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Policies & Regulations

Faculty of Law Policies and Regulations

Arriving late to join the LLM program

Students are expected to be in Halifax in time for full participation in the first day of classes. In exceptional circumstances, with prior approval of the Associate Dean Graduate Studies, a student may arrive as late as the official add/drop date.

The final registration deadline (add/drop date) is usually around the 4th week of September. Please check the Faculty of Graduate Studies website for 2017-18 deadline.

Carrel space

The Graduate Studies program will normally provide carrel space for new LLM students and PhD candidates for their exclusive use. Students use the assigned carrel space as a privilege, which may be forfeited if conditions of use are violated. Students are deemed to have accepted the terms of this policy on accepting the key to the assigned carrel. Carrel space is normally provided for students for the following duration:

  • Coursework LLM students: from 15 September of the inception year until spring convocation in the following year
  • Thesis LLM students: from 15 September of the inception year until the deadline for submission of completed thesis to FGS in the following year
  • PhD students: from 15 September or 15 January, depending on enrolment date, and for a
    period of two calendar years.

Continuing students are not entitled to carrel space outside the above periods. However, the Graduate Studies program may extend tenure of a carrel space for a limited period, only when that space is available and to enable the student to complete the thesis within a reasonable time.

Continuing students on leave or not in residing in Halifax must clear out their carrel and return the key to the secretary of the Graduate Studies program when their leave starts or when they leave Halifax.

Conditions of use
Use of carrel space is intended to assist LLM and PhD students in their pursuit of the requirements of the degree for which they enrolled. They are expected to use the assigned carrel space with due regard to users of other carrels.

Carrel space is allocated against signature and a refundable deposit. Students are required to take good care of the carrel key. Loss of the key will result in forfeiture of the

Lengthy conversations should be undertaken outside the carrel area.

While visitors for short periods and on an occasional basis are permitted, it is the responsibility of the student host to accompany them in the carrel space and to ensure that they observe the conditions of use.

Students are not permitted to store or consume food items in their carrel space. The graduate lounge is available for this purpose. Covered drinks may be taken to the 'carrel space.

Cell phones should be configured to vibrate when in the carrel space area. Lengthy calls should be taken outside the carrel space area.

Music, while permitted, should only be listened to with earphones.

Smoking is prohibited within all university buildings.

The University has a campus-wide scent-free environment policy.

Waste bins are available in the hallway of the carrel space area and waste separation containers are also available right next to the elevator. The cleaning staff have access to the hallway but not to the carrels. Garbage disposal and cleanliness within a carrel space is the sole responsibility of the carrel holder.

On termination of the tenure of carrel space, students are responsible for removing all personal materials and for tidying the space before they vacate the carrel. Carrel keys should be returned to the Graduate Studies Office, and failure of which will result in forfeiture of the deposit.

Dalhousie University does not assume any responsibility for the safety of personal belongings left in the carrels.

Paper requirements

A. Paper requirements
Coursework students must do three “longer papers” and two “shorter papers”, in addition to the graduate seminar.

Thesis students must do two “shorter papers”, in addition to the graduate seminar.

The philosophy behind these requirements is that the minimum “production standards” for students in both streams are comparable. Three “longer papers” (3 x 40 = 120) plus two “shorter papers” (2 x 25) equals 170 pages for coursework students, or, at 50 pages per “longer paper”, 200 pages. A thesis is expected to be around 150 pages; with two “shorter papers” that amounts to about 200 pages for thesis students.

B. “Longer paper”/”Shorter paper” declaration forms
Students taking the Coursework LLM must complete a “Longer paper”/ “Shorter paper” Declaration Form for each course being taken. A copy of each form must be provided to the course instructor and the Administrative Secretary (Graduate Studies) by September 30 for Fall courses and January 31 for Winter courses.

C. Modes of evaluation
Graduate students must write substantial papers in all courses in which they are enrolled, regardless of the form of evaluation used for JD students in the same course. Instructors may include other elements in their evaluation of graduate students, such as class participation marks, marks for class presentations, reaction papers and the like, but the aggregate of such elements is not to exceed 25% of the final mark. In other words, the paper must count for at least 75% of the evaluation in the course. Instructors seeking to depart from this weighting must seek the permission of the Graduate Studies Committee.

Please note that there is no requirement that instructors offer additional elements of evaluation for graduate students. A 100% paper is fine. The policy is only setting a ceiling, not a floor, with regard to non-paper elements of the evaluation.

D. Length of papers
“Longer papers” are normally 40-50 pages in length. “Shorter papers” are normally 25-30 pages in length. Note that while the 40 and 25 page indicators are minimum requirements, the 50 and 30 page indicators are not meant to be maximum limits, though an instructor may impose maximum limits in an individual course.

E. Standards for papers
All papers (whether “longer” or “shorter”) written by graduate students are to be marked in accordance with the “Major Paper Guidelines”. The qualitative standard is the same for “shorter” and “longer” papers. A purely descriptive paper with little or inadequate analysis no more meets the minimum standard for a “shorter paper” than for a “longer paper”. Obviously the depth of research effort need not be quite as extensive for a “shorter paper” as for a “longer paper”, and issues cannot be explored quite as thoroughly as in a “longer paper”. But high quality analysis and reflection is the expected performance standard for both “shorter” and “longer papers”. All papers are to be written in accordance with the standards of intellectual honesty common to the rest of the University.   

