The Master of Laws (LL.M.) program at Queen's is designed to enable students with a proven record of high academic achievement to engage in intense research, writing and course work under the guidance of established legal scholars with a view to developing knowledge, expertise and skills necessary for a career in academia or in areas of the legal profession that demand particularly critical or reflective forms of legal and policy analysis.
LL.M. students have considerable flexibility to design a program of study that suits them. Two graduate courses — LAW 880 Legal Research Methods & Perspectives and LAW 881 Advanced Legal Research — are mandatory for all LL.M. students. In addition to these two courses, LL.M. students have three options for completion of the program:
- Thesis option: one additional one-term course and a Master's thesis (LAW 899 Master's Thesis Research) (not to exceed 35,000 words) that must be defended orally before an examination committee;
- Mini-Thesis option: three additional one-term courses and a substantial graduate research project (or “Mini-Thesis”) (LAW 898 Substantial Graduate Research Project) of 50-70 pages (13,000-18,000 words);
- Course-Paper option: five additional one-term courses and a graduate paper (LAW 897 Graduate Paper) of 35-40 pages (9,000-10,000 words).
Each LL.M. student is assigned a faculty supervisor based on the student's indicated research interests and faculty availability. The supervisor, together with the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, will help the student select a course of study appropriate for their needs. The supervisor will also supervise the student's graduate research (whether that takes the form of a thesis, mini-thesis or graduate paper). The Faculty makes every effort to help each student design and undertake a program that is appropriate for them, and that can, with diligence, be completed in nine to twelve months. With the permission of their supervisor and the Associate Dean, students may change options during the program, as long as the requirements for one of the options are satisfied prior to completion.
Mandatory and Optional LL.M. Graduate Courses
The two mandatory graduate courses for LL.M. students are:
- Legal Research Methods & Perspectives (LAW 880 Legal Research Methods & Perspectives) – a one-term seminar for graduate students, typically offered in the Fall term that examines major themes in legal theory and methodology from a variety of different perspectives, with a view to assisting students in the construction of an appropriate analytical framework for their research projects; and
- Graduate Adv. Legal Research (LAW 881 Advanced Legal Research)– a one-term seminar designed to assist students in developing the practical research and writing skills they require to succeed as graduate students and in their career beyond. Graduate students who have completed a research and writing course at another law school that is similar to LAW 881 Advanced Legal Research can ask to take a replacement course instead of LAW 881 Advanced Legal Research.
A very wide range of optional graduate-level courses in law are offered in conjunction with J.D. courses in the Faculty of Law.
LL.M. Collaborative Program, Specialization in Political and Legal Thought
LL.M. students who undertake the Collaborative LL.M. in Political and Legal Thought must
- complete the two mandatory graduate courses (LAW 880 Legal Research Methods & Perspectives and LAW 881 Advanced Legal Research);
- complete four additional courses, three of which must be designated courses in the Political and Legal Thought specialization, offered by the Faculty of Law or the Political Studies or Philosophy Departments; and,
- complete a graduate paper (LAW 897 Graduate Paper).
Study and Completion Times
Students enrolled in the LL.M. program are expected to be in full-time study in Kingston for nine to twelve months, normally from September to August, and are expected to complete all requirements for the degree during that period.
In any given year, a small number of part-time LL.M. students may be admitted. The course requirements for part-time students are designed to encourage completion of the degree requirements within a two-year period. Specific information should be requested from the Graduate Studies Assistant at the Faculty of Law. This aspect of our program is mostly geared to people who live near Kingston and are otherwise employed.
Admission Requirements for the LL.M. Program
Applicants holding a bachelor's degree in Law, or equivalent graduate degree, are accepted under the general regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Due to the number of places in the program being limited, high academic standing is an important factor. Professional, teaching, or research experience related to the applicant's area of research will also be taken into consideration. Students without a prior law background but who have an excellent academic record and/or relevant professional experience may be considered for admission.