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The Ph.D. in Law Degree

The Ph.D. in Law degree program is designed to prepare J.D. graduates for careers as legal scholars and teachers through a doctoral program aimed at the production of a substantial body of academic research and writing under the close supervision of a three-member faculty dissertation committee. Unlike programs designed for students who wish to learn about law from the disciplinary perspectives of the social sciences or the humanities, the Ph.D. in Law is directed at students who wish to pursue advanced studies in law from the perspective of the law. This program offers emerging scholars an opportunity to contribute to the development of law as an academic field, and it provides an alternate pathway into law teaching alongside existing routes such as fellowships, advanced degrees in cognate fields, legal practice, and clerkships.

Because our entering Ph.D. students will have already completed their J.D. degrees, the anticipated course of study toward the Ph.D. in Law degree is three academic years and two summers in residence. In their first two semesters, Ph.D. students will enroll in courses designed to help them acquire the background and research skills needed to complete a dissertation in their field of interest and to prepare them for qualifying examinations that test the depth and breadth of the literacies and skills they have acquired. During their second year, students will prepare a dissertation prospectus and begin work on a dissertation. The dissertation may take the form of either three law review articles or a book-length manuscript and will make up a portfolio of writing that will be essential for success in the job market. Ph.D. students will also gain experience in the classroom, and receive the full support of Yale Law School’s Law Teaching Program , which has had remarkable success in placing graduates in tenure-track positions at leading law schools.

Ph.D. students receive a full-tuition waiver, a health award for health insurance coverage, and a stipend to cover their year-round living expenses, as well as support for participation in national and international conferences.

Applications for admission to the Ph.D. in Law program are available starting on August 15. The deadline for submission of all materials is December 15. Applicants to the Ph.D. in Law program must complete a J.D. degree at a U.S. law school before they matriculate and begin the Ph.D. program. Any questions about the program may be directed to Gordon Silverstein, Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs, at [email protected] .

Watch Gordon Silverstein, Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs, describe the Ph.D. program at Yale Law School.

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“ This place has always been imbued with a restless spirit, the assumption that being the finest law school in the world is never enough, and a deep belief that you, our students, can do anything.”

Heather Gerken

Dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law

UW School of Law

Ph.D. in Law

The Ph.D. in Law prepares graduates for global leadership in the judiciary, academia, business and government. Since 1966, the program has offered a select number of diverse students the opportunity to attain their highest professional aspirations and career goals. A preeminent center for interdisciplinary legal studies, UW Law offers a global focus and innovative approach to integrating legal scholarship within the humanities and social sciences, medicine and global health, business and technology, and environmental and public policy.

The Ph.D. program is designed to provide a rich and thorough foundation in research methodologies, jurisprudence, legal theory, policy, dissertation preparation and ready access to specialized elective coursework from within the law school and university-wide research centers, institutes and schools. Throughout the program, our graduate students receive individualized attention from exceptional faculty and staff.

With its long and respected history, the Ph.D. program provides students with a global alumni network. Alumni are committed supporters and mentors and lead in many sectors around the world.

Ph.D. Program Design Review

The UW Law School faculty recently voted to pause Ph.D. admissions for two years while the program goes through a reexamination and review. Our PhD program has a long and rich history. We take its prominence in the legal field and our commitment to preparing students very seriously. As with all of our programs, we must re-examine the curriculum periodically to determine if it meets students' needs and prepares them to advance legal practice, scholarship and education in communities locally and globally.

A committee led by a member of the greater university community has been convened to review the Ph.D. program. This work will include opportunities for input from UW Law faculty, current students, PhD graduates and our alumni community. We look forward to partnering with these stakeholders for a robust and fruitful discussion about the future of this program. If you would like to provide input on the Ph.D. program or are a student with questions, please email [email protected] uw .edu .

The program will not accept new applicants for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic years.

The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of three years’ study, at least two years of which are comprised of coursework taken while in residence at the UW. Ph.D. candidates must complete 90 credits. A minimum of 60 credits must be taken at the UW including a minimum of 27 dissertation credits. Some of the credits earned in an LL.M. program may be counted among the 60 credits.

