PhD program

PhD Candidate and Trudeau Scholar Johnny Mack
PhD candidate and Trudeau scholar Johnny Mack

Rewarding. Research-Oriented. Interdisciplinary.

Please refer to the UVic Academic Calendar for the rules regarding your graduate candidature. You are responsible for meeting the requirements of the program.

Our graduate assistant can answer most administrative questions or direct you to the resources that you require.

Helpful tips for your graduate studies program.

Program length

The PhD requires a minimum of 20 months (five terms) of enrollment. Most students complete the program within four to five years. Seven years is the maximum period.

Full-time and residency requirements

The first 12 months (three terms) of the PhD program must be completed full-time, on-campus, in Victoria. Our aim is to build a cohesive community and support the development of your dissertation, which requires full-time attendance.


You must arrive for the first day of fall term. During your first week you will attend the law graduate orientation, meet with your law supervisor and the graduate program director to discuss your program and attend the first sessions of your fall term courses.

There are also campus-wide orientation sessions for graduate students and international students that are scheduled prior to the first day of fall term.

Please contact the to set a time to meet with the graduate program director.

Supervisory committee

You will be assigned a three-person supervisory committee, comprised of one law supervisor and either one non-law co-supervisor plus a law committee member, or two members (one from law and one from another discipline).

Your law supervisor is chosen during the application process. Your additional committee members are chosen in consultation with your law supervisor. It is your responsibility to approach potential committee members to determine their availability.

Your law supervisor plays the principle role on issues of form and administration, but your committee members have input regarding the development of the dissertation.

The non-law member of your committee has a more specialized role, advising on certain aspects of the dissertation and serving as a resource person. They do not have as intense an involvement in the development of your research as the other two committee members.

Responsibilities in the Supervisory Relationship.

Course requirements

  • LAW693: PhD Candidacy Examination (3.0 units)
  • LAW699: PhD Dissertation (21.0-36.0 units)
  • LAW501: Graduate Seminar in Law and Society (1.5 units)
  • LAW502: Graduate Seminar in Applied Legal Methodology (1.5 units)
  • One non-law graduate-level seminar (1.5 units)
  • One additional course (1.5 units) - may be an upper-year law undergraduate course, law graduate course, or graduate-level course in another discipline.

Courses must be discussed with your supervisory committee and approved by the graduate program director.

Please note: You are not permitted to register for a course that is substantively similar to, or that you have already taken for undergraduate credit, either here or at another university.

You should complete all courses by the end of your second term. After your first two terms, you are responsible for completing your ongoing registration.

Marking standards

Please review and become familiar with marking standards at the graduate level.

Candidacy examination

During the second year of your program, you will be required to participate in a candidacy examination (structured defence of your research program and any completed segments of your dissertation). You should begin the research and writing required for your candidacy examination in your third term.

PhD candidacy examination student procedures and guidelines

Academic integrity

You must avoid any form of academic dishonesty. See UVic's policy on academic integrity.

Program milestones

Review the PhD dissertation milestones

Annual progress review

Each year you will be subject to a progress review to evaluate your progress and identify any problems that may be impeding your progress. The graduate assistant will email the form to you and two of your supervisory committee members for completion during the fall term.

Internal PhD applicants

If you were accepted to the LLM program, you may apply to the PhD program with the support of your supervisory committee. However, we strongly advise that you complete your LLM first.

If you choose to proceed to the PhD without finishing your LLM, you must still finish the LLM coursework (at the thesis level) and a minimum of four terms in the LLM before applying to the PhD program.

All applications will be treated as new. You can only apply for September entry.

LLM submission requirements must be met by August 31
Application deadline is January 31

Procedures for internal PhD applications


Convocation ceremonies are held in November and June. Although attendance is not mandatory, we encourage you to attend if possible.

There can be a delay between when you complete your program requirements and the next convocation ceremony. If this occurs, we can issue letters confirming that you have completed the requirements.