JD admission FAQs


Application requirements

Is a four-year Baccalaureate Degree Required Prior to Applying to Law School?

The minimum academic requirement for admission to UVic Law is 45 UVic equivalent units (90 credits) leading towards a bachelor's degree. The degree does not have to be completed prior to admission to law school, but there must be a logical progression from first to second to third and fourth year courses. During the year that you apply for law school, it is important that you submit updated transcripts after you complete the fall semester, so that your GPA can be updated.

Is there a particular program of pre-law study you would recommend?

It does not matter what major you pursue for your undergraduate degree. We accept students each year from a wide variety of programs, everything from fine arts to computer engineering. We do not discriminate between applicants on the basis of the degree program or majors they have completed. We recommend that students take a degree program they are passionate about and in which they will excel academically. Include courses in your program that will develop research, writing and analytical skills, all of which are essential for success in law school. Additionally, it is important that you develop excellent time management, study habits and exam writing skills during your undergraduate degree.

Performance based courses will not be included in your GPA calculation.

Do you have different categories of admission?

Yes. Students who meet the appropriate criteria may apply as follows:

First-year admissions:

Upper-year admissions:

Is there a mature student admissions category?

We do not have a mature applicant category, but we do consider work experience in assessing applications in both the regular admission category and the discretionary category. Age is not a factor in the admissions process. It is extremely unlikely that anyone with fewer than three years of university or college would be admitted in any of our applicant categories.

Does UVic Law have any quotas or caps for any category of applicants?

There are a limited number of positions available for applicants to our Discretionary and Indigenous categories.

How will UVic Law assess my application in light of recent COVID-19 issues and changes to grading policies at my university?

Please refer to the COVID-19 Response page.

What is required to be a competitive candidate?

A number of factors determines the ranges of GPAs and LSAT scores that are competitive in any given year. Foremost of these factors is the quality of the applicant pool. If we receive a large number of applications from people with very high GPAs and LSAT scores, admission in that year is going to be more competitive.

Generally, to be a competitive JD law school applicant in the Regular category, you need an A-/A average and an LSAT score into the 160s. However, if you have a really high LSAT score, you may be admitted with a GPA that is lower than an A- and vice versa.

To give you an idea of what has been competitive in the most recent admission cycle in the Regular category, please consult our First Year Class Demographics-Regular category chart.

What GPA do I need to be admitted?

As a matter of policy, we do not set a minimum GPA.

To give you an idea of what has been competitive in the most recent admission cycle in the Regular category, please consult our First Year Class Demographics-Regular category chart.

Is there more emphasis placed on an applicant’s grades or LSAT score?

GPA is weighted 50% and LSAT is weighted 50% in our evaluation process. Your personal statement may also be taken into account during the application assessment process.

If English is not my first language, do I need to provide proof of English proficiency?

Applicants whose first language is not English and who have not completed a minimum of three full academic years of post-secondary study that was taught and assessed in English, must write the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants who have written the TOEFL iBT need a minimum score of 100, with no less than 25 on each of the individual components. Those who have written the paper and pencil test need a score of 600 out of a possible 677. Applicants who do not meet these TOEFL minimums will not normally be admitted to the Law Faculty.

Our preference is for law applicants to write the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). However, when applicants cannot reasonably take TOEFL and have already taken IELTS, we require an IELTS result of 7.0, but with no scores below 6.5 in the individual sections.

We will accept TOEFL and IELTS tests written within the past two years.

What should I include in my personal statement?

Personal statement guidelines can be found online. Review them carefully before writing your personal statement.


Submitting your application

Where do I find all the details about how to apply?

Please see the Faculty of Law Admissions webpage. Be sure to read all the general instructions in detail, as well as the specific instructions for the program (JD or JD/JID) and category to which you intend to apply.

How will UVic Law assess my application in light of recent COVID-19 issues and changes to grading policies at my university?

Please refer to the COVID-19 Response page.

How do I apply to UVic Law?

