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Specialisation: Social Justice

Award(s) to which this specialisation belongs:

Social Justice


Macquarie Law School
Faculty of Arts

Admission Requirements:
Admission to Master of Laws or Juris Doctor
Study Mode:
Full-time, Part-time
Attendance Mode:
Internal, External
North Ryde — Session 1 (February)
North Ryde — Session 2 (July)
External — Session 1 (February)
External — Session 2 (July)

This specialisation must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Specialisation:

Completion of a minimum of 16 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

800 level

16cp from
Heritage Law and Policy (4)
Indigenous Peoples and the Law (4)
International Human Rights Law (4)
Human Rights and Moral Dilemmas (4)
Public and Global Health Law (4)
Family Law (4)
Anti-Discrimination Law (4)
Advanced Topics in Public Law (4)


Overview and Aims of the Program This specialisation will enable students to acquire and advanced and integrated understanding of social justice. They will also gain specialised knowledge and skills for research and professional practice in law of international human rights law, human rights and moral dilemmas, family law, anti-discrimination law, heritage law and policy, and law, globalisation and cultural transformations.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes In addition to achieving PLOs of either the LLM or JD, by the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. demonstrate an advanced understanding of principles and their application to the specialised area of the law relating to social justice (K)
2. appreciate the special ethical, policy and professional challenges raised by practice in the area of law relating to social justice (E)
3. apply advanced research and problem solving skills to address contemporary challenges in the area of law relating to social justice (T, P).

Learning and Teaching Methods The Major in Social Justice offered at postgraduate level combines a diverse range of disciplines. An interdisciplinary approach drawing on areas such as politics, economics, sociology, history and philosophy provides the framework for students to gain specialized knowledge and critical understanding of the main areas of focus in the program: law reform, policy and human rights law at both the national and international levels.

Teaching and learning in this program is facilitated through a range of methods including lectures, tutorials, seminars and intensive on-campus sessions. Lectures are usually delivered in units with large enrolments. The lectures are usually recorded (or pre-recorded), giving students the option to attend the lecture in person or to listen to the lectures in their own time. This is beneficial for students studying externally, from a distance, or who work or have a clash in their timetable. Day students enrolled in these units usually attend a lecture followed by a tutorial that is scheduled either in the week the lecture is delivered or in the following week. External students attend an on-campus session that is usually scheduled during the mid-semester break. Units with smaller enrolments do not have lectures and are offered in a seminar format like the on-campus sessions. It is usual for the convenor of each unit to set readings in advance of when classes are scheduled. In units where no text has been prescribed, the readings are either uploaded onto iLearn or accessible via e-Reserve (depending on copyright restrictions). Links to Internet sources (eg PDF files, YouTube clips) that are relevant to the unit are also available on iLearn.

In units with large enrolments, the lectures provide the main forum for unit content to be delivered to students. Teaching aides such as powerpoint slides may also be used to enhance the coverage of the unit materials in the lecture. When powerpoint slides are used, they are usually uploaded onto iLearn before each lecture. The main themes and issues arising in the unit materials are canvassed in the lectures. It is assumed that students have prior knowledge and understanding of the Australian legal and political system and the way it operates.

In the tutorials, seminars and on-campus sessions, the emphasis is on students showing initiative and leading class discussion. The aim is for students to build on their knowledge of law, law reform, policy and human rights and to demonstrate independent learning and critical thinking skills. In these forums, students will reflect critically and creatively on the specialized area of study in each unit by investigating, evaluating, analysing and synthesising complex legal doctrine and interdisciplinary discourses and considering how to apply this knowledge in ways that will contribute to advancing the aims of social justice theories and practices.
Assessment The tasks set for assessment are designed to meet the learning and teaching outcomes of each unit and of the program as a whole which is to equip students with specialized knowledge in areas such as international human rights law, discrimination and the law, family law and heritage law. Drawing on interdisciplinary discourses, students will develop a critical understanding of the interrelationships between law, law reform and policy, equipping them with the skills to undertake further study/research in these fields and/or to apply their skills in professional roles in the areas of legal practice, policy and law reform. In the study of this program, students will become ethically conscious of the many social justice issues facing disadvantaged groups in the wider community, both local and global and will be able to appreciate the role they could play in their professional lives to bring about transformative change.

The assessment tasks across the program have been designed for students to develop expert knowledge and skills in the specialized fields of law canvassed in each unit. Major research essays, assignments which involve complex problem solving, case law analyses and the development of law reform initiatives are the some of the types of assessments used to develop student knowledge and skills in the program.

Major research essays require students to develop their own research project, undertake independent research and adopt a methodology and plan. By researching and writing about their own individual research question, students become actively engaged in critically analyzing, reflecting and synthesizing the existing literature in the field. Through this interpretive process students are able to establish their own research findings and make their own contribution to their chosen field of research. Complex problem solving, case analyses and projects aimed at law reform also aim to develop independent thinking, critical analysis, reflection and synthesis of complex information, concepts and theories. In each of these tasks, the emphasis is on developing the research, writing and problem solving skills of students, enabling them to interpret and transmit knowledge and ideas at a level that both legal and non-legal audiences can understand.

In each unit rubrics and/or marking criteria is provided to students for each assessment prior to the due date. Written feedback is provided for all written assignments. Students may seek additional feedback in consultation with the original marker or unit convenor. There is no automatic right to a remark for any assignment. Feedback is provided in a timely manner and within a time-frame to allow students to digest it and use it as guide to improving the completion of the other assessments in the unit. In some units students may be given the opportunity to peer assess and/or self assess class participation which may be taken into account in the assessment of class participation.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability This specialisation will prepare students for a wide range of professional and community-based engagement to further aims of social justice, including with regard to public interest advocacy, socio-legal policy reform, NGOs, advocate groups, government and private sectors.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or program necessary for a student to successfully achieve the core learning outcomes of a course or program. Students must meet the inherent requirements to complete their Macquarie University course or program.

Inherent requirements for Macquarie University programs fall under the following categories:

Physical: The physical inherent requirement is to have the physical capabilities to safely and effectively perform the activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Cognition: The inherent requirement for cognition is possessing the intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative capabilities to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Communication: The inherent requirement for communication is the capacity to communicate information, thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums and with a range of audiences.

Behavioural: The behavioural inherent requirement is the capacity to sustain appropriate behaviour over the duration of units of study to engage in activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

For more information see

2018 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148