Welcome to the Department of
Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University
The Department of Law and Legal Studies offers Canada’s premier programs for the interdisciplinary study of the law and beyond. These innovative programs explore the dynamic interaction between law and society nationally, transnationally and internationally.
Located in the national capital, on unceded Algonquin territory, we are Canada’s oldest and largest undergraduate program in Legal Studies, and the first University in Canada to offer a MA in Legal Studies and the second to offer a PhD. Learn more about our history.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Law and Legal Studies continues to operate remotely during our regular business hours (8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday). In-person service is not being provided at our campus location and our office phones are not currently monitored. The best way to connect with the Department of Law and Legal Studies is by email to the appropriate administrative or faculty contact. General inquiries may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the most up-to-date campus information, please visit Carleton’s COVID-19 information website.
Important Note About Fall 2021 Courses: The Department will be offering a mix of in-person and online courses in Fall 2021, subject to Public Health Guidelines. The Department anticipates returning to mostly in-person course delivery by Winter 2022 (with online versions of some courses still available). Please see the Public Class Schedule for more information about LAWS courses available in Fall/Winter 2021-2022.
Why Legal Studies?
Law is not just for lawyers. Laws and legal actors shape and impact our lives everyday! Laws can protect our freedoms, but may also impose limits on our actions and opportunities. Laws can protect us, or confine and oppress us. Laws can help us address fundamental challenges we face as a society, or impose obstacles in our attempts to deal with these challenges. How will you address today’s legal and social challenges?
Legal Studies strives to understand the nature and impact of law, legal actors and institutions integrating questions and methods drawn from a number of different disciplinary fields including communications, criminology, cultural studies, history, law, legal anthropology, political economy, political theory, and sociology. Legal Studies focuses on the complex nature of the interaction between law and other social fields to foster inquiry into and understanding of the dynamics of law, including its rules, agents, institutions and power structures.
Why Legal Studies at Carleton University?
Come be a part of the biggest and most vibrant centre for interdisciplinary Legal Studies research and teaching in North America! No other university in North America has as many full-time professors engaged in researching and teaching in the field of Legal Studies. Our department has more than 35 full-time professors, including award-winning researchers and teachers, who engage in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research in a number of fields. Many courses in our department are taught by practitioners, including lawyers working in private practice, government departments and non-governmental organizations. We also have an Activist in Residence program that provides our students access to an expert in human rights activism.
We offer a variety of activities outside the classroom. Our department hosts a wide range of academic and networking events that include speakers from around the world. Our student association also organizes a number of activities, including social events and the annual Capital Cup Mooting competition. And don’t forget the benefits of our capital advantage!
Learn more about our award-winning students.
Strengths of our Programs — During Covid and Beyond
See Department Chair, Vincent Kazmierski speak about the strengths of our Department’s programs during Covid and beyond.
Our Undergraduate Programs Advantage
The Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton offers the most programs and the most courses of any legal studies program in North America.
We offer a choice of four undergraduate degree programs, over 75 courses in law, co-op options, internship courses and access to research and study opportunities unique to Carleton University and Canada’s capital city.
Find our more about what makes our undergraduate programs unique from our Quick Facts.
Where can a BA degree in Law take you?
Questions? Contact our Undergraduate Administrator Sarah Cleary.
Our Groundbreaking Graduate Programs
MA Program in Legal Studies
The MA program is organized around the theme of law and social transformation, fostering a rigorous and critical understanding of law and relations of governance. Students can choose from a thesis, a research essay, and a coursework-only option. MA students may also participate in an internship with the UNHCR.
PhD Program in Legal Studies
The PhD program in Legal Studies is designed for students with advanced research interests in the interdisciplinary study of law and is suitable for those seeking both academic jobs or careers requiring advanced research and analysis skills, including policy work. See what our current PhD students are working on.
Questions? Contact our Graduate Administrator Andrew Squires.
Why choose a BA in Law? Hear what our students and graduates have to say.
Carly, BA/15 Law (Honours)
Hear Carly speak about opportunities in and beyond the classroom, including student led initiatives, research positions, work placements, and more.
Mustafa, BA/09 in Law (Honours)
Hear Mustafa speak about the support he received from professors and how the interdisciplinary courses offered in the BA Law program allow students to pursue a wide variety of career options.
Sangmi, Year 4 BA Law Student
Hear Sangmi speak about how her co-op placements complemented both her legal studies education and future career goals.
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Graduate Student Research Spotlight
The Department of Law and Legal Studies is proud of all of our graduate students. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight the research of some of our recent graduates as we wish them all the best in their future endeavors. Congratulations class of...
The Department of Law and Legal Studies is proud of all of our graduate students. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight the research of some of our recent graduates as we wish them all the best in their future endeavors. Congratulations class of 2021! Robyn O'Loughlin, PhD Robyn O’Loughlin is...
Monday, June 28, 2021
An Interview with Poet and Human Rights Defender Ketty Nivyabandi
As part of the Activist in Residence Interview Series, The Department of Law and Legal Studies' Activist in Residence, Rehana Hashmi, and Feminist Advocate and Educator Donna Johnson,...
As part of the Activist in Residence Interview Series, The Department of Law and Legal Studies' Activist in Residence, Rehana Hashmi, and Feminist Advocate and Educator Donna Johnson, interviewed poet and human rights defender Ketty Nivyabandi to learn more about her activist journey. About Ketty Nivyabandi Ketty joined Amnesty International Canada (English...
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
BA Graduate Rayon Finnikin Supports Marginalized Youth
Rayon Finnikin grew up in Bethel Town, Westmoreland, a community near Montego Bay, Jamaica. In his youth, he came to Canada as a refugee to start his life over. “I came to Canada with little to no...
Rayon Finnikin grew up in Bethel Town, Westmoreland, a community near Montego Bay, Jamaica. In his youth, he came to Canada as a refugee to start his life over. “I came to Canada with little to no confidence because I grew up thinking that I would never be able to reach university,” Finnikin says. “To...
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Prof. Gaucher and Prof. Spencer Awarded SSHRC Insight Grants
Professor Megan Gaucher and Professor Dale Spencer have each been awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant for their respective research projects....
Professor Megan Gaucher and Professor Dale Spencer have each been awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant for their respective research projects. Mapping the Discursive and Institutional Landscape of ‘Birth Tourism’ and its Perceived Attack on Canadian Birthright Citizenship Professor Megan Gaucher has been...
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Research Spotlight: Professor Megan Gaucher
Law and Legal Studies Research Spotlight The Department of Law and Legal Studies’ Research Spotlight Series highlights our faculty members’ innovative research grants and projects. In this post, we feature the research of...
Law and Legal Studies Research Spotlight The Department of Law and Legal Studies’ Research Spotlight Series highlights our faculty members’ innovative research grants and projects. In this post, we feature the research of Megan Gaucher, Associate Professor, Department of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University. Dr. Gaucher's interdisciplinary...