UVic's Faculty of Law application can be found online. You may pay the application fee by credit card or INTERAC online.

How much is the application fee?

$99.75 for first year and upper year applicants.

$39.50 for summer session applicants.

You can pay by credit card or INTERAC online.

What is the application deadline?

The application opens September 1

The application closes at 4 p.m. PST:

  • January 15 for entry as a first-year student
  • March 31 for entry as an upper-year summer session student
  • April 30 for entry as an upper-year student
  • July 31 for entry as an upper-year visiting student (January entry term only)

The deadlines above apply only to the application.

Please be aware these are firm deadlines in that the online application system locks at 4pm (PST). Your application must be complete and payment made before then. Because law school applications take considerable time to prepare, you are encouraged to begin the process early.

The deadlines for supporting documentation(including unofficial transcripts) are:

  • March 1 for entry as a first-year student
  • April 30 for entry as an upper-year summer session student
  • June 30 for entry as an upper-year student
  • August 31 for entry as an upper-year visiting student (January entry term only)
You are strongly encourage to upload unofficial transcripts directly to your application prior to submission. If you do not include your unofficial transcripts with your application, please email them directly to lclerk2@uvic.ca.

What if my undergraduate institution has a different grading scale than UVic?

A variety of conversion charts are used by institutions whose grading systems are substantially different from UVic Law's. If the transcript shows a percentage grade, we convert it to our scale. However, if the grading scale is only slightly different and no percentages are reported, the grades must be taken at face value.

What if my transcripts are from a foreign institution?

Foreign transcripts should be evaluated by a foreign credential evaluation service (course-by-course evaluation), such as the World Education Service (WES). This does not apply to exchange transcripts or Graduate transcripts.

What does the holistic application review include?

In addition to strong LSAT scores and grades, we are looking for well-rounded applicants with a variety of experiences (work, public service, leadership, etc.) and skills, including strong communication and social skills. We also consider your personal statement and any supporting documentation required within the category in which you apply.

Does the faculty give preference to UVic grads or BC residents?

Neither. Residency is not a factor in our admissions decisions.


Grades & Courses

How will UVic Law assess my application in light of recent COVID-19 issues and changes to grading policies at my university?

Please refer to the COVID-19 Response page.

Does UVic Law consider all undergraduate study?

We use all undergraduate courses completed at the time of evaluation in calculating GPA and update the calculation if additional courses are completed during the fall semester. Depending upon the number of units or credits completed, we will eliminate some of the worst grades from the GPA calculation, according to an established sliding scale.

Does UVic Law consider the grades from a graduate degree program?

While we consider graduate degrees to be a positive factor and we will review grades from Master's or Ph.D. programs, they arenot used as part of your GPA calculation for admission purposes.

Does UVic Law consider grades received on exchange programs abroad?

Yes. Grades earned on exchange will be used in the calculation of your cumulative GPA. However, if the grading system is not easily transferable to the North American system, the grades will not be included in the GPA calculation.

Does UVic Law consider courses taken during intersession or summer semesters?

Yes we do.

Will UVic count the grades from repeated courses?

Yes, we will include both the old and new grades in our evaluation. However, the discounts mentioned above may eliminate the lower mark from the GPA calculation.

Does UVic Law count courses taken after graduation or through an unclassified year of study?

Our admissions committee examines a student's post-secondary academic record, including post-degree courses. However, introductory courses (100-level and 200-level) that are taken after the completion of a degree will not be included in the GPA calculation.

Is part-time university study counted?

Yes, but greater weight is given to full-time study with a full course load because it provides the best evidence of how you will handle the rigorous full course load of first-year law school (where seven courses are taken).

What is considered to be a full course load for law admission purposes?

Four or five courses per semester.

Does the Faculty of Law treat college courses the same as university courses?

All college courses, which qualify as university transfer courses, are treated in the same manner as university courses.


LSAT - Law School Admission Test 

How do I register for the LSAT or learn more about it?