Doctoral dissertation committees are led by faculty experts from UW Law and include members with deep knowledge and expertise from across the university. Students can customize their studies with interdisciplinary coursework, independent study, field research, global internships and externships.

See full curriculum

Related Links

Graduate Programs, UW School of Law William H. Gates Hall Box 353020 4293 Memorial Way Seattle, WA 98195-3020, USA [email protected] uw .edu

What is a PhD in law?

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PhD in Law

Regarded as the highest degree in varied academic disciplines, a Doctorate of Philosophy ( PhD ) aims to provide students with a chance to delve deeper into a specific area of study. For a field like Law, a doctoral degree is suitable for those wanted to pursue their career as legal scholars and teachers. A PhD in Law incorporates intense coursework followed by detailed research in the chosen specialization. The program is devised for students who want to gain in-depth knowledge and advanced studies in the domain. If you also want to secure a doctorate degree in Law, you should definitely aim for attaining overseas education for the same. Through this blog, we will elucidate various aspects of PhD in Law, the eligibility criteria you need to fulfil, course structure and specialisations as well as top universities.

This Blog Includes:

Specialisations offered, course structure, top universities abroad offering phd in law, top colleges in india, entrance exams in india, phd in law: distance education, important books, eligibility for phd in law, application process , required documents .

Commonly offered as a 3-year degree, a PhD in Law implements a multidisciplinary approach and aims to impart students with the required theoretical background and research skills in the former part of the program while they are required to prepare their dissertation during the latter part. Often pursued as a full-time course, this degree prepares individuals for several leadership roles in Judiciary, Business, Academics as well as Government.

There are a plethora of concentrations available under PhD in Law from which applicants can choose from. These courses connect the vast discipline of law with its relevant sub-fields, hence students can opt for a unique course and specialize in the same. Selecting a particular specialization also helps to delve deeper into it by pursuing research. Take a look at the following list of PhD in Law specialisations: 

Check Out: Law Subjects

The curriculum and syllabus of a PhD in Law can vary as per the specialisation as well the academic institution. But in order to provide you with a general overview, the following paragraphs describe the structure of this doctoral degree as followed for a 3-year program.

Deciding the right university for a course can be a strenuous task and requires professional help. Leading law schools and universities around the globe possess the necessary capabilities to transform the personalities of enrolled students. These extra-edge attributes can help you have a kickstart in your career and convert your career aspirations into success. To grab a taste of global exposure and a plethora of opportunities in this field, here are some top-notch universities offering PhD in Law that you must consider:

Tabulated below are the top colleges in India offering a PhD in law. You can have a look here:

There are various entrance exams in India that you can apply for and attempt in order to be selected for a PhD in Law. They are mentioned below.

Did you know that you can pursue a PhD in law through distance education? A lot of established and good colleges as well as universities offer the course part-time or through correspondence. Tabulate below are some of the important colleges that offer PhD in Law through distance learning.

Tabulated below are the important and informative books you can refer to while pursuing a PhD in Law. You can check it out here: 

PhD Law Admission Process 

There are two ways of getting admission in PhD in Law. You can either get direct admission or merit. 

Direct Admission

Merit-Based Admission 

To get enrolled in any degree, candidates need to meet certain prerequisites specified for the course by the institution. Since there are a lot of specializations available for PhD in Law, the eligibility criteria tend to differ from one university to another. Below listed are some essential requirements that you need to fulfil in order to apply for the program:

This is another important aspect you need to keep in mind if you’re planning to become a lawyer. But the application process might get overwhelming. This is where the professional from Leverage Edu will help you. It’s important to complete the application process without any mistakes. Here are crucial things to consider:

The documentation process is one of the most essential steps you should consider. But making some common mistakes will jeopardize your application. The documents you need to submit are::

Career Prospects and Salary

After completing your PhD in law from a reputed university, you will be able to boost your chances of getting hired by top companies. Employers will take a look at your university name as it will have a huge impact on your employability. Therefore, make sure you complete your PhD degree from a reputed university to stand apart from the crowd. Here are the jobs you can get after completing your PhD in law:

The salary of a lawyer who holds a PhD degree will vary from one designation to another as well as the country. Here’s a table:

Also Read: Law Entrance Exams India & Abroad     

Taw law and corporate law are the most effective.

