Master of Laws (LLM) and PhD

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 at Dalhousie University. The program is primarily intended for students who wish to pursue a career inside or outside academia, for instance, in the public service, courts, national and intergovernmental agencies and major law firms. The program can be taken on a full-time basis over one full academic year, or on a part-time basis over two full academic years. Applicants may choose to pursue either a course-work focused LLM or a thesis based LLM. A thesis LLM consists of 2 electives, the graduate seminar and a thesis. A course based LLM consists of 5 electives and the graduate seminar. Both programs involve substantial writing and both course based and thesis students write an average of ~200 pages during their LLM degree. All applicants are required to submit an outline of either their proposed thesis topic or a major paper proposal at the time of their application. Thesis topics may concentrate on any area of law in which faculty supervisors and library resources will support original work. Applicants are encouraged to submit what they are passionate about and would like to study during their LLM and the Graduate Studies Committee will do their best to find a suitable Supervisor from the Schulich School of Law’s great portfolio of faculty members.

Applicants for admission for the LLM program should have obtained high standing in an undergraduate or first law degree (LLB, JD or equivalent) passed with at least a 3.3 GPA. In exceptional circumstances we will consider candidates whose previous degree(s) are not in law but in cognate fields.

An advanced graduate program in law leading to the PhD (Doctor of Philosophy in Law) degree is offered to a very limited number of highly qualified candidates by the Schulich School of Law. Applicants who meet the admission requirements are invited to submit a detailed outline of their proposed thesis and a detailed description of their research plans with their application package. Such topics will have to be limited to those areas of law for which faculty and library resources will support original work. The Graduate Studies Committee matches applicants’ thesis proposal to an available expert faculty member in the topic area. All PhD students are required to complete a Directed Reading course, an Area Exam and a thesis proposal defence. The Graduate Seminar may be required, as decided in consultation with the PhD student's supervisor at the start of the program.

Applicants for admission to the PhD program must have demonstrated superior academic ability during their previous legal education. Applicants for the PhD program must have (i) attained at least the equivalent of a Dalhousie 3.70 average grade in the last two years of study and (ii) successfully completed a Master's degree in law. Preference will be given to applicants with established credentials in published scholarship of a professional calibre. Applicants must be prepared to spend at least one full academic year (12 months) in continuous residence at Dalhousie after admission to the PhD program. The Graduate Studies Committee of the Law School reserves the right in certain cases to require the completion of a second year of residency.

The ability to conduct independent research and work easily in the English language is a prerequisite for admission to both programs. International candidates are required to pass one of the English language proficiency tests to the satisfaction of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Schulich School of Law. 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 in a country where English is one of the national languages. The claims must be verified by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Test scores are valid for two years from the date the test was written.

Applicants seeking funding from Dalhousie University must ensure that their completed applications are received by the Faculty no later than January 1 of the year in which they intend to commence their studies.The Schulich School of Law only admits in the Fall term each year.

  • LAWS 3010.015: Graduate Seminar on Legal Education and Legal Scholarship
  • LAWS 3020.015: Graduate Seminar on Legal Education and Legal Scholarship
  • LAWS 5001.030: Directed Readings in Law
  • LAWS 9000.000: Masters Thesis
  • LAWS 9530.000: Doctoral Thesis