All students seeking admission to the Faculty of Law are required to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT is administered through the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). Information about the LSAT including the fee waiver form and criteria can be found on the LSAC website at lsac.org.

How do I apply for a fee waiver for LSAC services?

To request a fee waiver, download the Canadian Fee Waiver Form and Instructions (PDF) and send your completed application to LSAC by email or mail. Be sure to submit your application to LSAC four to six weeks prior to the registration deadline for the LSAT administration you wish to take. Please visit the LSAC webpage for more information.

Do I need to sign up for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS)?

No. We do not subscribe to that service.

What do I need to know about the LSAT?

All applicants are required to take the LSAT. We accept LSAT scores that are up to 5 years old. The January test date is the last date that you can write the LSAT and still be eligible for admission in September.

The LSAT consists of two portions: a Multiple Choice portion (scored) and an LSAT Writing (formerly called the Writing Sample) (unscored).

If you are a first-time test taker, you should complete your LSAT Writing as close as possible to the date that the Multiple Choice score is released to test takers. Beginning in August 2020, candidates will be required to have a completed writing sample in their LSAC file in order to see their test score or have their score released to law schools.

If you already have a writing sample on file, you do not need to complete LSAT Writing.

What LSAT score do I need to be admitted?

As a matter of policy, we do not set minimum GPA or LSAT requirements. GPA is weighted at 50% and LSAT is weighted at 50%. The ranges of GPAs and LSAT scores that are competitive in any given year are determined by a number of factors. Foremost among them is the quality of the applicant pool. If we receive a large number of applications from people with very high GPAs and LSAT scores, admission in that year is going to be more competitive.

When should I write the LSAT?

Only you can be the judge of that based on the time you have available to prepare for the test. You should write when you are ready. You can determine your readiness by the scores you obtain on multiple practice tests in simulated conditions. We will accept LSAT scores that are up to five years old.

How does UVic Law treat multiple LSAT scores?

We review all scores, but will use the highest score completed within the past five years for admission purposes.

If I take the LSAT after I submit my law school application, will my application be updated with my test score?

Yes, if you write your LSAT after you have submitted your law school application, we will retrieve all eligible LSAT scores and update your application accordingly. You must provide your LSAC number on your application.

What is the last LSAT score accepted for fall admission?

The January score of the year you intend to start law school.

How long is an LSAT test score valid?

Test scores are valid for five years prior to admission.

Should I take an LSAT preparation course?

Many students report multiple benefits from taking a course. Whether you should take a course, and which one, depends on your learning style, the time and resources you have available, what is offered in your region, whether you wish to learn in-class, online, or both, and whether you need more preparation on one area of the test over another.

Are there any free LSAT preparation resources?

The Law School Admission Council partners with Khan Academy to offer free online practice materials for the LSAT. For more information, please visit the LSAC website. Free LSAT prep materials are available for download from the LSAC website, and additional materials can be purchased. Some preparation course vendors also offer some free sample material.


Application review

How many applications do you receive?

We typically receive over 1,000 applications for admission to first-year Law.

How many students attend UVic Law?

About 110 students are enrolled in the first-year program each year. However, with upper-year admissions, exchange students and other program options, we usually have 360 to 380 students enrolled during the academic year. Approximately 59% of the students are women and approximately 20% are visible minorities. Typically, 36% of UVic Law students are from outside of British Columbia.

Are work experience, volunteer work and extracurricular activities considered in the evaluation?

When an applicant is borderline competitive, the admissions committee may consider the applicant's personal statement. If an applicant is borderline-competitive based on their GPA and LSAT score, this assessment may lead to an offer.

It is important to note that these subjective factors will not compensate for an LSAT score or GPA that is significantly lower than the competitive level.

Can I apply even though I still have courses in progress?

Yes. We will do an initial evaluation based on the courses completed at the time of application and will not make a final decision on your file until we receive updated transcripts for the fall courses in progress. You must send your updated fall transcripts to us by the supporting document deadline of March 1.

