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.
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.
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!
Strengths of our Programs — During Covid and Beyond
Professor Vincent Kazmierski, Chair, Department of Law and Legal Studies speaks about the strengths of our programs, course delivery systems and more.
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 Lindsay Denison.
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.
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Remembering Barb Higgins
Barb Higgins January 2, 1963 - February 20, 2021 The Department of Law and Legal Studies mourns the passing of Barb Higgins and celebrates her many contributions to our department and to Carleton University over her long career. Barb was the longest serving...
Barb Higgins January 2, 1963 - February 20, 2021 The Department of Law and Legal Studies mourns the passing of Barb Higgins and celebrates her many contributions to our department and to Carleton University over her long career. Barb was the longest serving member of our wonderful front office administrative staff, having worked for...
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Read Prof. Balasubramaniam’s New Work on How Covid-19 is Testing Constitutional Democracies
In his March 2021 blog post for Verfassungsblog, COVID-19: Malaysia’s Fragile Constitutional Democracy, Department of Law and Legal Studies...
In his March 2021 blog post for Verfassungsblog, COVID-19: Malaysia’s Fragile Constitutional Democracy, Department of Law and Legal Studies Professor Ratna Rueban Balasubramaniam probes the ways in which Covid-19 is perhaps the first ever uniform test for constitutional democracies world-wide. Balasubramaniam posits that the test implicates difficult...
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Jay Ramasubramanyam Receives Teaching Award
Congratulations Jay Ramasubramanyam! Department of Law and Legal Studies PhD Student and Contract Instructor Jay Ramasubramanyam has been awarded the 2021 Carleton University Contract Instructor Teaching Award in recognition of his...
Congratulations Jay Ramasubramanyam! Department of Law and Legal Studies PhD Student and Contract Instructor Jay Ramasubramanyam has been awarded the 2021 Carleton University Contract Instructor Teaching Award in recognition of his teaching excellence. Ramasubramanyam taught LAWS 2105 (Social Justice and Human Rights), GINS 1010 (International Law and...
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Research Spotlight: Professor Dale Spencer
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 inaugural post, we feature the...
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 inaugural post, we feature the research of Dale Spencer, Associate Professor, Department of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University. Dr. Spencer’s...
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
SAR Program: Safe and Supportive Spaces for At-Risk Scholars
Imagine trying to produce research and share your ideas in a place where your safety is at risk. For the past two decades, the Scholars at Risk (SAR) program has been uniting at-risk...
Imagine trying to produce research and share your ideas in a place where your safety is at risk. For the past two decades, the Scholars at Risk (SAR) program has been uniting at-risk academics whose safety is threatened at home with temporary research and teaching positions for academics in new countries. In 2014, Department...