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Invest in a graduate research degree that will take you anywhere in the world. Your research will further the boundaries of legal knowledge. Discover how you can play an active role in advancing legal disciplines across policy, practice, theory and more – in Australia and overseas

In 1857, the University of Melbourne established Australia's first law course. Since then, University law graduates have become prime ministers, governors-general, judges, lawyers and academics.

Today, Melbourne Law School (MLS) is a thriving community with a global reputation for excellence. We have more than 90 academic staff members and each year, we host more than 170 visiting scholars from Australia and around the world. This means you’ll have access to the world’s best legal minds in your area of interest and you’ll be well supported to achieve your goals.

As a graduate researcher, you’ll contribute to new knowledge through your own self-directed research. You’ll receive research training of the highest quality and you’ll have the chance to collaborate with experts from other disciplines.

MLS also offers programs with institutions around the world. Being part of an international legal research community has many benefits. It will expand your networks and your job prospects and increase your exposure to high-quality legal research.

Research at MLS makes an important contribution to legal knowledge, on a global scale. We also work with industry, government and not-for-profit organisations. These research collaborations help our local, national and international communities.

Learn how we’re making a difference

We play an active role in advocating for justice and for the human rights of all people in Australia. And we strive to ensure that the nation's legal framework protects the interests of minority groups. For example, we’ve worked with the Fair Work Ombudsman to protect vulnerable workers. Together, we have implemented a proactive model. This model helps track down employers who underpay or exploit their workers.

University researchers are also advocating for justice and human rights for international communities. Current research projects explore different aspects of statelessness. These include understanding the challenges facing nomadic people, and statelessness in the Asia-Pacific region.

We’re also working hard to protect the environment. Climate change is an urgent environmental problem. It requires a rapid transition to sources of clean energy. Yet governments are slow and cautious about changing regulations to reduce emissions. So, environmental advocates are turning to courts to mount ambitious climate litigation. They want to block fossil fuel use and force planners to consider climate change impacts. University researchers analysed the capacity of climate litigation to influence energy regulation. This means that litigation can help put nations on the path to a clean energy future.

Discover more about our current research programs.

Explore research themes

Melbourne Law School offers expertise in a wide range of research areas. In fact, we have one of the broadest offerings in the world. These areas include, but are not limited to:

  • administrative law
  • Asian law
  • constitutional law and comparative constitutional law
  • corporate law and commercial law
  • criminal law
  • employment law and labour law
  • environmental and energy law
  • health law
  • human rights law
  • international law
  • private law
  • technology and intellectual property.

Join one of our research centres or institutes

Melbourne Law School hosts close to 20 research centres and institutes. As a graduate researcher, you have access to centres including:

Work with experts from other disciplines

As a law researcher, you can also work with researchers from other disciplines. Engaging with experts outside your field helps you reflect on the world in different ways. Depending on the topic, you might work with experts from areas like health, economics or education.

Hallmark Research Initiatives

Current Hallmark Research Initiatives addressing the theme of law include:

Melbourne Interdisciplinary Research Institutes

Law-related institutes include:

Interdisciplinary PhD Programs

PhD Programs enrich your core PhD studies. They create the opportunity to extend your networks beyond your own faculty. You will attend seminars and workshops with researchers from other relevant disciplines. As a graduate researcher in law, you could explore the Migration, Statelessness and Refugee Studies PhD Program, the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Ethics PhD program, or the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society program.

Access research support and training opportunities

The Law Library has one of the best law collections in Australia. Here, you can access printed volumes, rare legal texts and online databases. The library is available to graduate researchers as a study space. Study carrels and group discussion rooms accommodate both individual and group work.

Melbourne Law School hosts research events and programs throughout the year. These forums are a great way to connect with other graduate researchers. And to learn from talented staff and visiting scholars. These events include:

Learn about other ways we can support you.

Next steps

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