The MA Legal Studies is made up of seminar-style courses offered in the Department and in other disciplines, combined with one of two large research projects: either a Master’s Research Essay (MRE) or a Master’s thesis.

For a Master’s Thesis, the candidate will complete:

  • 3.0 credits of course work, and
  • 2.0 credit thesis and oral examination

For a Master’s Research Essay, the candidate will complete:

  • 4.0 credits of course work, and
  • 1.0 credit research essay

Required Courses

All students are required to take LAWS 5000 and LAWS 5001. These courses provide students with a common theoretical and interdisciplinary framework for the program. In addition, students are encouraged to take 0.5 credit in a related discipline, in consultation with the supervisor of graduate studies.

All students must obtain satisfactory grades in their course work; make satisfactory progress in their research; maintain a close working relationship with their thesis supervisors; and attend seminars on current research and related topics. Each student may be required from time to time to present a seminar on his/her research.

Coursework-Only Options

Students interested in pursuing the MA in Legal Studies will now be able to choose from a thesis, research essay and coursework-only option. Faculty in the Department of Law and Legal Studies come from a wide variety of backgrounds – law, history, sociology, anthropology, communications and political science – offering students access to a diverse, interdisciplinary pool of resources. Students have until July 15 to be considered for admission and funding if space and funds are still available. Earlier applications are strongly encouraged. For more information, please email: gradlegalstudies@carleton.ca


Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs

Department of Law and Legal Studies


1) M.A. – Student Forms

2) M.A. Thesis & Research Essay Forms

Graduate Registration

Office Hours

Our Graduate Office provides potential and in-program students with information on program and degree requirements.  Students are welcome to make an appointment to discuss any administrative concerns they may have regarding the Legal Studies program with the Graduate Program Administrator, Andrew Squires.  Please feel free to make an appointment by email to:  andrew.squires@carleton.ca.

For an appointment with the Graduate Supervisor,  Professor Dale Spencer, you are encouraged to contact him directly at Dale.Spencer@Carleton.ca to schedule an appointment.

How to Register

Registration for the coming academic sessions must be completed via Carleton Central.  Registration dates and deadlines are available at: http://carleton.ca/registrar/registration/

All students are assigned time tickets for registration according to the last two digits of their student numbers. Some Legal Studies graduate level courses will be available only to Legal Studies graduate students.

For information regarding registration and related issues, please review the Graduate Student Handbook.

New Students

Congratulations on a successful application to a very unique program here in Canada!

We are pleased that you have chosen our program for your continued studies and aim to provide you with an intellectually stimulating and congenial environment in which you will feel both challenged and supported as you work towards the completion of your Master’s degree

We sincerely hope that your time spent in the program and in Ottawa will be extremely rewarding, filled with new experiences, new and long-lasting friendships and of course academic success culminating in the completion of the Master of Arts in Legal Studies program.  If there is anything we can do to assist you towards the realization of your goals, please let us know.  The Department of Law and Legal Studies has many resources from which to draw from.  Faculty, staff and senior students in the program would be happy to help you as you begin your graduate studies and throughout your stay here at Carleton University.

Special Meetings

MA Orientation (Mandatory) 

Location: Videoconference via Zoom (link and further details will be sent by email prior to the meeting)
Time: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EST
Date: September 7th, 2021

TA Information


Carleton University offers a Teaching Assistants Orientation for new TAs each fall. Please visit the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs (FGPA) website for more information on New Graduate Student and TA Orientation.

New TA orientation (Hosted by Law & Legal Studies)

Departmental TA orientation for new TAs in Law and Legal Studies.
Please join us for general orientation to your role and duties and to ask any questions you may have before you get started.

Registration for the orientation is on Carleton Central (https://central.carleton.ca) under TA Management > TA Training > TA Training Registration > Law and Legal Studies – New TA Departmental Orientation

September 10th – Orientation 2:00pm – 3:30pm
September 17th – TA Training Day

  • 10:30am – 11:30am General Panel
  • 11:45am – 12:45pm Teaching Sensitive Subjects
  • 2:00pm – 3:00pm Facilitating Online Discussion Groups

October 22nd – Grading/Feedback Workshop 1:00pm – 2:30pm

All three events will be held on Zoom and a more detailed schedule/Zoom links will be sent out closer to the dates.

CUPE 4600

As a Teaching Assistant for Carleton University, you will be a member of a Union (CUPE 4600).  You are strongly encouraged to review the CUPE 4600 collective agreement – this will outline the rules and regulations, rights and responsibilities that pertain to you.

The collective agreement is available online at the CUPE 4600 website.

Graduate Law and Legal Studies Association

The Graduate Law and Legal Studies Association (GLSA) is the department’s student association. The GLSA’s mandate is to facilitate the participation of Legal Studies graduate students in the department and university community, to foster a sense of community among MA and PhD graduate students, and to advocate for the rights and priorities of LAWS graduate students within the department and university. Learn more about the GLSA.

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