F. Marking Scale
In all courses, graduate students must receive a mark of "B-" in order to pass. A student may only pass the year if he or she has maintained a mark of B- in all courses.

Faculty of Graduate Studies will only accept the following as designating marks for Graduate Students: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, and F. While only letter grades are submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies, it may be necessary to provide numerical equivalents for the purpose of calculating averages. It is also helpful to have a uniform system of numerical equivalents for ensuring comparability of graduate students and undergraduates where both categories of student are taking the same Law School class. Instructors should utilize the following system of numerical equivalents to letter grades for graduate students in the Law School to achieve the aforementioned objectives.

A+ 90 and above
A 85-89
A- 80-84
B+ 77-79
B 73-76
B- 70-72
F Below 70

G. Paper Deadlines
In courses where JD and LLM students are all writing papers, the deadline need not be the same for both sets of students. In particular, the deadline for LLM students can be later than for JD students.


Dalhousie University expects all students to be responsible learners.

All students must read the University policies and regulations on plagiarism and academic honesty. Learn more about Dal's regulations regarding plagiarism from the University Secretariat's site on Academic Integrity.

The law school's policy on plagiarism

Any exam submitted by a student at the Schulich School of Law may be checked for originality to confirm that the student has not plagiarized from other sources. Plagiarism is considered a serious academic offence which may lead to loss of credit, suspension or expulsion from the law school, or even revocation of a degree. It is essential that there be correct attribution of authorities from which facts and opinions have been derived.

Prior to submitting any paper or other assignment, students should read and familiarize themselves with the policies referred to above and should consult with the instructor if they have any questions.

Ignorance of the policies on plagiarism will not excuse any violation of those policies.

Re‐use of material by graduate students

As a general principle, material written for a course by a graduate student should rarely be re‐used in the thesis. The requirements of both individual courses and the thesis itself call for the work produced to be an original piece of scholarship: simply put, the same written material cannot be original twice.

This is not to say that graduate students cannot explore the same issues in both a paper for a course and in the thesis: indeed, it is likely that this will happen. However, the topics should be different enough that a student is exploring separate aspects of a topic in the two pieces of work, or in the thesis is expanding and developing an analysis which was first undertaken in a paper. In either case it would be necessary to be writing something fresh.

This is not to say that there are no circumstances in which the same text could appear in two different works. A paper might, for example, have contained a short overview which does nothing more than set out another author’s opinion, summarize the effect of a piece of legislation, or otherwise simply describe something. In that event it would be formalistic to insist on the student re‐writing a new factual
description for the thesis.

Any re‐use should be with the prior knowledge of the thesis supervisor, who must be shown the original work and told why re‐using the same material is appropriate. Second, a limited amount of such material can be re‐used. It should be rare to see more than three consecutive pages of re‐used material, and reused material ought not to amount in total to more than 10% of the thesis. If a supervisor feels that
there are exceptional reasons to depart from this guideline, she/he should consult with the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at as early a point as possible. This same rule applies to a thesis prepared for a different degree (e.g., a doctoral student using material from his/her LLM thesis).

Materials produced for a doctoral area exam or thesis proposal defence are exempted from the “three consecutive pages” and 10% rules. However, the requirement that the supervisor approve the re‐use will apply.

Thesis length

An LLM thesis should be 125-150 pages (double-spaced including references but not bibliography) unless otherwise approved by the Graduate Studies Committee.

A PhD thesis should 300-400 pages (double-spaced and including references but not bibliography) unless otherwise approved by the Graduate Studies Committee.

Transfer to PhD without completing the LLM

In exceptional cases, a student already registered in the thesis-based LLM program at the Schulich School of Law may be allowed to transfer into the PhD program without first completing his or her LLM. Such applications will be considered where the applicant:

a) has completed all course work associated with the LLM and has received no grade lower than A-;

b) has demonstrated the ability to produce work of publishable quality, which will normally require that he or she has had more than one paper published or accepted for publication in a reputable journal; and

c) complies with all other requirements for applying for entry into the PhD program, including submission of a suitable thesis proposal.

Any such application must be made within the first five terms after initial registration, and must be made prior to the term in which the transfer is to take effect. Transfer into the PhD program is not automatic upon meeting these criteria, but the Graduate Studies Committee will consider applications where they are met.

Travel and research funding

Conference funding requests
To apply for conference funding, submit a letter to the Graduate Studies Committee along with notification of acceptance to speak at the conference or, in exceptional circumstances to participate in the conference, and a letter of support from your supervisor. In your letter, explain the link between the conference presentation and your current research. You must also confirm that you have also applied for Faculty of Graduate Studies funding and have provided a budget justification.

Research funding requests
To apply for research funding, submit a letter to the Graduate Studies Committee along with a letter from your supervisor/mentor, explaining why the expenditures are necessary for your research and providing a budget justification. Your supervisor/mentor must confirm necessity.

Funding limits:

  • For speaking at conferences: LLM and PhD students, $500 maximum per student, max one award per student per year, must have applied for FGS funding.
  • For research: only PhD students, $1000 maximum per student, max one award per student per year, must have applied for FGS funding, must be necessary for thesis.


Faculty of Graduate Studies Policies and Regulations

Review the Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations within the graduate academic calendar.