now have an opportunity to study the field of Law. ANU’s four-year full-time Bachelor of Laws (Honours) degree can be undertaken as a flexible double degree over five years.
The Australian National University has a long-standing reputation as a leader in social justice and law reform. A Law degree from ANU equips you to make a genuine and positive difference to Australian and overseas individuals, organisations and communities.
Study at ANU and you’ll be surrounded by important government agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Treasury, the Department of Defence and the Attorney-General’s Department, not to mention the High Court of Australia and Federal Parliament. Your real-world experience in the latter part of your studies will include field trips, mooting competitions and internships. How to apply.
While it might be tempting to choose the big names in Law Schools such as Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Yale and Stanford, the truth is, your Australian Law degree will be every bit as recognised around the world. The cost of studying in the US or the UK is higher than it is in Australia and many would argue – especially if they’re interested in legal studies! – that living in Australia whilst studying is the ultimate deciding factor.
International students choose Australia for the laidback way of life, the friendly people, the comfortable climate and, for many, the relative proximity to home. Which Australian Law School will you choose?