What are verifiers?

We request all applicants, regardless of the category they are applying under, provide us with the names and contact information for two verifiers. Verifiers are people who could verify the information you have provided in your application/personal statement (with regard to things such as work experience, community involvement, life experience, extra-curricular activities, etc.) They should be people who know you well. Verifiers are not academic references. They are people who know you well.

Verifiers could be employers, a trusted family friend, coach, mentor, your pastor, or someone you have volunteer with or volunteered for - the possibilities are many. We understand one person might not be able to verify everything, which is why we ask for two. Generally, it is best to choose people other than family members as your verifiers.

Are letters of reference required?

We do not consider letters of reference in our regular category.

We do require two letters of reference for our discretionary category, one of which must be an academic reference. The other letter should be a character or employment reference. Your referees should their letters to us by email to lclerk2@uvic.ca.

We also require two letters of reference for our Indigenous category, one of which must fully describe an applicant's connection(s) to the Indigenous community and the second must be an academic reference. Your referees should their letters to us by email to lclerk2@uvic.ca.

The deadline for reference letters is March 1.

How do I submit updated unofficial transcripts (fall grades) and other supporting documentation after I have submitted my application?

Email them to lclerk2@uvic.ca.

When can I expect to be notified if I have been accepted?

We begin evaluating an application when all of the supporting documentation has been received. We begin making offers as early as November to candidates whose files are complete and who clearly meet our admission standards. We maintain what is often referred to as a "rolling" admissions process. Offers of admission are only open for acceptance for a limited period of time.

If the offer is not accepted within the time specified, the place will be offered to another applicant. We anticipate having all our decisions made by mid-May. At that time, we may ask a number of applicants whether they wish to remain on a "waiting list". If places become available, offers may be made to applicants on the waiting list up until the last business day prior to registration day.

May I defer my acceptance to a subsequent year?

Deferral of acceptance will be granted only in exceptional circumstances, such as unique study or work opportunities, or personal or family hardships. You must accept an offer and pay the acceptance deposit before a deferral will be considered. Deferrals are not automatic and are at the discretion of the Admissions Committee. If permission is granted to defer enrolment to the following year, the full acceptance deposit must remain with the faculty.


General information

What is the average class size at UVic Law?

First-year class sizes vary from 25 to 60 students. Upper-year class sizes are 10 to 24 students in seminar courses, and 25 to 50 students in lecture courses.

How Racially/Ethnically Diverse are your students?

Approximately 59% of the students are women and approximately 20% are visible minorities. Typically, 36% of UVic Law students are from outside of British Columbia.

Does UVic Law offer part-time study?

A limited number of positions in the Faculty of Law are available for part-time legal studies. Students must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the faculty that they are unable to attend on a full-time basis because of health reasons, physical disability, exceptional family circumstances or financial hardship.

A request to participate in part-time studies should be made in writing and submitted to the Law Admissions Office once the applicant has been admitted to the faculty.

Please be advised that there is no separate program for part-time students. Part-time students simply take a reduced course load, so their courses may be scheduled throughout the day. In first year, courses are typically scheduled between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. Upper-year courses are scheduled throughout the day, as well as in the evening. Consequently, it is difficult for a part-time student to maintain full-time employment during regular working hours, unless her or his employer is willing to be flexible to accommodate the student's course timetable.

Does the faculty offer any experiential learning opportunities?

There are opportunities for study through the following programs and research centres:

Does the faculty offer any double degree programs?

The Faculty of Law offers the following double degree programs:

Students who apply and are accepted into both the Faculty of Law and the other faculty in question may earn both degrees concurrently in four years, with modified requirements for each.

The law school also offers a joint Common Law/Civil Law Degree (JD/BCL) program for upper level students who have completed their Civil Law Degree in Quebec.

Can I transfer from a Law School outside of Canada?

Applicants coming from a Canadian law school will be given preference over applicants coming from law schools outside of Canada.