If you want to get into a high-ranked university, you’ll need more than just good grades; you’ll also need flawless application because the competition is fierce. You may enlist the assistance of Leverage Edu specialists to assist you with the application process so that you can realise your goals. Call us immediately at 1800 57 2000 for a free 30-minute counselling session.

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Doctor of Laws (J.S.D./S.J.D.)

After graduating with a Juris Doctor a person is eligible for practicing law in the particular state where they pass their bar examination. A person may then go on to specialize in a specific area of the law and study for a Master of Laws degree. For those individuals that prefer to work in academia or in other types of work that has an emphasis in legal scholarship, the Doctor of Laws is the next step.

Degree and Application Requirements

While the number of doctoral programs is limited, the requirements for application and degree requirements vary greatly. Almost all of the programs will require that an individual complete a master of laws program or a comparative program such as a Master in Comparative Law, Juris Master, or a Master of Jurisprudence. There are some law schools that limit enrollment in their doctoral programs to only those that have completed a LL.M. program with their particular school. This means that if you complete a master program at one law school you may not be eligible for admission into a particular law school for your doctorate. It is important to factor this limitation into the decision making process when considering law schools for your master program if you are considering a doctorate program afterwards.

There are numerous doctorate programs that require individual applicants to gain approval from a member of the faculty stating that they are willing to be the applicant’s advisor and committee chairperson for their dissertation. This must be accomplished before a person applies to the program.

Doctorate Program Considerations

When considering a doctorate program it is important to evaluate each of the programs carefully. It is important to look at the programs and weigh your own particular area of interest against the specializations of the faculty of each of the schools. If interested in writing a dissertation and conducting specific research, consider a school that has a faculty member that has similar interests.

There are some doctoral programs that will require the student to pursue coursework in additional areas and other programs do not have this requirement. Almost all of the programs will require the student to write a dissertation that could be published and that makes a contribution of value to the literature of law. Most programs will require that a doctoral student conduct their research under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

The majority of these programs will require that the degree be completed in a time frame of two to five years, with the first two years being completed “in residence.” The rate for these programs will vary, but there is typically no financial aid available for a doctorate program.

What is a PhD in law?

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The Gradcafe

Top 10 Best PhD in Law Programs [2023]

Lisa Marlin

Table of Contents

Yale university, law school, stanford university, the university of chicago, the law school, columbia university, law school, harvard university, law school, the university of pennsylvania, carey law school, the university of arizona, james e. rogers college of law, the university of texas at dallas, school of economic, political, and policy sciences, abraham lincoln university, school of law, walden university, what do you need to get a phd in law, preparing for a law doctorate program, things to consider when choosing a law phd program, jobs for phd in law degree holders, course costs, course length, skills you’ll gain through a phd in law, key takeaways, what is a phd in law called, is a phd in law the same as a jd, what is the highest degree in law, how long is a phd in law, what does a phd in law do.

A PhD in law is an advanced qualification that will make you a true legal expert. You can use that credential to work as a legal research scholar or teach at a post-secondary level. This is not only a prestigious career path but also a lucrative one — today’s law PhD holders have an average salary  of $93,000.

Today’s law schools emphasize an interdisciplinary approach to legal education, equipping students to work in a diverse range of fields.

Interested in an advanced criminal justice  career? Below we’ll cover the top PhD in law programs, universities, and what you need to know before pursuing a doctorate in law.

Top PhD in Law Programs

Yale University logo

Yale University’s Law School ranks first  in the nation, with its 20 legal clinics offering an immersive experience for students. This PhD program has a purely academic focus. To qualify for admission, you’ll need to already have a JD (Juris Doctor) degree. If accepted, you’ll be able to benefit from Yale Law School’s acclaimed “Yale Teaching Program.”

Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD)

Stanford University logo

Stanford University is another highly acclaimed institution in the field of law education with a tough admissions process. Only a few exceptionally gifted students with an international JD or LLB or a SPILS (Stanford Program in International Legal Studies) qualification are accepted into this program every year. The program has an emphasis on an interdisciplinary approach to law.

Doctor of Jurisprudence (JSD)

University of Chicago logo

The Law School of the University of Chicago is renowned for its interdisciplinary approach to teaching and cross-lists its courses with other departments. The faculty include philosophers, political scientists, historians, and law scholars. Students also have the option to pursue a Doctorate in Comparative Law (D.Comp.L.) instead of a JSD if they wish.

JSD Program

Columbia University logo

The Columbia Law School emphasizes experiential learning with law clinics, moot courts, and externships, offering opportunities for innovative education and valuable intellectual exchange. Students can conduct independent research with the help of their faculty advisors and they need to submit a DPR (Dissertation Progress Report) at the end of each year.

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)

Harvard University logo

Harvard University is one of the world’s most famous centers for education, and its Law School  is equally renowned. The school has a unique grading system that uses the classifications honors, pass, low-pass, and fail. This flexible SJD program allows students to design their own study plan and choose faculty supervisors for independent research.

Doctor of Science of Law (SJD)

University of Pennsylvania logo

Carey Law School’s curricula cut across disciplinary and international lines to create law experts in every field, including business, health, technology, education, and social work. For admission to the Carey Law School PhD, you must already hold an LLM or JD from the same school or an institution of similar standing.

University of Arizona logo

The University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law is one of the country’s most affordable top-tier law schools. This PhD law degree offers the choice of two concentrations: International Trade & Business Law, and Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy.

Doctor of Philosophy in Criminology

University of Texas logo

The University of Texas’ School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences creates professionals capable of dealing with modern issues like risk management, political violence, social inequality, healthcare, and international trade & conflict resolution. You’ll need a bachelor’s in criminology or a related discipline to apply for this PhD in criminology.

Juris Doctor (JD)

Abraham Lincoln University logo

This school was founded with to provide affordable education to working professionals who cannot attend regular law school. This doctorate in law is a flexible JD degree that can be completed entirely online through the university’s high-level education technology.

Online PhD in Criminal Justice

Walden University logo

Walden University aims to help working professionals pursue advanced degrees and has been ranked #1  in research doctorates for African-American students. This program was one of the first online doctorates in criminal justice and allows students to explore national and international issues in criminal justice administration with a dual emphasis on contemporary theory and practice.

The exact requirements vary depending on the program, but you’ll typically need a LLB, LLM, or JD as a basic prerequisite.

As part of the admission process, you usually need to submit:

To earn your doctorate, you’ll have to complete coursework, qualifying examinations, and usually a dissertation to a high standard.

The best PhD in legal studies programs are competitive, so it’s important to start preparing early. Keep up to date on developments in the field and research the best universities that offer your preferred specialization.

Look into leading faculty members in your areas of interest, and network by joining relevant professional communities. Once you’ve decided on your dream program, check admission requirements to prepare the strongest possible application.

Choosing the best law PhD program will depend on a range of factors, including your passions and interests. However, there are a few general factors that are essential for everyone deciding on a law school for their PhD to consider:

Why Get a Doctorate in Law?

A doctorate degree in law will allow you to pursue roles in the legal field as a scholar, researcher, or academic, and build a worthwhile career.

Several candidates apply for admission to PhD in jurisprudence programs every academic year, but top law schools have low acceptance rates, and only a few are accepted. For example, Harvard only has around 70 SJD students  while hundreds or thousands may apply. Therefore, with this qualification, you’ll belong to an exclusive group of in-demand professionals.

