Frequently Asked Questions

When should I apply?

The deadlines for applications are February 1 (Ph.D.) and March 1 (LL.M.) of the year in which the applicant intends to begin his or her program. 

For Ph.D. applicants who have obtained permission to apply for admission other than in September, the deadlines are September 1 for January admission and December 1 for May admission.

International applicants are advised to apply well in advance of departmental deadlines because immigration procedures are usually very lengthy.

What should I do once I have submitted my application online?

Once you have submitted your application online and the application fee has been paid, you must print the application summary and send all required document to the Graduate Studies in Law Office. Applications for admission will be considered only after all supporting documents have been received and the file is complete. Please consult the Your application package section for more information. 

What type of reference letters do I require to apply for admission?

Applicants must arrange for the submission of at least two confidential letters of reference. Academic references are given more weight than professional references. Applicants who cannot obtain academic references should submit letters from individuals who are familiar with them and able to judge their academic and research capabilities. Personal references are not helpful.

What transcripts do I have to submit with my application?

Applicants must submit an official transcript from each establishment of higher education that they have attended. If the transcript and degree certificate is not in English or French, a certified translation must accompany the original language documents. The transcript should include an outline of the grading system used by your university. If you have not completed your degree, we require a transcript of the courses you have taken and the marks you have achieved to date. Candidates are not required to provide transcripts of their studies at the University of Ottawa; the admissions officer will obtain these results directly. 

Should I apply if my average is lower than the minimum required?

If you feel that certain exceptional events affected your academic performance, you can inform the Admissions Committee of these circumstances by enclosing a letter of explanation in your file. You may provide supporting documents where appropriate.

Should I submit a research proposal?

Every application to study for a research degree in the Graduate Studies in Law program must be accompanied by an outline of the proposed research. This outline provides the necessary information to enable us to assess whether or not we can provide the candidate with adequate supervision and facilities.  The quality of the research proposal is an important factor in selecting candidates for admission.

Do I require a language proficiency test? Strong English language communication skills are essential to gain the full benefit of the programs we offer. Applicants for whom English is not their first language and have not completed a previous degree program in an English language post secondary institution or cannot provide proof of prolonged residence and exercise of a profession in an English speaking country must provide evidence of proficiency in english (chosen language of study). The tests listed below will be accepted with the following minimum scores: TOEFL (Internet-based) : 100 TOEFL (Computer-based) : 250 TOEFL (Paper-based) : 600 Please note that the University’s institution code is 993 and the department code for Law is 03. CAEL : 70 PEARSON : 68 Cambridge English Language Assessment / Certificate of proficiency in English (CPE) : Certificate grade CMELAB : 87 IELTS : 7.0 CANTEST : 5.0 (listening/reading) and 4.5 (writing)
Is the Law School Admission Test required for admission to a graduate program?

No, the LSAT is not required for admission to the Graduate Studies in Law program at the University of Ottawa.

How long can I expect to be registered in a graduate studies in Law program?
  • Master's with research paper: minimum of one year (3 sessions) full-time; maximum of one year and 4 months (4 sessions)
  • Master’s with thesis: minimum of one year (3 sessions) full-time; maximum of one year and 8 months (5 sessions)
  • Doctorate: maximum of 5 years (15 sessions). Please note that students in the PhD program must maintain full-time registration for at least 2 years (6 sessions).

There is considerable variation among individuals.

What are the tuition fees for the Graduate Studies in Law program?

The tuition fees vary from year to year. For more details, please consult the uOttawa tuition fees webpage. Please note that Graduate Studies in Law is listed under “Other Graduate programs”.

I previously applied for admission and wish to re-apply, what should I do?

Applicants who applied for admission in a previous year must submit a new application form and pay the fee. Application files are retained for one year. Therefore, if you applied for admission last year, you may request that supporting documents from your earlier file be placed in your current file; however, if you applied more that one year ago, all supporting documentation must be resubmitted. 

Can I practice law in Canada with a graduate degree from a Canadian University?

No, if you are a foreign trained lawyer who wishes to practice law in Canada, you must have your law degree accessed by the National Committee on Accreditation.

Will I be considered for available funding?

The University and the Faculty of Law offer a limited number of admission scholarships and financial awards. All eligible applicants will be automatically considered for an Admission Scholarship. Other financial awards may require that the candidate follow specific instructions and may have specific deadlines. We encourage all candidates to make every effort to obtain assistance from external sources. The employees of the Graduate Awards Office are available to help you.

What is the difference between a Master's thesis and a research paper?

Thesis: The Master's thesis should reveal that the candidate is able to work in a scholarly manner and is acquainted with major issues and published research on the subject of the thesis. It must make an original contribution to legal scholarship. A good thesis is thoroughly researched, demonstrates rigorous critical thinking and analysis, presents a detailed methodology and accurate results, and includes thorough verification of knowledge claims. The thesis should be between 20,000 and 25,000 words and may not exceed 35,000 words in length (approximately 100-130 pages). It must be of publishable quality and must satisfy a jury of at least two members appointed by the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies in Law and approved by the Office of the Vice-Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Research Paper: The research paper is shorter than a thesis and consists of extensive research and a strict methodology. The student must show the ability to work independently in a scholarly manner, just as with a thesis. The paper should offer something original or useful in the field of research it relates to. The finished paper should be between 10,000 and 15,000 words in length (approximately 50-60 pages). The paper will be evaluated on a "Satisfactory/Not-Satisfactory" basis by the research paper supervisor and the second evaluator, suggested by the supervisor.

How do I find accommodation?

Some residence spaces may be available on campus, and there is a wide range of housing in Ottawa and across the Ottawa River in Gatineau. Please consult Housing Services.

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