Admission & Requirements
Apply as a JD student to the Schulich School of Law
We're glad you are interested in a legal career and in studying with us at the Schulich School of Law. As Canada's national law school, we welcome students from every province and territory, and this gives our community a range of perspectives not available in many law school settings. Your JD degree from Dalhousie will be recognized for Bar admission in all provinces nationwide.
How to apply
All Dalhousie professional programs, including law, have a separate application process and require previous university study for admission. Students are admitted to classes as regular or part-time undergraduates in law, as occasional students, or as graduate students. It's your responsibility to ensure that all materials relevant to your application are received by the Admissions Committee by the required deadlines.
|Step 1||Take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).
Students applying for admission are required to submit results of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), a service of the Law School Admission Council. The test is offered several times a year across Canada and the U.S., usually in July, September, November, January, March and June. LSATs written after February will not be considered for positions in the class starting in September of that year.
|Step 2||Complete the online application form, which includes your personal statement.
Any student seeking admission to the law school must complete the online application and submit supporting documentation by Feb. 28th, 11:59pm AT. Applicants who wish to be considered for entrance scholarships must file these applications by Nov. 30th, 11:59pm AT.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all materials relevant to the application are received by the Admissions Committee.
|Step 3||Pay your application fee.
An application fee ($70), which is non-refundable, must accompany each application.
Submit academic transcripts and letters of reference.
Please note: Dalhousie undergraduate transcripts do not need to be requested from the Registrar's Office.
Submit academic transcripts and letters of reference to the Schulich School of Law Admissions Office, Dalhousie University, PO Box 15000, Halifax NS, B3H 4R2 by Feb. 28. Applicants who wish to be considered for entrance scholarships must file transcripts and letters of reference by Nov. 30. Please note: Referee statements can be submitted directly from referees via academic/professional email accounts to email@example.com.
Official transcripts for institutions attended outside of North America are to be submitted via WES.org. WES.org will translate grades to a North American grading scheme so that they can be used in your academic assessment.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all materials relevant to the application are received by the Admissions Committee.
|Feb. 28||You must have completed your application (subject to filing LSAT scores, the current year's academic transcript, and letters of reference) by end of day on Feb. 28, Atlantic time.|
|January, February, March, April, June, July, September, October, November||The LSAT is administered nine times a year at designated testing centres. If you have written after the February sitting of the LSAT, you will not be considered for a position in the class starting that year in September. We will only consider LSATs written within the last five years.|
|Sept. 1||If you have failed first year law and are applying for readmission in the year immediately following the failure, you must do so by Sept. 1.
|Nov. 30||All completed applications received by end of day on Nov. 30 will be given early consideration for admission and entrance scholarships. Please note: completion of the entrance scholarship application is required for consideration for some named scholarships.|
In assessing applications, emphasis is placed primarily on an applicant's academic record and LSAT score. The Admissions Committee also considers non-academic experience, letters of reference, and other factors in making its decisions. Interviews by the Admissions Committee of applicants with significant non-academic experience may be held at the discretion of the Committee. Interviews will normally take place in May or June.
The Admissions Committee may consider applications as soon as they are received or it may postpone consideration of some or all applications until June, during which all final decisions are made. A non-refundable deposit of up to $500 is required to hold a place in the law program. All prepaid deposits are applied to the first installment due for tuition fees. Prospective applicants should confirm from the faculty that this information has not been changed.
Frequently asked questions
Does the Schulich School of Law offer a “discretionary” or “accessible” application category?
While the Schulich School of Law does not have a dedicated application category for discretionary cases, the Admissions Committee looks at applicants as individuals and takes any and all documentation of special circumstances, conditions, situations, accommodations and/or experience into consideration during the assessment process.
The Schulich School of Law is committed to diversity in legal education and in the legal profession. We strive to admit a first-year class of students that is enriched by a wide range of background and experiences. And applicants are encouraged to use their personal statement to speak to their individual stories.
What are the average accepted GPA and LSAT scores?
In recent years, the average GPA of our incoming class has been a 3.7 on Dalhousie’s 4.3 scale. The average LSAT has been 161-164.
