Application Deadlines

The deadline for guaranteed consideration of admission and funding is January 15th of each year for Fall admission. The department will continue to accept applications for review following January 15th. Following the initial deadline, consideration of admission and funding is made if space and funds are available.

Ready to apply? Applications can be made via the Graduate Admissions website.

MA in Legal Studies

PhD in Legal Studies


For more information, please contact our Graduate Administrator

MA Program in Legal Studies

Our Master of Arts in Legal Studies is organized around the theme of law and social transformation. It is designed for students interested in developing a rigorous and critical understanding of law and relations of governance. Graduate students participate in ongoing research and seminar series sponsored by the Department of Law and Legal Studies, including the Jurisprudence Center JurisTalks and the Graduate Culture Seminar.

The combination of course and thesis or research essay requirements offers a well-grounded, theoretically-informed and research-intensive degree program. Students develop the theoretical background and research skills that are required for critical engagement with law and legal relations.

Admissions: Requirements

High-achieving students from a wide variety of academic disciplines, for example: sociology, law, criminology, philosophy, political science, and history, are encouraged to apply. Students must have a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree (or its equivalent) in a relevant field of study. In addition, the Legal Studies program also attracts students with an LL.B.

The minimum requirement for admittance into the MA Program is a B.A. Honours degree or the equivalent, with at least high honours standing (B+).

– Applicants without a background in law or legal studies may be required to complete one or more relevant undergraduate courses in the Department of Law and Legal Studies.

– Applicants will be considered for admission on the basis of their academic background and standing. Where relevant, previous professional experience may be taken into account.

– Candidates with particular course deficiencies may be required to register in additional courses at Carleton.

Admissions: Deadlines

The deadlines for submitting applications for the M.A. Legal Studies program are as follows:

Fall Admission (with consideration for financial assistance): January 15 | This is the deadline for submitting applications and supporting documents for graduate study. Candidates who meet the requirements and are applying for full time status will be considered for financial assistance.

Fall Admission (no consideration for financial assistance): July 15 | This is the final deadline for Fall admission; however applications submitted for this deadline may not be considered for financial assistance.

Program Requirements

Our MA Legal Studies program 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

Coursework-Only Option

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:

Departmental Guidelines

Our guidelines can help you decide which route to take and how to decide which topic to pursue.

– Departmental Guidelines for Law Theses and Research Essays

Research Specialization

Included among our areas of teaching and research strengths are:

– Crime, Governance and Security
– Globalization, International Law and Transnational Justice
– Citizenship, Human Rights and Political Economy
– Gender, Sexuality and Identity
– Law, History, Culture and Humanities
– Conflict Resolution (on hiatus)

Areas of Supervision

Looking for a supervisor? Please view our list of Faculty Supervision Areas for more details.

MA Events

Events are shared here periodically.

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PhD Program in Legal Studies

The PhD program in Legal Studies at Carleton University is designed for students with advanced research interests in the interdisciplinary study of law. The Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University has a long tradition, dating from its establishment in 1967, of examining law within its broad social context, drawing on the tools and insights offered by different academic disciplines. The faculty members in the Department of Law and Legal Studies reflect this commitment to interdisciplinarity and are drawn from anthropology, history, political science, philosophy, public policy, sexual studies, and human rights.

The central areas explored in the PhD Legal Studies program are:

– the role of law in the transformation of contemporary modes of regulation and governance at the local, national and global levels;

– human rights, citizenship and global justice in the context of globalization and the shifting terrain of transnational linkages and identities;

– the relationship between crime, law and security.

We welcome applications from individuals with a Master’s degree, which need not be in law or legal studies.  The program is aimed at students with an interest in theoretically informed, analytical study of the law/society relationship.

Course Descriptions

Below is a breakdown of courses offered at the PhD level. To view the course descriptions, please click here.

LAWS 6000 Doctoral Seminar in Legal Studies
LAWS 6001 Proseminar in Legal Studies
LAWS 6002 Law, Regulation and Governance
LAWS 6003 Human Rights, Citizenship and Global Justice
LAWS 6004 Law, Crime and Social Order

Program Structure and Requirements

The PhD Legal Studies is made up of 4.5 credits, designed as a 4 year program.

Year 1

Course work (2.5 credits), which is made up of:

LAWS 6000 Doctoral Seminar in Legal Studies (.5 credit)
– LAWS 6001 Proseminar in Legal Studies (.5 credit)
– Choice of at least one field seminar from LAWS 6002, 6003 or 6004 (.5 credit)
– Optional courses related to the candidate’s field of study (1.0 credit)

In some cases, students without a background in law will be required to complete LAWS 5000 as part of their optional course requirement.

Year 2

Comprehensive exam (1.0 credit): normally completed in the first  half of the second year.

– Thesis proposal (1.0 credit): follows completion of the comprehensive exam and normally will be completed in the second half of the second year.

Year 3 & 4

Thesis Work (0.0 credits)

PhD Events

Events are shared here periodically.

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