The Queen's Ph.D. in Law involves advanced legal research leading to the completion and oral defence of a doctoral dissertation. The program normally takes three to four years to complete. Each student works closely with a faculty supervisor and a supervisory committee of two other faculty members (one of whom can be from outside the law school) to fulfill the following requirements:
- Ph.D. students must complete the two mandatory graduate seminars of the Queen's LL.M. program, LAW 880 and LAW 881, if they have not already done so, or if they have not completed similar courses at another institution.
- In their first year, students take or audit other graduate-level courses relevant to their research topic, as recommended by their supervisor.
- Also in their first year, students will complete selected readings set by their supervisor, with a view to broadening student perspectives and knowledge in relation to their chosen area of research.
- By the end of their first semester of their second year of study, students must pass an oral qualifying exam before a committee composed of the student's supervisor, and two other faculty members, one of whom may come from a related department or faculty within the University. (Often, although not necessarily, the members of the student’s supervisory committee also form the qualifying examination committee.) The exam focuses upon a detailed dissertation proposal and draft chapter of the student's dissertation, and the committee will assess the viability of the proposed research topic and the student's readiness to pursue it.
- After the qualifying exam, students must submit a final thesis proposal to be approved by the supervisor, the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, and one other member of the law faculty (who may be a member of the student's supervisory committee.)
- The student must research and write a doctoral dissertation (LAW 999) that will not normally exceed 80,000 words (exclusive of footnotes, endnotes, bibliography, appendices, tabulated data, tables of cases and legislation, and table of contents).
- The student must defend their thesis orally before a final examination committee comprised of, in addition to the student's supervisor, the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies (or his or her delegate) as Chair, the Dean of Law (or his or her delegate), one other member of the Law Faculty, one faculty member from a related department or faculty within the University (these members may be members of the student's supervisory committee), and an external examiner from outside the University.
Study and Completion Times
Doctoral students are expected to be engaged in their studies on a full-time basis. The expected time for completion of the Ph.D. degree is three to four years.