PhD program

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 are expected to 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 opening assembly for Faculty of Law. 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.

The  will contact you to set a time to meet with the graduate program director.

Supervisory committee

You will have three supervisory committee members, two from law and one from another discipline.  Law and Society PhD supervisory committees can follow one of two structures: co-supervisory or supervisory/member. The level of responsibility and participation for each role within these structures is outlined in the Graduate Program Handbook.

The law supervisor or co-supervisor plays a leading role on issues of form and administration.  All committee members have input into the development of your dissertation, but members may hold more specialized role within the committee: advising on certain aspects of the dissertation and serving as a resource person without as intense an involvement.

Your law supervisor is usually chosen during the application process, but no later than the end of September. Your additional committee members are chosen in consultation with your law supervisor. It is your responsibility to approach potential committee members.

It is important to have these roles determined and responsibilities established early
in a student's program to avoid confusion by all parties, and submit the supervisory committee structure form.  You should establish and maintain regular contact with all committee members.  

Course requirements

  • LAW 501: Graduate Seminar in Law and Society (1.5 units)
  • LAW 502: Graduate Seminar in Applied Legal Methodology (1.5 units)
  • Two additional courses (3.0 units) - may be an upper-year law undergraduate course, law graduate course, and/or graduate-level course in another discipline.
  • LAW 693: PhD Candidacy Examination (3.0 units)
  • LAW 699: PhD Dissertation (21.0-36.0 units)

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 into LAW 693 or LAW 699.

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 program coordinator will email the form to you and two of your supervisory committee members for completion during the fall term.


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, the Faculty of Graduate Studies can issue letters confirming that you have completed the requirements.