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How to Study Law in Australia (Even if You Don’t Have an ATAR!)

Have you just graduated from high school and your ATAR doesn’t meet the requirements for you to study law in Australia? Or, perhaps you’re living overseas, and your country doesn’t have an ATAR equivalent.

Whatever your situation, don’t worry.  You don’t actually need an ATAR to get into law! There are alternative pathways you can take if you have the desire and work ethic to study law.


If you don’t believe it, just look at Kerith’s story!


Kerith Chunga is originally from Zambia, but she migrated to Australia with her parents after she finished Year 11 in high school. As she never received an ATAR, but wanted to study law in Australia, she knew she would have to find an alternative pathway to be accepted into a degree at university.

“I’ve wanted to be a lawyer ever since I could talk, probably! Law interests me because it teaches you to think critically and analyse situations. The study of law is so diverse, and can be applied to so many things.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also developed an interest in social justice. A career in law can help me put these thoughts or passions to practice.” – Kerith


study law in Australia


She decided she wanted to study law at Murdoch University, and enrolled in a preparation course here at Murdoch Institute of Technology (MIT), which is Murdoch University’s trusted on-campus provider for Foundation Studies.

“I’ve grown so much as a person through the one year I spent at MIT. I joined the student council and I’ve gotten to meet people from diverse backgrounds. There’s nothing better than expanding your circle and being open to people from different backgrounds.” – Kerith

Kerith has just successfully graduated from MIT and is now in her first year of a Bachelor of Law at Murdoch University.


Here’s how you can follow in her footsteps and study law in Australia in 3 easy steps:


  1. Conduct some research into pathway providers.


As a first step, do a little online research, to find out which location, degree and institution will suit you. Pick your top 3, in case the first and second choices don’t offer alternative pathways to law. Then, begin some further research and reach out to the universities.

In your email or phone call, find out what options they have for alternative pathways into law. In particular, ask if they accept students into law via what’s called a ‘university foundation,’ ‘foundation studies,’ or ‘university preparation’ course. You can also usually find this information on the law page of their website.

Ask your university if they have a trusted provider that delivers a foundation course for their law degree. A Foundation Studies program will help you to gain entry into the degree you want, even if you don’t currently meet the course entry requirements.


  1. Work with the university and pathway provider to find the right pathway for you.


Each university will have different avenues for students to gain alternative entry into a law degree. Which avenue will be right for you will depend on factors like your level of education and English-language competency. If you don’t yet have an IELTS certificate, and you don’t fulfil academic English requirements, you may also have to complete an English bridging course.

Ask student services for assistance in working out which pathway will be the correct one for you, then enrol. Now, you’re on your way to your law degree!

Most Foundation Studies courses take between 30 weeks to one academic year to complete. You will study several electives relevant to your law degree, as well as some compulsory core subjects such as Academic Communication.


study law in Australia


Because you want to study law, you’re going to have to work extra hard. Law is a difficult and competitive area and the minimum grades required are higher than for other degrees. For example, if you complete a Foundation Studies program to get into law at Murdoch University, you need to graduate with an average minimum grade of 78%.

“The advice I would give to students wanting to take the same pathway is to interact with their lecturers and ask questions. As scary as it may seem, I found that talking to my lecturers and telling them what I hope to achieve in their course helped them guide me through the course and hold me accountable.” – Kerith


  1. Graduate from your foundation studies and begin your degree!


One of the benefits of a pathway provider such as MIT is that they offer packaged enrolments for international students to assist in meeting the University’s academic and English language requirements.

Upon successful completion of your MIT program, you will be guaranteed entry into Murdoch University without having to reapply. This means you’ll be able to directly transition into your law degree and begin working towards your dream career.





If your dream is to study law but you’re worried you don’t meet the academic and/or English language requirements, please see here for more information about the Foundation Studies program at MIT.


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