However, while academics are an important part of a candidate’s application, the Admissions Committee strives to assess each individual holistically, taking into consideration any special circumstances, accommodations, situations and/or experiences. Applicants are strongly encouraged to speak to any such circumstance in their personal statement.
What should I include in my personal statement?
Your personal statement is an important aspect of your application as it is the only place where the Admissions Committee hear your voice and your story directly. It is where you can convey everything you feel the Admissions Committee should know about you and your unique circumstances to be able to make the most informed decision on your application.
Special attention is paid to aspects of the personal statement pertaining to exceptional experiences, special circumstances, as well as characteristics that are underrepresented in the Schulich School of Law’s study body and the legal profession at large.
There is a suggested limit of 1200 words.
How can I check the status of my application?
Once your application has been submitted, you can log back into the online application to check the status of your application and receipt of your supporting documents. Please allow 2-3 weeks after submitting your application for all the information to be updated. Please also note that we will continue to update all supporting documents on the system as they are received.
How will my undergraduate exchange semester/year be used in my assessment?
If you attended an exchange institution outside of North America during your undergraduate degree, and the marks do not appear on your home institution’s transcripts, we require you to submit the exchange transcript via WES.org. Otherwise, we are unable to use the marks in your GPA calculation. We require official transcripts from all institutions attended.
Am I required to have academic references for my application and who may provide the reference?
Applicants who have been in university within three years of applying are required to submit two academic references. If you are unable to secure two academic references, you may submit an addendum to the admissions committee letting them know why and you may provide a non-academic reference as your second reference. Please note that all applicants are more than welcome to submit more than two references, and any additional reference may be either academic or non-academic in nature.
An academic reference should be from someone that knows how you perform in an academic environment (i.e. professor or advisor).
How is the application process different for international applicants?
The admissions requirements are the same for international and Canadian applicants (citizens and permanent residents). All applicants are required to complete the LSAT. Because the LSAT has a built in English comprehension component, we do not require international applicants to take any other English test.
If you attended a university outside of North America, we require those transcripts to be sent via the World Education Service. This service will translate the marks into a grading system that we can use for GPA calculation and academic assessment. You may find more information about this transcript conversion service at: https://www.wes.org/
I already have a law degree from another country, do I need a Canadian law degree to practice law in Canada?
The first step is to contact the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA). The NCA will review your current legal qualifications and will determine if further legal education and/or testing is required. In some cases, it is possible to meet the requirements by completing a year of law classes and/or taking qualifying exams. You can find more information on how to obtain an assessment on the NCA website: https://nca.legal/.
The Admissions Committee at the Schulich School of Law may admit applicants as regular candidates for the JD degree if they meet the following qualifications:
a) The applicant must have received, with standing satisfactory to the Admissions Committee, the degree of Bachelor of Arts, Science, or Commerce or an equivalent degree from Dalhousie University or from another degree-granting college or university recognized by Senate.
b) An applicant with no degree within rule (a) must have completed, with standing satisfactory to the Admissions Committee, at least three full years of studies after junior matriculation or two full years after senior matriculation of a course leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts, Science, or Commerce or an equivalent degree at Dalhousie or at another degree-granting college or university recognized by Senate. Normally, this means that the applicant is within one year of receiving a degree in the undergraduate program followed. For the purposes of this rule, junior matriculation means Nova Scotia Grade 11 or equivalent and senior matriculation means Nova Scotia Grade 12 or equivalent.
Special status applicants
An applicant who is considered as a regular applicant may also be considered as a special status applicant if the application indicates a significant amount of non-academic involvement to which the Admissions Committee is prepared to give special consideration.
A special status applicant is a person not less than 25 years of age who has had at least five years of experience in a significant employment capacity or in a significant community activity.
A special status applicant must submit a personal statement and should arrange to have additional reference statements forwarded to the Admissions Committee from individuals familiar with the applicant's non-academic experience.
In all other respects, special status applicants must meet the same requirements as regular applicants.
Where the applicant has not met the foregoing formal educational requirements, the Admissions Committee may, in very exceptional circumstances, admit a limited number of applicants as mature students where it is of the opinion that, in all of the circumstances, the applicant has demonstrated by the length and quality of non-academic experience the equivalent in substance of the formal education specified for regular applicants.
