Juris Doctor / Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Graduate Diploma, JD)

University of Newcastle, Australia Australia

Cricos: 00109J

For more information about Juris Doctor / Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at University of Newcastle, Australia, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award
Graduate Diploma, JD

How long you will study
3 years

Domestic course fees
find out

How you will study

Course starts

International course fees
AUD 27720 per year

All study options

About Juris Doctor / Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at University of Newcastle, Australia

Are you a University graduate with an interest in law? The study of law at a post-graduate level can expand your ability to affect change within your existing discipline or field, or it can take your career in a new direction.

The Juris Doctor (JD) and the embedded Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (GDLP) at the University of Newcastle is designed to equip you with knowledge, clinical experience and the qualifications for admission to legal practice in Australia.

Offered at a postgraduate level, the combined JD/GDLP prepares you to be a career-ready graduate with the skills and extensive knowledge to become a leader in Australian and global legal practice. Students can commence the program in either Trimester 1 (early February) or the Winter Term (late June).

When undertaking the JD, you will simultaneously complete the GDLP. The combined JD/GDLP means that you will develop high level academic and legal skills, while also gaining practical and real-world experience. The ability to achieve both qualifications at once differentiates the Newcastle JD from other JD programs. Embedding the GDLP within the JD program is also extremely cost effective, as you graduate ready to practise as a solicitor. At the same time, the Newcastle region provides quality of life and affordable living options for students, making it an ideal location to undertake postgraduate study.

While completing your JD at the Newcastle Law School, you will also contribute to the work of the University of Newcastle Legal Centre, developing your legal skills by working on real cases under the supervision of experienced lawyers, while providing an important service to the community and increasing access to justice in the Hunter region.

In today's competitive employment market, employers are looking for highly qualified graduates with a wide range of skills. Even if you do not want to become a practising lawyer, a JD degree will provide you with a multifaceted skill and knowledge base to help you in your chosen professional career. It will enhance your academic and professional qualifications and make you a more desirable employee, whether you choose to work in the public service, in business, or in the not-for-profit sector.

Professional placement

As part of the GDLP, students undertake 285 hours of legal professional workplace experience. A minimum of 105 hours of that practical experience is undertaken at the University of Newcastle Legal Centre, under the supervision of the Law School's solicitors. Law School staff also assist students to arrange external placements to make up the remaining 180 professional training hours. This is very attractive to potential employers and gives Newcastle graduates a significant advantage over graduates from other universities whose only practical experience has involved simulated client advice sessions, rather than providing advice and other legal assistance to real clients. 

Experience a personalised learning environment

You will study in a collegial, interactive learning community with highly qualified and award-winning academic staff dedicated to your success. Because of the small cohort size of Newcastle Law School's JD Program, you will experience a friendly and supportive study environment. You will also benefit from a balanced student-teacher ratio, which creates a personalised approach to teaching and learning and ensures that you will get to know the academic staff at the school. You can expect:

  • Interactive seminar classes
  • Dedicated and accessible teachers
  • A collegial student community
  • An international network of students and alumni who can help you advance your career.

In 2017 Newcastle Law School will be moving to its new home at the university's landmark education precinct, NeW Space, in the Newcastle CBD.  JD students will enjoy the highest quality social learning spaces, digital library services and information commons, collaborative learning and research spaces, and facilities for engagement with industry, business and the community.

The Juris Doctor (JD) / Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice is accredited by the Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales.

Graduates can apply for entry into the legal profession as solicitors without any further study.

What will you study?

The Juris Doctor (JD) / Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice comprises 280 units (i.e 28 x 10 unit courses), which includes 210 units of core courses including the Legal Practice courses, plus 70 units of directed courses chosen from a list of 40 courses (subject to availability).

Students can choose directed courses that they are interested in from a range of areas including (subject to availability):

  • Advanced Criminal Law
  • Advanced Legal Research Project
  • Commercial Dispute Resolution
  • Commercial Law
  • Competition Law and Policy
  • Corporate Power and Corporate Accountability: Pathways to Socially Responsible Business
  • Crime and Society
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Employment Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental/Natural Resources Law Clinic
  • Equal Opportunity Law
  • Family Law
  • Food and Wine Law
  • Human Rights and Climate Change-Induced Human Displacement
  • Indigenous Peoples, Issues and the Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • International Air and Space Law
  • International Human Rights Law
  • Internet Law
  • Jurisprudence
  • Law and Religion
  • Law for startups
  • Mediation Skills and Theory
  • Mining Law
  • Negotiation in a Legal Context
  • Social Justice/Public Interest Clinic
  • Taxation Law

Custom legal clinics

You will gain in-depth practical experience by participating in customised Legal Clinics exploring a range of areas, including:

Environmental/Natural Resources Law

Experience practical application through both litigious and non-litigious enforcement practices of the key legislative instruments relevant to Australia's natural resources - water, native vegetation, forests, minerals, threatened species and land. This clinic will also consider policy making in the environmental and natural resources law field where experience may be gained in drafting submissions to law reform commissions, parliamentary bodies and other organisations.

Social Justice/Public Interest Law

Social justice and public interest legal cases will form the basis of the practice in this clinic where opportunities will be presented to develop communication, research, drafting and advocacy skills in the context of these interesting cases. For example, students taking this clinic have assisted asylum seekers to apply to be accepted into Australia as refugees.

