Latest legal course has universal reach

2 November 2009

Associate Dean (Postgraduate Cousrework) and Program Coordinator of the Master of Global Law, Professor Roger Magnusson.

A new masters degree at the University of Sydney is spreading the law into other professions, writes Melinda Ham in the 2nd November 2009 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Imagine having the choice of any postgraduate law unit offered at the University of Sydney- one of the largest graduate law schools in the world - and you don't even have to be a lawyer.

The new Master of Global Law is the first of its kind in Australia and the first degree to offer such a diverse choice of study.

It provides lawyers and non-law professionals with the opportunity to get a postgraduate degree that gives them transnational legal expertise, the associate dean of law at the university, Professor Roger Magnusson, says.

"We are responding to a need in the law market but also from other professionals who need international law training as a missing piece in their professional development," Magnusson says.

Non-lawyers must take an introductory law course so they understand the terminology and fundamentals of legal study.

They can then choose a further seven postgraduate units from a huge offering of 125 units during the course of their degree, including one each from the categories of comparative and foreign law, domestic (Australian) law and international law.

"The way we've structured [the course] forces students to think about their program of study with transnational understanding," Magnusson says.

He believes the new degree could be relevant to many senior people in accountancy, engineering, business and human resources.

"We already offer specialist masters in health, environmental or tax law but the difference here is that this degree gives students global exposure," he says.

For example, a civil engineer managing large contracts in Australia, Dubai and London, who needs to understand contract law in each of these countries, might find the degree invaluable.

Similarly, a senior executive in a multinational corporation working on business sustainability might be seeking more expertise in both international and domestic environmental law.

The flexibility of the degree means after taking the initial introductory law unit, nonlegal students can tailor their study to their own area of specialisation, with both a domestic and a global focus.

Practising lawyers may also find the course useful if they are working in areas such as international trade, where they are crossing borders and need to understand World Trade Organisation laws as well as domestic business and trade legislation in particular countries, Magnusson says.

The master of global law is offered part-time or full-time, all in face-to-face lectures, either on a once-weekly, two-hour basis during a semester or in intensive blocks, with 26 hours of teaching condensed into four or five days.

Students take an average of four years to complete the course part-time or one to two years full-time.

Another appealing dimension of the degree is many of the units will be taught by visiting international experts in their field, Magnusson says.

Students will also get the opportunity to attend a rich variety of law seminars throughout their degree, featuring many eminent speakers.

It's important to note that none of the University of Sydney's postgraduate law degrees train non-legal professionals to become practising lawyers.

To achieve that, you still have to complete an undergraduate law degree.

The master of global law commences first semester 2010 and is taking enrolments now.

Download the 2010 Sydney Law School Postgraduate Law Guide (6MB)

View Sydney Law School's 2010 Postgraduate units of study in alphabetical order

View Sydney Law School's 2010 Postgraduate units of study by month

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

Email: 0115300b56213b0210300303302c21750f11562b4635510c624e39