Master of Laws (LLM)

An intensive graduate program in law leading to the Master of Laws degree is offered to well-qualified candidates by the Schulich School of Law of the University. The program is primarily intended for those looking to further their legal research and knowledge. The program may consist of either a combination of coursework, the graduate seminar and a thesis, or a combination of coursework involving substantial written papers and the graduate seminar. Applicants who plan to take the degree on the basis of course work, seminars and a thesis are required to submit an outline of their proposed thesis topic at the time of the application. Thesis topics may concentrate on any area of law in which faculty supervisors and library resources will support original work. In recent years, thesis supervision has been provided in the following fields, among others: Healthy Law, Law & Technology, Marine & Environmental Law, International Business Law, Criminal Justice, Legal Theory and Indigenous Law. 

Admission Requirements/Deadline

Applicants for admission to the LLM program should hold a first degree in law equivalent to the Dalhousie JD, passed with at least a 3.5 average GPA (or Upper Second Class Honours). The ability to conduct independent research and work easily with the English language are prerequisites for admission. International candidates are required to pass one of the English language proficiency tests listed here and obtain at least the minimum acceptable score: 
Internet-based TOEFL 100
Written TOEFL 600
CanTest 4.5 (with no band score lower than 4.0)
CAEL 70 (with no band score lower than 60)
Dalhousie College of Continuing Education (CCE) A

The language competency test may be waived if the applicant has completed a degree at a recognized university where the language of instruction is English. The claims must be verified by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. 

Applicants seeking funding should ensure that their completed application is received by January 15th along with all original documents. The final deadline for admission consideration (with no offer of funding) is March 31st. 

Residency Requirements

The degree may be taken on the basis of either one academic year (September 1 to August 31) of full-time residence at Dalhousie, or two academic years of part-time residence at Dalhousie. It should be noted that the two-year residence requirement for part-time candidates differs from that required for programs outside the Law School explained elsewhere in the calendar of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Course Requirements

The degree may be taken on the basis of either course work, the graduate seminar and a thesis, or coursework and graduate seminar only. Applicants are required to indicate at the time of formal application on which basis they would prefer to take the degree. The availability of places for the thesis alternative is governed by the availability of adequate faculty supervision and library resources. All coursework for the degree, whichever of the two alternative bases is decided upon, must be completed with no grade below B-. Graduate students taking courses that are normally evaluated by an examination are required to complete a research paper or other written assignment, as agreed with the instructor, in place of the examination.

All candidates for the degree are required to take the graduate seminar especially designed for our graduate students in law. This seminar is given in the fall term (and early part of the spring term) and requires from the student a comprehensive class presentation based on a substantial written paper. Some students who have not had previous exposure to Jurisprudence may be required to take a jurisprudence course.

If the degree is taken by coursework, graduate seminar and thesis, a candidate is required to (a) in addition to the graduate seminar, complete at least two additional one-term courses from the course offerings of the Schulich School of Law (the choice of courses to be approved by the Law School's Graduate Studies Committee), and (b) present a well-researched substantial thesis of scholarly quality produced under the continuous supervision of a member or members of the law faculty.

Such a thesis would normally be 125-150 typescript pages in length (double-spaced). The thesis requirements and regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies must be met. Theses are usually supervised by a two person committee comprised of a supervisor and a reader or, in certain circumstances, two co-supervisors. Theses are examined by an examination committee comprised of the supervisory committee, an “arm’s length” examiner and a chairperson, who is normally the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee/Associate Dean. A thesis may be graded as falling within one of the following categories: approved as submitted; approved upon specified corrections being made; failed, but with permission to submit a revised thesis; or failed outright.

If the degree is taken by coursework and seminars without thesis, in addition to the graduate seminar, candidates are required to take at least five one-term courses from the advanced coursework and seminar offerings of the Law Faculty considered to be suitable as graduate courses and seminars by the Law Graduate Studies Committee. Of those five courses, at least three must be designated as “major paper courses” by the Schulich School of Law, or be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee as having a substantial written component. Graduate students taking courses that are evaluated by a “major paper” must submit a paper of appropriate scholarly quality which will normally be between 40 and 50 pages in length (including text, and endnotes or footnotes). In the remaining courses, the student will be evaluated by means of a substantial research-based written assignment, normally 25-30 pages, or equivalent assignment(s).

At the discretion of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Schulich School of Law, a candidate may be required to submit to an oral examination by the Committee or its nominees in the field of the thesis or that of any written paper presented by the candidate. The Graduate Studies Committee of the Schulich School of Law may recommend the substitution of not more than two seminars or graduate level courses in a discipline other than law, which may be highly relevant to the candidate's thesis topic or area of specialization, provided that any such substituted course or seminar has, in the opinion of the Committee and the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies, equivalence to the law courses being substituted.

Before deciding on the LLM option that best suits them, candidates who are contemplating future doctoral studies should note that some doctoral programs may require the completion of a Master of Laws degree which includes a thesis.


The Graduate Studies Committee of the Schulich School of Law may at any time require any candidate for the degree to show cause, in such manner as it may determine, why such candidate should be permitted to continue his or her candidacy.

It should be noted that candidates taking the degree on a part-time basis are not eligible for graduate scholarships.

A student is required to comply with the directions of the supervisor and the decisions of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Schulich School of Law, as well as the rules and regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

A full description of programs available in the Law School which may be of relevance to graduate students can be found in the general Law School Calendar and in its course selection materials.