If you are a prospective student of law looking for education on distant shores, you could hardly do better than Australia.

All but one of the 39 Universities Australia institutions have law programs!

Just to clarify: Universities Australia is an organisation intent of furthering higher education through cooperative, voluntary and coordinated action.

They are not the sum total of all of the accredited universities in that country; that number totals 43 – of which 40 are Australian, two are international and one is privately-run.

Among other missions outlined in their charter is to promote and advance the globalisation of Australian universities. To that end, many institutes of higher learning offer internationally acclaimed study programmes.

You might help them by declaring yourself an international student and studying law there!

As ever, your Superprof is on the front wave of information, bringing you everything you need to know about the best universities in Australia that offer law programmes at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Pack your bags and get your passport ready; here we go!

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The Australian National University

Imagine yourself studying law at ANU
You may study constitutional law in ANU's law college south wing Source: Wikipedia Credit: Nick D

A quick scan of the QS World University Rankings 2019 reveals that Australian universities take five of the top 50 spots on their list.

Read more about the best law universities in the world.

In case you are not in the know about this best-regarded ranking system: it is the only international ranking system of schools that has received International Ranking Expert Group approval, meaning that its report is both judicious and credible.

Of those highly rated universities, the Australian National University ranks highest, coming in at #24.

It is ranked #1 in Australia for research and education!

Located in Canberra, its sterling academic reputation draws students from all over the world.

Not only did it rank in the 97th percentile in the world for educational facilities but it also ranked #1 as an international facility and just a half-percentage point below that as the school most welcoming for international students!

Their College of Law is one of seven academic colleges, led by national and international experts of the law who specialise in commercial law, international law, environmental law and public law.

If these are among the legal fields you had intended to study, consider yourself as having found your ideal law school!

You may enrol in their law school programme or finish your legal education by registering for their school of legal practice.

Their Bachelor of Laws programme (LLB Hons) requires a four-year commitment, or you may pursue a double-major, for which you would be allowed five years to complete.

If you prefer to stay in Europe, read more about the best law colleges on the old continent.

What it Takes to Get There

A student visa and health insurance are a given, as is an acceptance letter.

Your acceptance into this most prestigious school is predicated upon your meeting certain academic prerequisites: you will need a satisfactory A-Levels results (subjects unspecified).

Furthermore, unless you are 18 or over, you must have proof of adult supervision while studying, even if you live on-campus, in student housing.

That person must be qualified: a relative or other person with a demonstrable relationship to you; one who is in good standing with the community.

And, you must have proof of your ability to support yourself financially during your education.

That being said, we come to the painful disclosure that tuition at this top-tier facility is not cheap; however, the steep fees for international students may be offset by grants and scholarships.

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The University of Melbourne

This venerable institution of higher learning is the second-oldest in that city and the oldest in Victoria – the state that Melbourne is the capital city of.

Among that campus’ 11 academic units sits the Melbourne School of Law which, along with their Medical School, ranks highest in global esteem.

College Crescent comprises of seven residential colleges surrounding the cricket oval. They are designed to provide students with a holistic educational experience.

This school is a standout in academic circles for many reasons, not the least of which is their Melbourne Model educational program, in which discrete, 4-year degree programs were replaced with 3-year, generalised degrees.

This course structure, unique in Australia, has faced a significant backlash from academics and students alike. Nevertheless, shaving a year off of nine programmes saves students a substantial amount in tuition and housing fees.

The Law College is not among those shortened programmes – sorry!

Admission there will cost you a little over 20,000AUD per year and, like the previously-mentioned institute, you must be able to prove financial stability as a part of the application process.

However, here again, you may apply for a scholarship to ease your financial burden.

All other application criteria apply: having attained the equivalent of their Victorian Certificate of Education (your A-Levels), obtaining a student visa and studying full time.

If you would like to learn another language at the same time, why not study law in Asia and learn Mandarin or Japanese?