Here are some common roles for PhD holders in law with the average annual salaries for each:

The cost greatly depends on where you study, but prestigious law schools can charge annual tuition of around $65,000. Once you factor in living expenses, books, and facility fees, the total cost can add up to around $100,000 a year. However, you can find programs with tuition and fees for as little as $7,500 a year. Moreover, most top institutions offer full-tuition scholarships, stipends, and similar financial aid that cover almost all of your expenses.

Typically, a PhD in law takes 3-5 years to complete. However, most programs will give you extra time to complete your doctorate if needed.

Aside from giving you in-depth and expansive legal knowledge, PhD in law programs can also help you develop the following skills:

A PhD in law is an excellent choice for legal professionals seeking a career in research or academia. While a JD or Juris Doctor is equivalent to a PhD, the former equips you to become a law practitioner.

On the other hand, if you want to teach at a post-secondary level or conduct further legal research, you will need a PhD. Prepare early and choose a program that will best help you to achieve your career goals.

For more law education advice, take a look at our guide on the best master’s in criminal justice programs , or weigh up your options with the highest-paying PhDs .

PhD in Law FAQs

A PhD in law is usually called a Doctor of Law or Doctor of Laws. Some universities offer a JD (Juris Doctor or Doctor of Jurisprudence) degree, while others offer SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science) or JSD (Doctor of Science in Jurisprudence) programs.

A JD (Juris Doctor) degree is suitable for anyone who wants to practice as a licensed legal professional. These programs usually take three years to complete and are mostly coursework-focused.

On the other hand, a PhD in law may take 5-6 years to complete and usually involves a dissertation or major research project. If your aim is professional research or a job in academia in the discipline rather than practicing law, a PhD is better for you.

A PhD in law is generally considered the most advanced law degree. While some universities call it by other names, such as SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science) or JSD (Doctor of Jurisprudence degree), this is essentially the same thing.

PhD Law programs typically take 3-5 years to complete. You may take longer for individual reasons, such as if you choose to study part-time.

A PhD in law will equip you to work in legal research or academia.

Lisa Marlin

Lisa Marlin

Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.

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Phd in law programs.

PhD Programs A PhD in Law involves research and an academic approach to Law study. A PhD in Law is not to be confused with a Juris Doctor, which is a professional degree preparing students to practice. A wide range of research areas is available for a PhD Law program, including international law, comparative law, human rights law, maritime law, international environmental law, and more. Through coursework, teaching, and research, candidates for a PhD Law degree will complete a dissertation to be awarded the degree. The variety of different PhD in Law can be overwhelming - don't let it stop you! Start your search by looking at the most popular PhD in Law listed below.

Most Popular Fields

Law studies.

Top PhD Programs

PhD in Law programs are offered in a number of various fields. Have a look at some of the most popular PhD in Law programs below!

Top PhD Countries

PhD in Law programs are available at universities around the world. Take your PhD in Law in one of these most popular locations!

Top PhD Cities

There are many popular PhD in Law programs offered by some of the highest ranking universities in the cities listed below!

Newly added programs

University of Pécs

More information

Queen's University Belfast

University of Latvia

SOAS University of London

Alfred Nobel Open Business School

Zhetysu State University named after Ilyas Zhansugurov

Universidade Santiago de Compostela

University Of Washington School Of Law

University at Albany

University of Cambridge

The University of Texas at Dallas

UAEU United Arab Emirates University

Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes

L’Université Catholique Du Congo

News and Articles

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Have you finally decided on a career in law? Can you see yourself standing up in a packed courtroom defending the innocent and most vulnerable members of society? Are you inspired to make the world a better (and safer) place by prosecuting those who would do otherwise? Or would you like to sit on one of the highest courts of all, where you can help shape and uphold the standards of justice and liberty for generations to come? If so, then the first thing you'll need is a law degree. Thankfully, we've come up with a few pointers that will make the application process as easy as possible. Here are seven tips for securing yourself a place at law school.

Doctor of Philosophy in Law (PhD)

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The PhD in Law is designed to provide advanced training for outstanding graduate students who have already obtained a Master of Laws (LLM) degree or its equivalent. The PhD is a research-intensive degree that prepares graduates for opportunities in law teaching, legal research, policy development, public and governmental service, and the practice of law.

