The PhD program in Legal Studies 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 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.

Required Courses

Students admitted to the PhD program in Legal Studies are bound by the General Regulations of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs, and are required to complete a total of 4.5 credits.

All students are required to complete the following courses:

  • LAWS 6000 Doctoral Seminar in Legal Studies
  • LAWS 6001 Proseminar in Legal Studies
  • LAWS 6095 Field Comprehensive
  • LAWS 6096 Thesis Proposal
  • LAWS 6909 Thesis

*LAWS 6002, LAWS 6003, LAWS 6004 – at least one of these three courses must be taken (students will normally be required to take the course which relates to their field of study).


Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs

Department of Law and Legal Studies


1) General PhD Student Forms

2) PhD Annual Review Information and 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 Administrator.

For an appointment with the Graduate Supervisor,  Professor Megan Gaucher, you are encouraged to contact her directly at megan.gaucher@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 PhD 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 PhD program in Legal Studies.  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 

PhD Orientation (Mandatory)
Date: Tuesday September 5, 2023
Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
D492 Loeb Building
This will be an in-person event.

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

TA Orientation

Friday September 15, 2023 @ 9:30 – 11:30 am EST
D492 Loeb Building

International TA Orientation
Please visit the following link for information:  https://carleton.ca/isso/new-students/i-start-orientation/

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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