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Admission & Requirements

Apply as a JD student to the Schulich School of Law

We're glad you are interested in a career in law 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 nation-wide.

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.

Application checklist

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 US, usually in October, December, February, and June. LSATs written in June 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 for the first time must complete the online application and personal statement by February 28. Applicants who wish to be considered for entrance scholarships must file these applications by November 30.

For more details on the application process and scholarships, download our application fact sheet [PDF - 73 KB].

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 not refunded, must accompany each application.
Step 4

Submit academic transcripts and letters of reference.

Download the supplemental forms: Referee [PDF - 137 KB] and medical statements [PDF - 570 KB].

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 February 28. Applicants who wish to be considered for entrance scholarships must file transcripts and letters of reference by November 30.  Please note: referee statements can be submitted directly from referees via academic/professional email accounts to law.admissions@dal.ca.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all materials relevant to the application are received by the Admissions Committee.

Important dates

February 28 You must have completed your application (subject to filing LSAT scores, the current year's academic transcript, and letters of reference) by February 28.
February, June, October, December The LSAT is administered four times a year at designated testing centres. If you have written the June 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.
September 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 September 1. 
November 30 All completed applications received by November 30 will be given early consideration for admission and all entrance scholarships

Admissions policy

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. A non-refundable deposit of $200 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


Admission categories

Regular applicants

The Admissions Committee of 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' 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 XI or equivalent and senior matriculation means Nova Scotia Grade XII 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 twenty-five years of age who has had at least five years' 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 persons familiar with the applicant's non-academic experience.

In all other respects, Special Status Applicants must meet the same requirements as Regular Applicants.

Mature 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 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 twenty-six years of age on or before September 1st 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 resume of their non-academic experience along with letters of assessment from persons 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; and
  • 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 ten 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 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

The Pre-Law Course 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, and students in Pre-Law must successfully complete the course in order to attend the Schulich School of Law.

Funding

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.

Aboriginal applicants

Those nativeaboriginal 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


Admission requirements

Part-time students

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 usual 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 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, and 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 8 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 completion of 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 8 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 programme 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 which 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 write a letter supplying the information requested above and send it to:

Ms Rose Godfrey
Director of Admissions
Schulich School of Law
Dalhousie University
6061 University Avenue
PO BOX 15000
Halifax, NS B3H 4H9

This letter 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/MJ/MLIS/MPA) and you must apply individually to both the Schulich School of Law and the other program.

Read specific entry requirements for:

Transfer students

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 Assistant 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

t:   902-494-1041
e:   associatedeanlaw@dal.ca

Visiting students

Would you like to spend a term with us?

Subject to University and Law School regulations, a professional in law or a related field may be admitted as an occasional student to attend one or two classes at the most.

  • 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 at the Law School and should contact the Associate Dean, Academic to enquire.

Questions? Please get in touch

Associate Dean, Academic
Professor Michael Deturbide

t:   902-494-1041
e:  michael.deturbide@dal.ca