The degree requirements include course work, comprehensive exams, a dissertation proposal and defence, a dissertation, and an oral dissertation exam. Working closely with a supervising faculty member, a student in the PhD program is expected to produce a book-length piece of original legal scholarship and of publishable quality.

The PhD provides an opportunity for focused study in a chosen field of law. It does not, of itself, qualify a holder for entry to the legal profession in British Columbia or any other certification for legal practice.

For specific program requirements, please refer to the departmental program website

I first attended UBC for my Master in Laws (LLM) and then decided to stay for my PhD. In my PhD, I wanted the opportunity to work and contribute to the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies (CFLS) at the law school. The Vancouver campus was also a huge draw. Having traveled for school before, I wanted to entrench myself in the city a bit more and continue some of the community work I had started.

What is a PhD in law?

Maira Hassan

Quick Facts

Program Enquiries

Admission information & requirements, 1) check eligibility, minimum academic requirements.

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement : 100

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement : 7.0

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

Prior degree, course and other requirements

Prior degree requirements.

Completion of either an LLB or JD and a Masters degree.

Document Requirements

Additionally to the required documents please submit: C.V. or resume Dissertation Proposal: PhD degrees in the Allard School of Law at UBC are dissertation-based degrees involving original research. Dissertation (PhD) proposals form an important part of the admissions process and help to guide the assignment of supervisors and supervisory committees. A proposal should outline a research project that could reasonably lead to a dissertation that makes an original scholarly contribution in the chosen field of legal study. The PhD dissertation proposal is approximately 10 pages (2,500 words), excluding bibliography. Clarity of expression is important. Please upload your thesis proposal under "Writing Sample". List of possible thesis supervisors: All applicants must submit a list indicating your first and second choice for a thesis supervisor, this list should be uploaded to your application form. There is no need to secure a thesis supervisor nor is it is necessary to contact potential thesis supervisors prior to submission of an application as many faculty members prefer that applications are referred by the Graduate Committee for their review.

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2024 intake, application open date, canadian applicants, international applicants, deadline explanations.

Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.

Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.

Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.

3) Prepare Application


All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest , sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.


Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Law (PhD)

Citizenship verification.

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Research Information

Research facilities.

Allard Hall, the home of the Peter A. Allard School of Law, was opened in 2011. The latest technology connects the Faculty with campuses, courthouses and offices around the world, and a new, state-of-the-art UBC Law Library serves as a vital academic hub for students and the legal community. Natural light, contemporary classroom designs, expanded student service spaces, a student forum space at the centre of the building, and new research spaces are all part of the new facility. The Law Library has a research collection of approximately 225,000 volumes.

Tuition & Financial Support

Financial support.

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2021 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $22,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $22,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding

Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union .

Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans .

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement .

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

24 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 1 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 22 graduates:

What is a PhD in law?

Sample Employers in Higher Education

Sample employers outside higher education, sample job titles outside higher education, phd career outcome survey, alumni on success.

What is a PhD in law?

Robert Russo

Job Title Lecturer

Employer Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Law (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

Completion rates & times, upcoming doctoral exams, friday, 31 march 2023 - 12:30pm - 335, allard hall, 1822 east mall.

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

Doctoral Citations

Sample thesis submissions.

Related Programs

Same specialization.

Further Information

Specialization, ubc calendar, program website, faculty overview, academic unit, program identifier, classification, social media channels, supervisor search.

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update the application inquiries contact details please use this form .

What is a PhD in law?

Haley Hrymak

Many of the academics I admire and look up to are at UBC. UBC is the ideal place for my work given my focus on BC, my supervisors’ skillsets, and my connection to the legal community and anti-violence sector across BC. I am also very thankful for the funding UBC has offered me to complete my...

What is a PhD in law?

Melanie McPhail

Growing up in the Vancouver area, I was thrilled at the opportunity of continuing my graduate studies close to home after spending over a decade in Ontario. Additionally, studying at UBC provides me with the opportunity to work with Dr. Cristie Ford, a leading scholar in regulatory governance.

