Admission

Director of Admissions: Rose Godfrey

Admissions Procedure

Any student seeking admission to the Law School for the first time must complete the online application and submit academic transcripts, letters of reference and Personal Statement to the Admissions Office, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4H6, by February 28. An application fee, which is not refunded, must accompany each application. Applicants who wish to be considered for entrance scholarships must file these applications by November 30. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all materials relevant to the application are received by the committee.

Students applying for admission are required to submit results of the Law School Admission Test, a service of the Law School Admission Council (www.lsac.org). The test is offered several times per year across Canada and the US, usually in October, December, February, and June. LSATs written in June will not be considered for positions in the course commencing the following September.

The Admissions Committee may consider applications as soon as they are received or it may postpone consideration of some or all applications until June. A non-refundable deposit of $200 is required to hold a place in the law program. All prepaid deposits are applied to the first installment due for tuition fees. Prospective applicants should confirm from the faculty that this information has not been changed subsequent to this printing.

Admissions Policy

In assessing applications, emphasis is placed primarily on an applicant's academic record and LSAT score. The Admissions Committee also considers non-academic experience, letters of reference and other factors in making its decisions. Interviews by the Admissions Committee of applicants with significant non-academic experience may be held at the discretion of the Committee. Interviews will normally take place in May or June.

Juris Doctor (Full and Part Time)

Students are admitted to the JD program through one of the categories set out below.

Regular Applicants

The Admissions Committee of the Schulich School of Law may admit applicants as regular candidates for the JD degree if the applicant:

  1. has received, with high standing satisfactory to the Admissions Committee, the degree of Bachelor of Arts, Science or Commerce, or an equivalent degree from Dalhousie University or from another degree-granting college or university recognized by the Senate; or
  2. has at least three full years of study after junior matriculation or two full years after senior matriculation of a course leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts, Science or Commerce or an equivalent degree at Dalhousie or at another degree-granting college or university recognized by the Senate. Normally, this means that the applicant is within one year of receiving a degree in the undergraduate program followed. For the purposes of this rule junior matriculation means Nova Scotia Grade XI or equivalent and senior matriculation means Nova Scotia Grade XII or equivalent.

Special Status Applicants

An applicant who is considered as a regular applicant may also be considered as a special status applicant if the application indicates a significant amount of non-academic involvement to which the Admissions Committee is prepared to give special consideration. A special status applicant is a person not less than 25 years of age who has had at least five years’ experience in a significant employment capacity or in a significant community activity. A special status applicant must submit a Personal Statement and should arrange to have additional Reference Statements forwarded to the Admissions Committee from persons familiar with the applicant's non-academic experience.

In all other respects, Special Status Applicants must meet the same requirements as Regular Applicants.

Mature Applicants

Where the applicant has not met the foregoing formal educational requirements the Admissions Committee may, in very exceptional circumstances, admit a limited number of applicants as mature students where it is of the opinion that, in all the circumstances, the applicant has demonstrated by the length and quality of non-academic experience the equivalent in substance of the formal education specified for regular applicants.

Mature applicants must be 26 years of age on or before September 1st of the year for which they seek admission to law school. Mature applicants are also required to write the Law School Admissions Test, to have an interview with the Admissions Committee, and to submit to the Committee a detailed resume of their non-academic experience along with letters of assessment from persons who are familiar with their contributions and achievements. The Committee is particularly interested in gathering information with respect to the candidates’ ability to organize their life and their work in order to cope with the demands of law school, their ability to reason and analyze, their ability to express themselves orally and in writing, and their potential for contribution to the community. Generally, the Committee requires, as a minimum, an accumulation of five or more years of experience in a candidate’s particular field of endeavour. Candidates are strongly encouraged to successfully complete some university-level courses before applying.

Applicants to Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaq Initiative

Admissions

The Indigenous Blacks & Mi’kmaq (IB&M) Initiative was established in 1989 to reduce structural and systemic discrimination by increasing the representation of Indigenous Blacks and Mi’kmaq in the legal profession.

The Initiative involves:

  • community outreach and recruiting;
  • a holistic approach to assessing applicants;
  • limited financial support, based on need, for students who meet the definitions of “Indigenous Black” and “Mi’kmaq” set out below;
  • the facilitation of Aboriginal and African Canadian legal scholarship;
  • the provision of academic support, upon request; and
  • the provision of career placement support.

The primary focus of the IB&M Initiative is on students who are either:

  • Indigenous Black Nova Scotians; that is, individuals who are Black and were born or raised in Nova Scotia or have a substantial connection with a historically Black community in Nova Scotia, or
  • Mi’kmaq; that is, individuals who are Mi’kmaq and were born or raised Mi’kma’ki or have a substantial connection with a Mi’kmaw community.

