Doctor of Philosophy in Law (PhD)

Overview

The PhD in Law is designed to provide advanced training for outstanding graduate students who have already obtained a Master of Laws (LLM) degree or its equivalent. The PhD is a research-intensive degree that prepares graduates for opportunities in law teaching, legal research, policy development, public and governmental service, and the practice of law.

The degree requirements include course work, comprehensive exams, a dissertation proposal and defence, a dissertation, and an oral dissertation exam. Working closely with a supervising faculty member, a student in the PhD program is expected to produce a book-length piece of original legal scholarship and of publishable quality.

The PhD provides an opportunity for focused study in a chosen field of law. It does not, of itself, qualify a holder for entry to the legal profession in British Columbia or any other certification for legal practice.

 
 

Program Enquiries

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Admission Information & Requirements

In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.

Online Application

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

100
25
25
25
25
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications. 

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Law (PhD)
The program will review research interests of applicants and recommend/match faculty members during the application/evaluation process. Applicants should not reach out to faculty members directly.

Document Requirements

Additionally to the required documents please submit:
C.V. or resume
Dissertation Proposal: PhD degrees in the Allard School of Law at UBC are dissertation-based degrees involving original research. Dissertation (PhD) proposals form an important part of the admissions process and help to guide the assignment of supervisors and supervisory committees. A proposal should outline a research project that could reasonably lead to a dissertation that makes an original scholarly contribution in the chosen field of legal study. The PhD dissertation proposal is approximately 10 pages (2,500 words), excluding bibliography. Clarity of expression is important. Please upload your thesis proposal under "Writing Sample".
List of possible thesis supervisors: All applicants must submit a list indicating your first and second choice for a thesis supervisor, this list should be uploaded to your application form. There is no need to secure a thesis supervisor nor is it is necessary to contact potential thesis supervisors prior to submission of an application as many faculty members prefer that applications are referred by the Graduate Committee for their review.

Prior degree requirements

Completion of either an LLB or JD and a Masters degree.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

Research Information

Research Facilities

Allard Hall, the home of the Peter A. Allard School of Law, was opened in 2011. The latest technology connects the Faculty with campuses, courthouses and offices around the world, and a new, state-of-the-art UBC Law Library serves as a vital academic hub for students and the legal community. Natural light, contemporary classroom designs, expanded student service spaces, a student forum space at the centre of the building, and new research spaces are all part of the new facility. The Law Library has a research collection of approximately 225,000 volumes.

Deadline Details

Application Deadline

Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.

Transcript Deadline

Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.

Referee Deadline

Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 December 2020
Transcript Deadline: 01 December 2020
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 December 2020
Transcript Deadline: 01 December 2020
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2020

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$106.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$944.51 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Financial Support

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Teaching and Research Assistantships

Student service appointments are intended to help qualified graduate students meet the cost of their studies at the University. Student appointments may involve part-time duties in teaching, research, or other academic activities.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

24 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 1 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 22 graduates:


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
Thompson Rivers University (2)
University of Victoria (2)
University of Manitoba (2)
University of Calgary (2)
University of Hong Kong
University of Alberta
La Trobe University
University of Macau
University of British Columbia
Institute of Development Studies
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
OneBusinessAsia Group
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Laramie County, Wyoming
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Lawyer (2)
Founder, Chairman
Senior Resolution Manager
Deputy County Attorney
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Law (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

 20192018201720162015
Applications6072533225
Offers76856
New registrations74655
Total enrolment4037434249

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 66.67% based on 33 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 22 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 3.66 years and the maximum time is 8.33 years with an average of 6.16 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 10 March 2020]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 27 October 2019].