Mature applicants must be 26 years of age on or before Sept. 1 of the year for which they seek admission to law school. Mature applicants are also required to write the Law School Admissions Test, to have an interview with the Admissions Committee, and to submit to the Committee a detailed resumé of their non-academic experience along with letters of assessment from individuals who are familiar with their contributions and achievements. The Committee is particularly interested in gathering information with respect to the candidates' ability to organize their life and their work in order to cope with the demands of law school, their ability to reason and analyze, their ability to express themselves orally and in writing, and their potential for contribution to the community.
Generally, the Committee requires, as a minimum, an accumulation of five or more years of experience in a candidate's particular field of endeavour.
Candidates are strongly encouraged to successfully complete some university-level courses before applying.
Applicants to the Indigenous Black and Mi'kmaq Initiative
The Indigenous Blacks & Mi'kmaq (IB&M) Initiative was established in 1989 to reduce structural and systemic discrimination by increasing the representation of Indigenous Blacks and Mi'kmaq in the legal profession.
The Initiative involves:
- community outreach and recruiting
- a holistic approach to assessing applicants
- limited financial support, based on need, for students who meet the definitions of "Indigenous Black" and "Mi'kmaq" set out below
- the facilitation of Aboriginal and African Canadian legal scholarship
- the provision of academic support, upon request
- the provision of career placement support
The primary focus of the IB&M Initiative is on students who are either:
- Indigenous Black Nova Scotians; that is, individuals who are Black and
- were born or raised in Nova Scotia or
- have a substantial connection with a Black community in Nova Scotia, or
- Mi'kmaq; that is, individuals who are Mi'kmaq and were born or raised Mi'kma’ki or
- have a substantial connection with a Mi'kmaw community
The IB&M Initiative places the admission of African Nova Scotian and Mi'kmaq students as its priority; however, other Black and Aboriginal students are also urged to apply to the Schulich School of Law.
If in any given year all qualified Indigenous Black and Mi'kmaq students have been admitted and there are still spaces available through the IB&M category, the Admissions Committee may decide to admit Black students who are not indigenous to Nova Scotia and Aboriginal students who are not Mi'kmaq.
It is recommended that all students who apply for admission through the IB&M Initiative have completed a university degree or at least 10 university credits prior to admission. A limited number of mature students may be admitted, where it is determined that the applicant has demonstrated that the length and quality of his or her non-academic experience is equivalent in substance to the formal academic education required of other applicants.
The application form for the IB&M Initiative is the same as the application form for all students applying to the Schulich School of Law, and IB&M applicants are required to write the LSAT. Applicants should indicate their desire to be considered for admission through the IB&M category on the Law School Application Form and in their personal statement. The Admissions Committee reviews all applications and determines which applicants should be interviewed.
Pre-Law is a four-week course for qualified IB&M applicants, usually offered during the month of May. The focus of Pre-Law is to provide an intensive introduction to the legal research, reasoning, and writing skills critical to success at law school. Pre-Law also evaluates students for admissions purposes. Students in Pre-Law must successfully complete the course in order to attend the Schulich School of Law.
Partial funding for tuition, books, and housing may be available for Indigenous Black and Mi'kmaq students on the basis of need. Students who do not meet the definition of Indigenous Black or Mi'kmaq as set out above are not eligible for funding from the IB&M Initiative; however, all students may apply for general bursary assistance from the Schulich School of Law.
Those native Aboriginal applicants who are not eligible for the Indigenous Black and Mi'kmaq Initiative, and whose previous academic background does not meet the admissions standards, are eligible to apply for admission to the Faculty of Law through successful completion of the Program of Legal Studies for Native People at the University of Saskatchewan, College of Law. Application forms and further information are available online or by mail from:
Director of the Program of Legal Studies for Native People
Native Law Centre
University of Saskatchewan
Room 160 Law Building
15 Campus Drive
Saskatoon SK S7N 5A6
A flexible way to earn your JD
Sometimes, the realities of life's demands (employment, families, caregiving) needs a flexible approach to education. We offer a part-time degree taken over seven years instead of the full-time, three-year program. You can complete your degree by completing your first year full-time, with the rest of your courses spread over the six following years OR by doing first year half-time over two years and completing the rest of the degree over five years. The faculty encourages part-time students, wherever possible, to do their first year on a full-time basis.
|Option 1: Full-time first year||
As a part-time student, you can take your first-year program on a full-time basis, then apply to be admitted to the part-time program for the remainder of your JD studies.
