Required Courses & Bar Admission

Juris Doctor (JD)

Our JD program is designed to train students in those qualities which distinguish the educated lawyer, whether engaged in the practice of law, in government service or elsewhere.

Among the qualities stressed are an understanding of the process of ensuring order in a complex and evolving society, precision of thought, an appreciation of the use of the English language in writing and speaking, thoroughness, and the avoidance of superficiality.

The regular program requires the full-time attendance of students. In the first year all subjects are prescribed; in second and third year most subjects are optional. Second and third-year students must complete between 29-31 credit hours, including a major paper writing requirement, each year.


Length of program

The full-time program extends over three academic years, from September to May. A student who has failed the work of a year may, subject to the limitations of space, be readmitted, but the program must be completed in four academic years. Any academic session in which a student has registered and has not formally withdrawn by the date of the first fall term examination constitutes an academic year. Where a student establishes, to the satisfaction of the Committee on Studies, that for medical or personal reasons, ability to pursue the class was significantly hampered, the Committee on Studies may rule that a student has not used up one of the four academic years.

Scope of work

The policy of maintaining fairly small classes reflects the nature of teaching at the law school. Classes are conducted by the case method or otherwise but with emphasis upon discussion between teacher and students, based upon assigned materials and topics that students are expected to have considered in advance. Research and written assignments are required of all students. These may involve substantial time in addition to regular class periods. The work submitted is carefully examined and then critically assessed by the teacher and, whenever possible, a detailed criticism is provided. In addition to class and writing requirements all students are required to participate in mooting exercises.

Bar admission

Nova Scotia

Under the Rules and Regulations of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, a student seeking admission to the Bar of Nova Scotia must serve under articles of clerkship with a practising solicitor for a period of twelve consecutive months after receiving a degree in Law from Dalhousie or any other approved University. Students are also required to complete the Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP). Please contact the NSBS for more information on this requirement. Students who complete a period of articles in another province may apply to the Credentials Committee of the Barristers' Society for credit towards the twelve-month requirement.

Other provinces

In other provinces of Canada where the common law system is in effect the degree of JD from Dalhousie is recognized as fulfilling academic qualifications and as preparation for practical training for admission to the Bar. Information concerning particular elective classes recommended by the law society of a Province for inclusion in a student's class of studies is available from the Career Development Office.

Provincial Bar Requirements

Each province in Canada has different requirements for admission to the Bar. See the Career Development Office website for more information on Provincial Bar Requirements.