The Juris Doctor (JD) / Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice is accredited by the Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales.

Is it for you?

First-rate classroom tuition combined with practical, hands-on experience prepares and makes you eligible to apply to the Legal Profession Admission Board for admission to legal practice as a solicitor immediately after completing your Juris Doctor (JD) / Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, with no need for further study. With some additional study you will also become eligible to practise as a Barrister.

Newcastle Law is Australia's leading clinical law school and was the first in the country to offer an integrated learning experience. Your degree integrates experiential learning and skills training with the conventional legal curriculum, including a wide range of elective courses.


Graduating with the Juris Doctor (JD) / Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice gives you the skills and knowledge to practice as a lawyer, and is also the springboard to a range of exciting professional careers.

As a graduate you will have the flexibility to tailor a career path that matches your professional, financial and lifestyle aspirations.

You will also receive an excellent general education, giving you an understanding of how society functions, and equipping you with analytical and logical reasoning skills. From the boardroom or political campaign trail, to the journalist's desk or United Nations headquarters, a law degree from the University of Newcastle can lead you almost anywhere.

Professional accreditation

Students will be eligible to apply to practise as a solicitor in Australia upon completion of the program, with no need for any further study.

Practice as a Solicitor

Solicitors are responsible for providing clients with legal advice and expertise. This includes helping clients with legal problems, advising them of their legal rights and obligations, and drafting documents such as contracts, affidavits and other court forms. Solicitors also appear in Court and as advocates to represent their clients and run hearings. Most matters are settled out of court, so solicitors also assist their clients to negotiate solutions to their legal issues, for example by assisting them to participate in alternative dispute resolution processes, such as mediation. Many solicitors also work as mediators themselves.

Depending on your employment situation, you may practise across a variety of different areas or choose to specialise in one or two areas. Traditional practice areas include:

  • Civil litigation
  • Commercial law
  • Criminal law
  • Family law
  • Personal injury
  • Property law
  • Tax law
  • Wills and estates

Our society is governed by laws and regulations. Therefore, it is not surprising that political, social and technological developments often give rise to new legal practice areas. As a lawyer, you can also practise in developing areas such as:

  • Computer and internet law
  • Climate change law
  • Energy and resource law
  • Human rights law
  • International law
  • Sports law

Become a barrister

Instead of becoming a solicitor, you can practice law as a barrister. Barristers provide clients with expert legal advice and often specialise in only one or two areas of the law.

Your primary role as a barrister is to be an advocate for your client, whether that involves taking responsibility for arguing a case before the court or negotiating directly with legal representatives of the other party. The best barristers have a reputation as being eloquent public speakers, and usually have an excellent understanding of procedure, tactics and the rules of evidence. They also play an important role in helping to resolve matters out of court and hence require high level negotiation skills.

Many barristers first practise as solicitors to gain the necessary experience and professional connections before joining the Bar. On completing your JD/GDLP, before you can become a Barrister in NSW you will also need to complete the New South Wales Bar Association's Bar Practice Course and Bar Examination.

Private Practice

Working in private practice ranges from being an employee, owner or partner in a range of forms of business from  sole practitioners to \  large, top-tier global firms with offices in many countries, dozens of partners and hundreds of employees.

Government Law

Government lawyers perform a variety of duties depending on the role of the department in which they are employed. For example, lawyers employed by the Department of Defence may have to advise on international and military law. Government lawyers are also involved in research, policy development, law reform and drafting legislation.

Corporate 'in-house' law

Large corporations employ lawyers to provide legal services tailored exclusively to their business needs. These services may include representation in litigation matters, company law advice, advice on complying with occupational health and safety laws, and drafting contracts and other company documents.

Legal Aid/ Community Legal Centre practice

These organisations provide legal services to members of the community who are disadvantaged or who cannot afford to pay for legal advice.

Non-legal careers

The Juris Doctor (JD) opens doors not only to the legal profession, but provides you with professional skills and values that are in demand in other industries and professional pathways.

Employers generally consider law graduates to be highly intelligent, critical thinkers with excellent work ethic.

As a Juris Doctor (JD) graduate, you will be highly competitive in the business and corporate sector because of your task management skills, knowledge of corporate law and negotiation skills. Your analytical problem solving skills and critical thinking abilities will also be highly valued. Many industries are highly regulated and your ability to interpret the laws and regulations governing the industry you choose to work in, and to assist your employer to comply with those laws and regulations, will serve you well.

A law degree also demonstrates a commitment to justice, equality and the rule of law - qualities which are valued by national and international non-governmental organisations, and by government departments and political bodies.

The Juris Doctor (JD) / Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice is accredited by the Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales.

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardGraduate Diploma, JDHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study3 years
    Course startsFebruaryDomestic course fees find outInternational course feesAUD 27720 per year

Entry requirements

Entry to the JD/GradDipLegPrac is available to students who meet the following entry requirements:

  • Applicants for the combined Juris Doctor/Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice must have successfully completed a tertiary qualification of 3-year Level 7 Bachelor Degree other than Law from a recognised institution with a GPA of 4.0 or above; or
  • other tertiary qualification from a recognised institution assessed by the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor to be equivalent and with a similar level of attainment as provided above.

Location of University of Newcastle, Australia

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