The IB&M Initiative places the admission of Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaw students as its priority, however, other Black and Aboriginal students are also urged to apply to the Schulich School of Law. If in any given year all qualified Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaw students have been admitted and there are still spaces available through the IB&M category, the Admissions Committee may decide to admit Black students who are not indigenous to Nova Scotia and Aboriginal students who are not Mi’kmaq.

It is recommended that all students who apply for admission through the IB&M Initiative have completed a university degree or at least 10 university credits prior to admission. A limited number of mature students may be admitted, where it is determined that the applicant has demonstrated that the length and quality of his or her non-academic experience is equivalent in substance to the formal academic education required of other applicants.

The application form for the IB&M Initiative is the same as the application form for all students applying to the Schulich School of Law and applicants are required to write the LSAT. Applicants should indicate their desire to be considered for admission through the IB&M category on the Law School Application Form, and in their personal statement. The Admissions Committee reviews all applications and determines which applicants should be interviewed.

Pre-Law

The Pre-Law Course is a four-week course for qualified IB&M applicants, usually offered during the month of May. The focus of Pre-Law is to provide an intensive introduction to the legal research, reasoning and writing skills critical to success at law school. Pre-law also evaluates students for admissions purposes, and students in Pre-Law must successfully complete the course in order to attend the Schulich School of Law.

Funding

Partial funding for tuition, books and housing may be available for Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaq students, on the basis of need. Students who do not meet the definition of Indigenous Black or Mi’kmaq as set out above are not eligible for funding from the IB&M Initiative; however, all students may apply for general bursary assistance from the Schulich School of Law.

Native Applicants

Those native applicants who are not eligible for the Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaq Initiative and whose previous academic background does not meet the admissions standards, are eligible to apply for admission to the Schulich School of Law through successful completion of the Program of Legal Studies for Native People at the University of Saskatchewan, College of Law. Application forms and further information are available from Professor Ruth Thompson, Director, Program of Legal Studies for Native People, University of Saskatchewan, College of Law, Saskatoon, SK S7N 0W0

JD/MBA, JD/MPA, JD/MLIS, JD/MHA, JD/MJ

Students intending to make application for any joint program should inquire directly to the Registrar’s Office, Dalhousie University.

Transferring From Another Canadian Law School

Students of other Canadian law schools who satisfy the standards for admission to the JD program may apply to the Assistant Dean, Academic to transfer to the Schulich School of Law, provided they are in good standing where previous studies have been undertaken, the work they have completed is satisfactory to the Law School Studies Committee, and the courses to be completed for a JD degree can be arranged. To qualify for a degree the student must complete two full years at Dalhousie. Well qualified graduates of a Quebec law school may be admitted into a special one year program. The Schulich School of Law does not accept transfer applications from students of non-Canadian law schools. Enquiries should be directed to the Assistant Dean, Academic at the law school.

Admission as an Occasional Student

Subject to University and Law School regulations, a professional in law or a related field may be admitted as an occasional student to attend one or two courses at the most. Attendance or performance in courses or any examinations is not credited for degree qualifications. As a general rule, occasional students are not permitted to attend first year law courses. Those wishing to be admitted as occasional students should apply to the Law School Studies Committee. Undergraduate students may not take courses at the law school. Graduate students may, in certain circumstances, be permitted by the Schulich School of Law to take a law course at the Law School and should contact the Associate Dean, Academic to enquire.

Students with Disabilities

Dalhousie University is committed to providing equal educational opportunity and full participation for students with disabilities. See University Regulations for details.

Additional Information for Part Time Applicants

Students interested in pursuing a part-time JD at Dalhousie should do the following:

  1. In addition to completing the regular admissions package, submit a brief written statement outlining your reasons for seeking admission to the Part-time Studies Program and indicating whether you wish to do First Year on a full-time or half-time basis. This statement should be in addition to the Personal Statement which forms part of the regular application material. Admission to the Part-time Program is limited. Not all students who meet the standards for acceptance to the JD program will be permitted to do the degree on a part-time basis. You should note that, in considering whether to admit an applicant into the Part-time Studies Program, the Committee in its discretion will give special consideration to factors such as family responsibilities, financial hardship, employment commitments, and health problems. Note that students in the part-time program take a reduced number of courses, but those courses are offered with the regular full-time students. No special evening courses are offered.
  2. Students already accepted into the full-time JD who wish to enter the Part-Time Studies Program should write a letter supplying the information requested in the previous paragraph and send it to Ms. Rose Godfrey, Admissions Office, Schulich School of Law, Halifax, NS B3H 4H9. This letter may be sent along with your confirmation of acceptance and your deposit. It may also be sent at any time before registration, though earlier applications are likely to fare better than later ones. Take note that, even for those already accepted into the full-time JD, acceptance into the Part-Time Studies Program is not automatic.
  3. Applicants interested in the Part-Time program should contact the law society of any province in which they might want to practice law, in order to ascertain whether a Part-time JD from Dalhousie meets individual law society requirements.