The Restructuring of the Bachelor of Laws Program: higher grades and honours for everyone
ANU is changing the way it lays down the law with a major restructuring of its Bachelor of Laws (LLB) program. The new program will commence in 2015 and will see all new Law students, and all existing students who transfer into the new program, graduate with Honours embedded into their Law degrees. Professor Stephen Bottomley, eDan of the ANU College of Law, stated that the main motivation for the change was compliance with the new Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), the national standards for Australian tertiary qualifications. The restructuring of ANU’s LLB program with increase the standard of ANU’s bachelor of laws under the AQF, from a regular Level 7 degree to a Level 8 bachelor honours degree.
It will no longer be a requirement that students write a thesis in order to receive Honours.The program will, however, take a more intensive focus on research. Compulsory courses will involve research training and all electives within the College of Law will have at least 50% of assessment based on tasks requiring independent research in order to meet the AQF Level 8 requirements. Nonetheless, students passionate about independent research will have the option of writing an extensive supervised research paper or thesis as an elective.
One of the main concerns of current law students, however, is whether they will be able to transfer into the new Law Honours program, the answer to which will ultimately depend on each individual student’s degree plan. Students have been told that the main eligibility criterion is that they still have four compulsory law courses, and eight elective courses, remaining in their law degrees. Students who still have those twelve courses to complete will be able to transfer into the new program.
However honours is not the only change to the LLB program. Law students from this year’s Summer Session onwards will also enjoy the benefits of an adapted grading policy within the college. Currently 2-5% of students are awarded High Distinctions, 10-20% Distinctions, and 30-50% Credits. From next year onwards these figures will change. 28-32% of students will be awarded Distinctions, and most significantly, 8-12% of students to be awarded High Distinctions, half of which will receive a grade over 90%. These changes will see the law school’s grading practices become more aligned with those of the rest of ANU, and also with other law schools across the country.
Drop in sessions at the College of Law are being held for any students who wish to find out more information on the 23rd and 26th of September.