We only consider transfer applicants from non-Canadian common law schools who have at least an upper second class standing or a B+ average in their law courses and who are not required to complete a substantial number of our first year courses. Usually, we do not consider non-Canadian transfer applicants until they have completed two full years of study in a common law program. If you are offered admission as a transfer student, you would have to complete a minimum of two full years (29.0 units) at our faculty in order to receive our JD.

What is the approximate cost of textbooks in the first year?

Law students should expect to spend approximately $1,500 per year on texts and course materials.

Does the Faculty of Law offer scholarships?

Accepted applicants are automatically considered for entrance scholarships. There is no separate application form. In the past, these scholarships have ranged between $1,000 and $12,000 and they are awarded to the most qualified students in our applicant pool.

We endeavour to inform the successful scholarship recipients as soon as possible after we have made an offer of admission, but sometimes notification is not made until August or later.

Entrance scholarships in the Faculty of Law are governed by the University of Victoria's General Regulation on Undergraduate Awards mutatis mutandis. The general regulations on entrance scholarships do not apply to the Faculty of Law because our students do not enter the law program immediately after high school or transfer in from another Canadian College or University.

The applicable portions of the Regulation state:

Except where the terms and conditions of an undergraduate award specifically state otherwise, award winners must normally return to UVic in the next Winter Session (Sept - April) and enroll as a full-time student (12 units) to receive the award.

Students who enroll as a full-time student and subsequently withdraw from courses, so that they fall below 12 units, may have the value of their award reduced accordingly if the value of the award exceeds their assessed tuition and fees.

The link to the regulation is:http://registrar.uvic.ca/safa/scholarships/scholarshipregulations.html

Does the faculty offer bursaries?

The Faculty of Law has a sizeable bursary program available for those students with demonstrated financial need and who can show that they have made reasonable efforts to earn income and save for the upcoming academic term(s) during the pre-study period (usually the summer months).

In order to be eligible to receive bursary funding, a student must first apply for a government student loan. Denial of a student loan does not necessarily preclude a student from being considered for bursary funding.

Law bursary applications are available online, starting in early summer. Notices are sent out to students via email in advance of each deadline to remind students to apply and to supply other pertinent information, however students are responsible for ensuring that deadlines are met.

There is only one application form for all bursaries administered by UVic Law. However, students must also apply for a general University of Victoria Undergraduate Bursary to be eligible for a law bursary. Law bursary applications will not be considered if that additional application has not been submitted.

Can the JD program be taken through distance education?

UVic Law does not offer a distance education program leading to a JD, nor do we anticipate that there will be a distance education option at any time in the future. Please see the COVID-19 Response page for information pertaining to program delivery for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Where can I find information about housing in Victoria?

Most law students live off-campus. Popular neighbourhoods are Fernwood, Royal Oak, Gordon Head, James Bay, Fairfield and Downtown. Finding a place on or near a bus route is good if you will not have a vehicle with you. Bus service to the university is quick and convenient from most parts of the city. Many people do bike though.

On-campus housing information is available at UVic Residence Services. JD students are classified as undergraduate students; however, for the purposes of on-campus housing applications ONLY, law students are considered as graduate students. If you apply for on-campus housing, use the graduate application for on-campus housing. You will have access to apartment and cluster style housing.

UVic Residence services also maintains an off-campus housing registry you can check out. You may also want to consider listings on Craigslist, Oodle Listing, or Used Victoria.

The information is provided solely for the convenience of incoming UVic Law students. The Law Faculty does not endorse any of the resources contained in this list and accepts no responsibility for the content of individual websites.


Registering for classes

I have been accepted into first year Law (JD or JD/JID). How do I register for my courses?

You don't! We will register all incoming first year students by the end of August prior to beginning in September.

Still have unanswered questions?

Please review our website at https://www.uvic.ca/law/admissions/index.php. If you have further questions please feel free to contact us at lclerk2@uvic.ca or 250-721-8151.