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Affolder, Natasha (International Environmental Law, Biodiversity Law, Law and Sustainability)
  • Aloni, Erez (Law, law and sexuality, family law, Contracts)
  • Arbel, Efrat (Law, Refugee Law, Constitutional law, Prison Law and Policy, Tort Law, Legal and Critical Theory, Gender and Law)
  • Bakan, Joel Conrad (Constitutional Law, Legal Theory, Socio-Legal Studies)
  • Benedet, Janine (Penal Law, Labor Standards and Laws, Human Rights and Liberties, Collective Rights, sexual violence against women, prostitution and pornography, sexual harassment in employment and education, sexual abuse of girls)
  • Biukovic, Ljiljana (Adaptation of international legal norms by national governments, the impact of regionalism on multilateral trade negotiations and the development of European Union Law,European union Law, International Trade Law, International Dispute Resolution, E-commerce, Comparative Law )
  • Cheng, Jie (Comparative Constitutional Law, Chinese Law and Governance, Hong Kong and Macau Basic Laws, Land Property Law, Information Law)
  • Christie, Gordon (Legal Theory, and trans-cultural tort law, Aboriginal law, Indigenous legal orders, Indigenous legal theory, Legal Theory and trans-cultural tort law)
  • Cui, Wei (Taxation, Law, Social Organization and Political Systems, tax and development, law and development, tax policy, Chinese legislative system, Chinese administrative law, Law and political economy)
  • Cunliffe, Emma (Women and the law, evidence, experts, courts and media, open justice, pathology and law, criminal law, SIDS, child homicide )
  • Dauvergne, Catherine (Immigration, Immigration Law, Refugee Law, Legal Theory, Globalization)
  • Duff, David (Tax Law Tax Policy Environmental Taxation Charities, Tax law and policy, environmental taxation, comparative and international taxation, and distributive justice)
  • Edinger, Elizabeth (Constitutional Law, Conflicts (Private International Law), Creditor-Debtor Law )
  • Etxabe, Julen (Law and humanities, Legal theory, Constitutional law, international law, Human Rights)
  • Flynn, Alexandra (Municipal Law, Local Governance, property law, Administrative Law, Experiential legal education, Socio-Legal Studies, Law & Cities)
  • Ford, Cristie (Law, Regulation, Social, Economical and Political Impacts of Innovations, Laws, Standards and Regulation Impacts, Administrative Law, Ideological, Political, Economical and Social Environments of Social Transformations, financial regulation, securities regulation, regulation & governance theory, financial innovation and "fintech", legal innovation and "law tech", the legal profession)
  • Ghebremusse, Sara (natural resource governance; development; Human Rights)
  • Goldbach, Toby (Political Culture, Society and Ideology, Procedural Law, Jurisprudence, Dispute Resolution, Comparative Law, Judicial Politics, law and development)
  • Goold, Benjamin (Law, Privacy, security, Criminal Justice, Human Rights, Border Studies, migration)
  • Grant, Isabel (Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Psychiatry and Law)
  • Harris, Douglas (Law, People, Cities and Lands, Urban Spaces and Urbanity, property law, condominium law, legal history)
  • Hastie, Bethany (Labour & Employment Law, Human Rights, Socio-Legal Studies, Access to Justice)
  • Johnston, Darlene (First Nations legal issues, Indigenous legal traditions, canadian aboriginal and treaty rights, law and colonialism, relationship between totemic identity, territoriality and governance)

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Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2019 Dr. Pauer studied carbon tariffs, an environmental policy recommended by many experts but rarely used in practice. Using interviews and case studies in Europe and the USA, he explained the challenges of adopting and implementing this policy. His research contributes to the development of effective government action to address climate change.
2019 Dr. Naef studied the challenges of regulating multinational corporations operating in fragile states. He argued that home states must take steps to control their corporate citizens abroad and showed how traditional readings of international law permit them to avoid doing so. His proposed solution lies in reconsidering customary international law.
2019 Dr. Liu examined the social and environmental performance of Chinese state-owned companies in Kenya. Findings revealed the promises and limitations of China's state-centric corporate social responsibility approach to shape Chinese companies' behaviour overseas. This research contributes to the regulation of sustainable investment in Africa and beyond.
2019 Dr. Mundorff used a wide array of historical materials and legal documents to examine the role played by the concept of "culture" in the original meaning of the Genocide Convention. He argued that current interpretations of the Genocide Convention, which exclude considerations of culture, are legally and historically untenable.
2019 Dr. Bazilli interviewed global women's activists on how transnational feminist movements use international human rights law. Her research illustrates how autonomous women's organizations address violence against women and other rights issues. Her research will be used by feminist activists in the ongoing struggle for gender equality.
2018 Dr. Olyaei employed a feminist legal lens to assess the overemphasis on law and legal reform to realize gender justice. She argued that feminist strategies should critically situate themselves in specific sociopolitical contexts, concluding that feminist theories of global south are vitally important for directing the future of Iranian feminist activism.
2018 Dr. Garcia examined the law and practice of citizen participation in resource allocations in Brazil. Her research offered new data on the workings of participation in health systems. This advances our understanding about the significant role of citizens in ensuring accountable resource allocations that both improve access and support population health.
2018 Dr. Prebble studied criminal offenses that overlap with one another, asking when that overlap contributes to the problem of there being too much criminal law. Using gendered violence case studies, she found that some specific criminal offences are justified because they give a name to distinct gendered harms that would otherwise not be fully recongised by the criminal law.
2018 The Nansen Initiative was an intergovernmental process that addressed the challenges of cross-border disaster and climate change displacement. Dr. Okeowo examined the Protection Agenda of the Initiative and argued that it has the tendency to regulate the behaviour of states on the recognition and protection of cross-border disaster-displaced persons.
2018 Parody is traditionally understood as the use of existing work to mock or evoke humour. Dr. Lai examined whether parodies infringe on copyright laws. She further defined the scope of protection that copyright law should provide for the right to parody and applied it to several jurisdictions in order to bring their copyright jurisprudences in line with their traditions of free speech.

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September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 December 2020
International Applicant Deadline
01 December 2020
 

Supervisor Search

 

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