After first year, students in the part-time program are required to complete a minimum of 58 hours over a maximum of six academic years, with a minimum class load of eight hours in each academic year. Part-time students must complete at least one optional class involving a major written paper in each 29-hour block over the period of part-time study.
Students who enter the program after completing their first and second years on a full-time basis are required to complete their minimum of 29 hours over a maximum of three academic years, with a minimum class load of eight hours in each academic year.
|Option 2: Half-time first year||
Part-time students who choose to do first year on a half-time basis are required to complete 17 hours of the first-year program in their first year, completing Contracts and Judicial Decision-Making, Tort Law and Damage Compensation, Fundamentals of Public Law, and Legal Research and Writing.
The remaining 15 hours of the first year program consisting of Property in its Historical Perspective, Criminal Justice: the Individual and the State, and Orientation to Law must be completed in the second year.
After first year, students in the part-time program are required to complete a minimum of 58 hours over a maximum of five academic years, with a minimum class load of eight hours in each academic year. Part-time students must complete at least one optional class involving a major written paper in each 29-hour block over the period of part-time study.
Please note that the regulations requiring that students successfully complete the work of second year before advancing to third year apply to part-time as well as full-time students.
|How to apply as a part-time student||
In addition to completing the regular admissions package, students interested in pursuing a part-time JD at Dalhousie should submit a brief written statement outlining your reasons for seeking admission to the part-time program and indicating whether you wish to do first year on a full-time or half-time basis.
This statement should be in addition to the Personal Statement that forms part of your regular application. Admission to the Part-time Program is limited. Not all students who meet the standards for acceptance to the JD program will be permitted to do the degree on a part-time basis. You should note that, in considering whether to admit an applicant into the Part-time Studies Program, the Committee in its discretion will give special consideration to factors such as family responsibilities, financial hardship, employment commitments, and health problems. Note that students in the part-time program take a reduced number of courses, but those courses are offered with the regular full-time students. No special evening classes are offered.
Students already accepted into the full-time JD who wish to enter the part-time program should send an email supplying the information requested above to:
This may be sent along with your confirmation of acceptance and your deposit.
If you are interested in the part-time program, you should contact the law society of any province where you might want to practice law to confirm that a part-time JD from Dalhousie meets individual law society requirements.
Combined degree students
Entry requirements for combined degrees
To be admitted to our combined degree programs , you must satisfy the entrance requirements of both our JD program and the other program (MBA/MHA/MLI/MPA) and you must apply individually to both the Schulich School of Law and the other program.
Read specific entry requirements for:
Would you like to study with us?
We welcome students from all across the country. If you are interested in studying with us and are currently a student of another Canadian law school who satisfies the standards for admission to our JD program, please speak with our Associate Dean, Academic about transferring to the Schulich School of Law. You must be in good standing where your previous studies have been undertaken, the work you've completed must be satisfactory to the Law School Studies Committee, and the classes to be completed for a JD degree must be able to be arranged.
To qualify for a degree, you must complete two full years at Dalhousie. Well-qualified graduates of a Quebec law school may be admitted into a special one-year program.
Questions? Please get in touch
Associate Dean, Academic
Professor Michael Deturbide
Would you like to spend a term with us?
Subject to Dalhousie University and Schulich School of Law regulations, a professional in law or a related field may be admitted as an occasional student to attend one or two classes maximum.
- Attendance or performance in classes or any examinations is not credited for degree qualifications.
- As a general rule, occasional students are not permitted to attend first-year law classes.
- Those wishing to be admitted as occasional students should apply to the Law School Studies Committee.
- Undergraduate students may not take courses at the law school.
- Graduate students may, in certain circumstances, be permitted by the Faculty of Law to take a law course and should contact the Associate Dean, Academic to enquire.
Questions? Please get in touch
Associate Dean, Academic
Professor Michael Deturbide