Business and Law

Graduate Diploma in Notarial Practice

The Graduate Diploma in Notarial Practice offered by the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre and is the first post-graduate university qualification available in Australia and New Zealand in the increasingly important area of Notarial Practice.

The programme was developed by the Cowen Centre in association with the Society of Notaries of Victoria Inc. and is based upon and benchmarked against the Diploma in Notarial Practice offered by Cambridge University's Institute of Continuing Education.

The course of study leading to the conferral of a Graduate Diploma has been approved by Victoria's Council of Legal Education as one which satisfies the requirements of the Public Notaries Act 2001 (Vic) in relation to the education of prospective notaries in Victoria.

Despite having originated to meet a specific legislative requirement in Victoria, there is no doubt that the Graduate Diploma in Notarial Practice has quickly become the pre-eminent qualification for practicing and prospective notaries in Australia.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of the Graduate Diploma programme is to provide a first quality post-graduate professional qualification in Notarial Practice for practising notaries in Australia and for those diplomates who seek appointment as notaries in Victoria.

The objectives of the course are to provide students with:

  • A comprehensive overview of the notarial practices and requirements of the major civil law and common law jurisdictions; and
  • An in depth theoretical and practical knowledge of the work of a notary in Australia generally including a detailed understanding of notarial acts in private and public forms and instruction in relation to a notary's professional rights and obligations.
Course Structure

The Graduate Diploma in Notarial Practices currently comprises four units of study which may be taken over 2 semesters on a part time basis equating to 24 credit points for each unit.

In 2011, the course structure is 4 academic modules Notaries and International Law

  • Private International Law/Conflict of Laws
  • Notarial Practice - Theory
  • Comparative Law
  • Notarial Practice Intensive Weekend

2011 Structure

The structure for 2012 is currently being reviewed at Course Approvals Management level. The proposed structure will be 8 units totalling 12 credit points each. Students who have successfully enrolled and completed assessment items in the Professional Certificate of Notarial Practice will result in the award of the Professional Certificate of Notarial Practice. The course will also provide an Advanced Standing of 2 post graduate units in the Graduate Diploma of Notarial Practice.

Completion of the course will enable an understanding of the work of the notarial profession in preparation for professional practice as a notary and for notaries to be able to locate the legal systems within the international legal families and to determine the role of a Notary required within it.

The Graduate Diploma course is delivered by combination of distance, self-paced learning, written assessment and attendance at a compulsory practical weekend workshop on notarial practice at the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre located at the School of Law at our Queen Street campus. The only module with a compulsory time commitment is the compulsory weekend course on Notarial Practice skills. With respect to the seven study modules, each module requires completion of written assignments.

Students who successfully complete this course can apply to the Supreme Court of Victoria to be appointed as a public notary.

The programme's modular structure and flexible teaching approach has been designed to enable practitioners, including overseas, interstate and country practitioners, to readily undertake the course.

The compulsory intensive weekend workshop is the only component of the programme with a fixed time commitment. The time required to complete each self paced module very much depends on each student's circumstances and approach to the programme. Tutorial support is provided by the Cowen Centre's teaching staff by telephone or e-mail. Students receive a comprehensive study guide for the self paced units and as enrolled students have full access to the Library and other resources to support their learning.


Due dates are negotiated with the course co-ordinator to provide flexibility to both accommodate employment demands of students and their professional and career interests. Assessment is by written assignments submitted during the course.

Due dates are negotiated with the course co-ordinator to provide the flexibility required to both accommodate employment demands of students and their professional and career interests. Assessment is by written assignments submitted during the course.

Course Fees
  • Fees are charged at the standard university postgraduate fee (refer to Regs 11.1.1)
  • Fees will be charged at $2364.13 per unit of study
  • Fees include Subject Guides, tutorial support and course papers
  • Students are responsible for the cost of textbooks specified in the Subject Guides.
Teaching Personnel

The Graduate Diploma programme is conducted by the Cowen Centre's Director of Notarial Studies, Professor Peter Zablud and Associate Director Philip Hamilton, both of whom are leading practicing notaries in their own right. View staff details.


For further details in relation to the course, its structure and any other information, please contact the Course Co-ordinator and enquiries team at

Application Procedure

To apply for the Graduate Diploma course you must firstly download and complete the 2013 Higher Education Direct Admission/Supplementary Information Form

Please do NOT submit your application via the ONLINE tool.

The Cowen Centre will notify you via letter or email of the outcome of your application once the selection committee has reviewed your application. Students must meet Victoria University's admission application requirements.

To qualify for admission to the program, all students must hold at least a Bachelor's Degree in Law and be practicing for a minimum of 5 years. You should complete the 2013 Higher Education Direct Admission/Supplementary Information Form and return it to the relevant location as soon as possible.

2013 Admissions

For information on the university's 2010 intake, refer to the Admissions Advice for 2013 Intake (PDF, 52 KB) form. However late applications will be accepted if negotiated with the Course coordinator of the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre.

Enrolment Procedure

All students must comply with the enrolment procedures of Victoria University to ensure the award of the Graduate Diploma on successful completion of the programme.


The Graduate Diploma programme in Notarial Studies is a course which fulfils the criteria for which CPD credits may be claimed by practitioners holding Victorian practising certificates. MCLE credits may be claimed by practitioners holding NSW practising certificates. Students may claim CPD or MCLE credits in accordance with their respective State rules.

Back to Top

Last reviewed: 09/09/2012

Copyright 2009 VU.  CRICOS Provider No.00124K.