Candidates in the PhD program must complete the following requirements:
1. One directed reading course
The directed reading course is normally a one-on-one engagement with a faculty member, but may involve more than one faculty member. The area studied must be quite broad, e.g., 'modern legal theory' or 'international legal relations' or 'equality theory'. The syllabus is developed jointly by the student and the faculty member(s). The faculty member(s) and the student meet together once every two weeks for one term. The student then writes a paper which demonstrates a comprehensive and critical appreciation of the field. The paper, at the end of the direct reading course, ideally allows the student not only to reflect on some of the major issues in the field, but also begin to consider where his or her own ideas fit within that landscape. The purpose of the paper is not so much a test of knowledge acquired as an opportunity to engage critically with the field.
2. One area exam
The area exam is a rather more self-directed exercise. It does not involve regular meetings between the faculty member and the student, though episodic meetings are encouraged. The student and the faculty member (who may or may not be the supervisor) agree on a syllabus, and the student independently analyzes the materials. The purpose of the area exam is to ensure mastery of a certain body of knowledge; it may be a body of theory but it may also be a body of law or a combination of the two. The evaluation may be by paper or by take-home exam.
3. Thesis proposal defence
The purpose of the thesis proposal defence is to evaluate whether the proposal discloses a feasible doctoral project. The main concerns are the definition of the issues to be addressed, the theoretical perspectives, the methodology, and a detailed outline of the structure of the thesis. The thesis proposal defence should normally take place at the end of the first year of studies, and not less than one year before submitting the thesis. Failure to successfully defend the thesis proposal may result in dismissal from the program. However, the student may be permitted to repeat the defence within the subsequent twelve months.
4. Course work and other examinations as required by the Graduate Studies Committee
The reference to course work and other examinations is meant principally to cover the graduate seminar, which will be required of any PhD student who has not taken a similar course previously. It is possible that other courses in law or in other faculties may also be required.
All requirements must be completed with no grade below B-. A student who fails to meet this requirement is automatically dropped from the program, but may apply for readmission.