Wouldn't you love to attend classes in this new law building?
The University of Sydney's new law building would make anyone want to attend classes there! Source: Wikipedia Credit: Pear285

Sydney Law School

Located amongst the buildings of Australia’s oldest university is Sydney Law School: winner of a record number of Moot Court Competitions and producer of 24 Rhodes Scholars.

Even among top universities around the world, that is a fantastic track record!

For academic excellence and the pursuit of intellectual advancement, there are few rivals to Sydney Law School – in Australia or elsewhere in the world.

Applying to this school for undergraduate studies entails the usual criteria: student visa, financial disclosure and satisfactory A-Levels achievement.

Your legal studies at Sydney School of Law will entail:

  • studies that will lead to both professional recognition and registration

  • internships to gain practical experience

  • the opportunity for a double major – give your skills set a wider breadth of knowledge

  • studying law in an open learning environment

Whether you only intend to attain your LLB Hons undergraduate degree or intend to complete postgraduate studies – earning your Juris Doctor through their diverse programmes, you may be sure that your academic achievements will be well-regarded both in the classroom and later, when you practice law.

Pretty much anywhere you study law, in public universities in the UK or at an international university, the price tag will be cringe-worthy.

However, the University of Sydney helps to offset that financial burden by offering scholarships to qualified students and student loans, especially for international students.

You can also study law in the US.

The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney)

Located in Kensington, just outside of Sydney, this is a public university which, among other distinctions, is a founding member of the Group of Eight.

That would be a coalition of research universities in Australia, a part of the global network of institutes with the same priorities called Universitas 21.

Your prospective school is a partner for international research and exchange with over 200 universities around the world!

That’s some serious bragging rights... provided you gain admission to their law program.

Unlike the facilities we’ve discussed so far, this institute requires sitting a specialised exam designed by their law programme administrators.

No need for worry; it consists of only two questions designed to measure your critical thinking skills and aptitude as a potential scholar.

International undergraduates have 25 areas of law to pursue their studies in. Additionally, they may partake of offered internships, or even spend a semester overseas, in a partner university study programme.

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You may earn your master's in law in such classrooms
Enrolled in UNSW Law school, you may find yourself in such a classroom Source: Wikipedia Credit: Jonash25

What about postgraduate studies?

You may spend 1-2 years doing coursework – lectures and tutorials, exams and other assignments. Or you may spend double that time to conduct research.

As a doctoral candidate, you would benefit from the mentorship of an expert in the field in which you wish to conduct research, culminating in a Masters’ or Doctorate (PhD) degree.

How much would this set you back, you wonder...

Beyond a nominal application fee, you can plan to invest upwards of 50,000 AUD for your undergraduate studies.

Tuition fees for international students are set at course level rather than (degree) programme level. - UNSW FAQ page

Here again, UNSW shows its originality by setting prices according to the cost of teaching the course, rather than on the anticipated number of students who will take the course – as most other major universities do.

However, they join other universities worldwide in offering grants and scholarships to deserving students and other financial aid for students from select countries.

Yes, the UK is on that list!

What price should one put on one’s future? Does that price matter as much as the value you get for your money?

All of these universities save one has earned a 5-star rating for the strength of their programs, for social responsibility and for graduate employability – among other criteria.

Not even the top 5 universities on the QS list merit that distinction!

Putting aside the issue of finances, for now, the experience and education you would gain through any of these facilities, let alone the fellowship you would enjoy and the network of contacts you would make in the legal field...

If you would rather stay close to home, there are great UK law schools.

These are all intangible, uncountable benefits of studying law through such schools.

So, if you are looking to spend an academic year (or longer) abroad learning the law, you may want to set your sights on Australia!

Now we round out the top ten Australian law programmes:

School NameCityQS Rank5-star rating
The University of QueenslandBrisbane48no
Monash UniversityMelbourne(tied at) 59no
University of Western Australia (UWA)Perth91yes
University of Adelaide Adelaide114no
University of Technology SydneySydney(tied at) 160yes
University of NewcastleCallaghan, Ourimbah, Port Macquire, et.al.(tied at) 214no

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