Minor Thesis option
The Master of Laws (LLM) includes a Minor Thesis option. To undertake this option students complete four subjects drawn from the subjects prescribed by the Law School as part of the coursework program and a minor thesis (50 points of study) on a topic approved by the Law School.
Upon successful completion of four coursework subjects with a minimum of 75% in each, and having completed at least one research paper of 8,000 words or more, candidates admitted to the Master of Laws can seek approval to enrol in the minor thesis.
Candidates are required to submit a thesis topic and outline and seek an appropriate supervisor before final approval can be granted. The Law School can give no assurance it can provide a supervisor, and this may mean that students will need to select another topic for the minor thesis or not enrol in the minor thesis.
Format of the Minor Thesis
The minor thesis comprises a dissertation of 20,000 to 35,000 words. With the approval of the Law School, it may also take the form of two major articles of 10,000 to 15,000 words each, suitable for publication in a learned legal journal. Where any work from previous studies is incorporated in the minor thesis, the candidate must indicate the nature and extent of that incorporation and resubmit copies of the relevant papers together with the minor thesis.
Part-time students have up to twelve months and full-time students have up to six months to complete and submit the minor thesis.
Due dates for part-time students
- Beginning in Semester 1: 31 December of the same year
- Beginning in Semester 2: 30 June of the following year
Due dates for full-time students
- Beginning in Semester 1: 30 June of the same year
- Beginning in Semester 2: 31 December of the same year
How to apply
Candidates for the minor thesis must have their thesis topic approved and a supervisor appointed before enrolment.
Be admitted to the Master of Laws (LLM)
If you are not admitted to the Master of Laws (LLM) you will need to submit an application to transfer into the LLM at the same time.
You must also meet the Master of Laws entry requirements. If your Minor Thesis application is successful, you will be enrolled into the Minor Thesis in the semester following your fourth subject.
Prepare a minor thesis topic proposal
When you have completed your third coursework subject, you should begin to seriously consider the topic for your minor thesis. When you are undertaking or have completed your fourth subject, it becomes critical that you formulate and submit a proposal to seek approval to enrol in the Minor Thesis.
Ideally, your proposal should be submitted for approval while you are completing your fourth subject, and certainly no later than mid-May for a Semester 2 commencement, or mid-November for Semester 1 commencement.
The proposal should be approximately 1,000 words in length and provide:
- Information on the proposed title
- A summary of the subject of the research
- Proposed direction or aim of the thesis
- Proposed research sources and methodology
- Proposed schedule for research and completion.
Thesis proposals will not necessarily include all of these.
Candidates may contact a member of academic staff whose research interest covers the proposed topic for assistance with the proposal.
Experience has shown that candidates who do not have topics approved at an early stage often fail to complete a satisfactory thesis in the time allowed. Also, the later you leave your submission, the more difficult it becomes to appoint an appropriate supervisor who has the time available for supervision.
Getting a supervisor for your Minor Thesis
It is useful to contact a member of academic staff whose research interests are in your area of interest to discuss the development of a proposal and possible supervision.
In many cases, students have potential supervisors in mind based on the coursework subjects they have taken, if not you may be able to identify staff with interests in the area of your proposed topic via the list of MLM teachers and their profiles. Most staff are happy to take initial inquiries in person or via email, particularly if they know you from other subjects. Supervisors external to the Melbourne Law School are not usually permitted. You should note, however, that the academic you speak with about your proposal will not necessarily be willing or able to take on supervision of your minor thesis, as they may have other commitments, such as research projects or leave arrangements, that coincide with the period of supervision required.
If you do have difficulty identifying a potential supervisor, the Assistant Dean (Teaching & Learning), will liaise with the relevant Director of Studies and/or the Associate Dean (MLM) to attempt to identify an appropriate supervisor during the topic approval process.
Well thought out and formulated proposals are more likely to be approved in the first instance, and will be more attractive to potential supervisors.
Please contact the Associate Dean, Teaching & Learning, if you have any difficulties with your proposal.
Submit application to enrol
Once a topic has been approved, the appointment of an appropriate supervisor will be confirmed.
Enrolment in the Minor Thesis is not possible if no suitable supervisor is available.
Submission of a thesis must be in accordance with the instructions provided via the Learning Management System (LMS) for MLM assessments.
The examination consists of an evaluation of the thesis by the examiners. The examiners may, if they see fit, also examine the candidate orally or in writing on the subject of the thesis.
Appointment of examiners
There shall be a panel of two examiners who are, or have been within the five years previous to their appointment, actively associated with a University institution of higher learning or a research institution.
The panel must be approved for the purpose of this section by the Academic Board. At least one of these examiners must be external to the University.
Resubmission of a rejected thesis requires permission of the Law School, which would not be given except on recommendation of the examiners.
Students who are required to resubmit a thesis will be required to re-enrol and pay further fees.
Candidates seeking an extension of time for the submission of their thesis must apply to the Academic Support Office via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candidates are required to indicate the reasons for late completion, the program of work proposed over the extension period and the expected completion date. This application must be accompanied by supporting documentation from the supervisor endorsing the request.
A first request will be granted if the supervisor and the Assistant Dean, Teaching and Learning agree. Any further requests must receive the recommendation of the supervisor and the Assistant Dean, Teaching and Learning, in light of the candidate's performance to date.
Leave of Absence
Candidates who are unable to proceed with their studies for any period of time should apply for a leave of absence.
Withdrawal from candidature
A candidate who is forced to break off studies for more than one year, or whose period of candidature has expired, may make special application for permission to withdraw for the time being and to re-apply for admission at a later date. In the case of failure to complete within the maximum period, candidates will be considered for re-admission for a limited period if, in the opinion of the Law School, the work is close to submission. The application for further limited period of candidature will be considered by the Assistant Dean, Teaching and Learning.
Application for readmission
Candidates interested in pursuing readmission for a further limited period should make a written application to this effect (via email@example.com) and discuss the matter with the Assistant Dean, Teaching and Learning.