What is a PhD in law?

Roland Nadler

I already knew firsthand what living and studying at UBC would be like, thanks to my experience as a Master's student in the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program and a resident at Green College between 2010 and 2012. Between the university's institutional strengths and my abiding love for...

What is a PhD in law?

Considering UBC for your graduate studies?

Here, you can choose from more than 300 graduate degree program options and 2000+ research supervisors. You can even design your own program.

Strategic Priorities


Osgoode’s PhD in law is a full-time advanced degree requiring research-intensive study and in principally aimed at students pursuing an academic career. It is designed to be completed in three to four years.


An LLM is generally a precondition of admission to the PhD. Students without an LLM should apply initially to the Research LLM; after their first year of study they can apply to advance to the PhD.

Degree Requirements

Graduate seminar i: legal research (gs law 6610).


Note: PhD students are required to complete Graduate Seminar I and are strongly encouraged to also complete Graduate Seminar II.

The Graduate Seminar is the core course for the Graduate Program in Law. Designed to complement other courses, the seminar provides a venue for developing critical assessments of the law and facilitating students’ progress on their own research, papers and dissertation proposals. The seminar also creates an intellectual community and introduces students to Osgoode research resources.

Graduate Seminar II: Advanced Legal Research Methodologies (GS LAW 6611)

This seminar offers a review of quantitative and qualitative methods employed in legal research. Specific sessions focus on interviewing, ethnographic methods, surveys and other quantitative methods, data collection and analysis, archival and document collection and analysis. The seminar is designed for PhD students and is completed in the winter term.

Study Groups

Students participating in study groups read and discuss a number of articles with their groups each week. The groups are not structured as courses but as venues for reflection and discourse. For doctoral students, study groups are equivalent to the comprehensive examinations required by other graduate programs.

First-year PhD students must take one study group for credit. In the second and third year of the program, only full-time PhD students are required to take a (non-credit) study group. Students can choose among five options, depending on their research interests and course availability:

Elective Courses

PhD students can fulfil their elective course requirement through:

Research Outline, Ethical Review and University Guidelines

In the second term of their first year, each student must submit to the Program office a brief outline of their proposed research that has been reviewed and approved by the members of their supervisory committee. The work must be original, containing a new argument supported by research carried out by the student.

A declaration of the ethical issues around the underlying research must be made early in the student’s first year. Projects involving interactions of any kind (for example, through interviews, questionnaires, consultations or observations) require an ethics review.

Dissertations must be prepared in accordance with the Faculty of Graduate Studies thesis and dissertation guidelines .

Extended Dissertation Proposal

PhD students must submit an extended dissertation proposal (50 –70 pages) by the end of their sixth term. Students must defend their proposal in an oral exam before an examining committee (which must be done by the end seventh term).

The dissertation is a piece of original research that reflects a substantial contribution to existing legal literature. Expected to be between 300-350 pages, it should have the usual scholarly apparatus, footnotes and a bibliography prepared in accordance with the McGill Guide to Legal Citations. The dissertation should be of sufficiently high quality to warrant publication by an academic publisher or through a comparable venue.

With the permission of their supervisor and in consultation with the Graduate Program Director, PhD candidates may submit a Portfolio Dissertation in lieu of a conventional thesis. The Portfolio Dissertation must be composed of three to five articles (depending on the length and ambition of the articles) developed during the candidate’s graduate studies, published or accepted for publication, and combined with an introduction and conclusion.

Final Oral Examination

Students must succeed in an oral defence of their dissertation before an examination committee.

Time to Completion

PhD students are expected to complete all requirements within 18 terms (six years).

Residency Requirement

Osgoode’s PhD in Law is offered on the Keele Campus of York University and includes a residency requirement. For at least four terms (sixteen months), students must be physically based in the Toronto area and able to visit campus on a daily basis to participate in classes, attend seminars, meet with the supervisor and study at the library.

More Detail:

Faculty research advisors, related topics:, funding and fees, intellectual life, meet our current doctoral students.


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