School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies


Flanagan, W.F.

Associate Dean (Academic)
Knutsen, E.S.

Associate Dean (Graduate Studies and Research)
Karton, J.D.H.

Assistant Dean
Cole, H., Morash, D.

Bailey, M.J., Baines, B., Bala, N.C., Cockfield, A.J., Flanagan, W.F., Green,L., Knutsen, E.S., Lahey, K.A., Pardy, B.B., Peppin, P.J.

Associate Professor
Aiken, S.J., Amani, B., Banks, K.,  Dahan, S., Freedman, C.D., Karton, J.D.H., Khimji, M.F.,  McCormack, N., Metcalf, C., Pratt, M.G., Robinson, D., Webber, G., Weisbord, N., Yalden, R.

Assistant Professor
Ewing, B., Henderson, G.E., Imseis, A., Kelly, L.M., King, A., Lamp, N., Thomas, J., Tsuruda, S.J., Vasanthakumar, A., Weinrib, J.

Professor Emeritus
Alexandrowicz, G.W., Baer, M.G., Bale, C.G., Bonham, D., Carter, D.D., Magnusson, D.N., Manson, A.S.,  Mullan, D.J., Price, R.R., Sadinsky, S., Stuart, D.R., Weisberg, M.A., Whyte, J.D.

Continuing Adjunct Assistant Professor
Hanson, L., Maur, M.J., Osanic, P.M.

Chaykowski, R.P., Kymlicka, W., Lyon, D.

Programs of Study

The graduate law program at Queen’s University offers to students from Canada and from countries around the world an intellectually rich and challenging environment for legal learning and scholarship.  Queen’s offers two graduate degrees in law:

  • the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree, a one-year program with thesis and course-based options;
  • the Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Law degree, a four-year program of advanced legal research.

The graduate law program at Queen’s is a small, academically oriented program with a global emphasis.

The LL.M. Degree

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 an academic career, or a career in areas of the legal profession that demand particularly critical or reflective forms of legal and policy analysis.

LL.M. students are given considerable choice in designing a program of study that suits them. Two graduate courses — Legal Research Methods & Perspectives (LAW-880) and Legal Research & Writing (LAW-881) — 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)(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) of 50-70 pages (13,000-18,000 words);
  • Course-Paper option: five additional one-term courses and a graduate paper of 35-40 pages (9,000-10,000 words)(LAW-897).

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 his or her needs and aspirations, and 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 within 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) – a one-term seminar for graduate students 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
  • Legal Research & Writing Seminar (LAW-881)– a one-term seminar designed to assist students in developing the research and writing skills they require to succeed as graduate students. Graduate students who have completed a research and writing course at another law school that is similar to LAW-881 can ask to take a replacement course instead of LAW-881.

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

  1. complete the two mandatory graduate courses (LAW-880 and LAW-881); and
  2. complete four additional courses, three of which must be designated courses in the Political and Legal Thought specialization, in Law, Political Studies, or Philosophy; and
  3. complete a graduate paper (LAW-897).

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.

Part-Time Students

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. Because the number of places in the program is 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.

The Ph.D. in Law

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 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, Legal Research Methods & Perspectives and LAW-881, Legal Research & Writing) if they have not already done so, or if they have not completed similar courses at another institution.

  • In their first year, students will take or audit other graduate-level courses relevant to their research topic, as recommended by their supervisor in consultation with the supervisory committee.

  • Also in their first year, students will complete selected readings set by their supervisor in consultation with the supervisory committee, with a view to broadening student perspectives and knowledge in relation to their chosen area of research.

  • At 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 a member of a related department or faculty within the University (often members of the student's supervisory committee).The exam focuses upon a 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 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 his or her 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, and 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 four years.

Admission to the Ph.D. Program

The faculty seeks doctoral students with records of impressive academic achievement and demonstrated scholarly potential.  Applicants will normally have a first or undergraduate law degree (LL.B. or J.D. or equivalent) and an LL.M. or equivalent masters-level degree in law. Exceptional applicants may be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program after obtaining a J.D. or LL.B. (or equivalent first law degree), without having completed an LL.M. or equivalent masters-level law degree.

Applicants are accepted under the general regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applications are assessed on the basis of academic transcripts and awards, quality and strength of references, merits of the statement of proposed research, research capacities and potential as revealed by previous academic writing, especially published work, compatibility with faculty resources, in particular the availability of a qualified supervisor and the sufficiency of library holdings in the proposed area of research.  Where appropriate, weight may also be given to the ability of the student to participate as a research assistant in an externally-funded faculty research project. Offers made to applicants still in the process of completing a first degree in law will be made conditional upon timely completion of that degree with a satisfactory standing.

Financial Assistance

Students accepted into the Ph.D. and LL.M. programs are eligible for scholarships and fellowships administered by Queen's University. All candidates for graduate work at Queen's may compete for these awards. The Faculty of Law may also be able to provide awards.

Departmental Facilities

Queen’s University Library’s research collections include millions of print and digital items supported by a strong technology infrastructure and a focus on scholarly communications. Library facilities are heavily used campus hubs with a mix of inviting, accessible learning spaces, computers and collections. Queen’s University Library is a member of the Association of Research Libraries and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries.

The William R. Lederman Law Library, part of Queen’s University Library, is located on the second and third floors of the Faculty of Law, and the other principal libraries are conveniently located nearby. Along with legal databases from Canada and other countries, the Law Library's print collection numbers about 150,000 volumes with particular strengths in Constitutional and Administrative Law, Criminal Law, Family Law, Feminist Legal Studies, International Law, Labour & Employment Law, Intellectual Property, and Policy. Primary source materials include a robust collection of case law, statutes and regulations (federal and provincial), from Canada (both in print and electronically) and case law and legislation from the U.S., Great Britain and some Commonwealth countries (largely electronically). Most journals, as well as a growing number of books, are available electronically.

All libraries on campus have desktop computers as well as wi-fi. You can use all our databases and electronic materials anywhere in the world – if you’re off campus, you’ll just be asked to enter your netID and password when you connect to a resource through Queen’s University Library.

Policy Respecting Non-Discrimination

It is the policy of Queen's University that no applicant be denied admission to any program on the basis of race, creed, colour, age, sex, marital status, ancestry or place of origin. In addition, the Faculty of Law's Commitment in Principle Relating to Equality Issues extends to the LL.M. and the Ph.D. programs and the J.D. program.