Minimum requirements

Law Students Look On During a Lecture
Law students look on during a lecture

We emphasize that these requirements are simply minimum requirements. Applications that meet these requirements will go through a comprehensive review for academic excellence, academic research capacity, and ability of the candidate to contribute to the graduate program.

LLM applicants

The normal minimum requirements for admission to the LLM degree program are:

  • A Juris Doctor (JD), Bachelor of Laws (LLB), or equivalent law degree from any authorized degree-granting institution (Canadian or international).
  • An average of B (a minimum of 5.0/9.0 GPA) in the final two years of that law degree program.  In practice, however, most of the successful applicants offered admission have a higher GPA of at least a B+ average (a minimum 6.0/9.0 GPA), high Upper 2nd class standing, or equivalent.
  • A thesis proposal and research interests that align with the interdisciplinary Law and Society focus of our program.

Applicants who obtained their law degree from outside of Canada should review the minimum requirements for international applicants here.  If you have concerns about the calculation of your equivalent GPA due to undergraduate grading standards at your law school, you may wish to submit an official document showing your class ranking or ask the dean or another administrator at your institution to submit a supplement to your transcripts.

Applicants who already have or who are in the process of completing an LLM from any institution (Canadian or international) should normally apply to the PhD program.  Applicants who have a law degree and a Master’s degree in a field other than law may choose to apply to the LLM or PhD program. Applicants who have questions in this regard should contact the Graduate Program Director.

PhD applicants

The normal minimum for admission to the PhD degree are:

  • Sufficient undergraduate and graduate educational background in law.
  • An average of A- (7.0 GPA), first class standing, or equivalent in a Master's degree.
  • A dissertation proposal and research interests that align with the interdisciplinary Law and Society focus of our program.

English language proficiency

Applicants to the LLM and PhD programs whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency before the application deadline.

  • If you have a recognized degree from a designated English-speaking country your application will normally be exempted from the language proficiency requirements.
  • If you have a recognized degree from an institution where the language of instruction is exclusively English you may be able to receive a waiver from the Graduate Admissions and Records Office even if the country isn't on the list of designated English-speaking countries.  If your transcript does not state that the language of instruction is English, then you must ask your school to send a supplemental letter.

NOTE: Even if your work experience is in English, you may be required to provide proof of your English language proficiency. If your work experience is within the last three years, visit the Graduate Admissions and Records language proficiency page to confirm if you were living in a country listed as a "designated English-speaking country" and to review all allowable exceptions to the requirement.

Otherwise, you must provide unofficial results of the iBT TOEFL or IELTS test by the application deadline in order to be eligible to receive an offer of admission.  Scores older than two years from the date of planned entry cannot be accepted.  The minimum requirements for the Faculty of Law LLM and PhD admissions are higher than the minimums set by the University of Victoria:

  • The minimum acceptable iBT TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score for acceptance is 100 (with no score of less than 20 on each component of the test).
  • The minimum acceptable IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score is an overall score of at least Band 7.0 with no score of less than 7.0 on each academic component of the test.

Please note that the university only accepts the IELTS Academic test (not Home) as proof of proficiency in English. Duolingo tests are not accepted by the University of Victoria's Faculty of Graduate Studies.