Canadian Immigration Updates

Applicants to master’s and doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details

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

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

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. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

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:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 100

Reading

25

Writing

25

Speaking

25

Listening

25

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.0

Reading

7.0

Writing

7.0

Speaking

7.0

Listening

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.

Prior degree, course and other requirements

Prior Degree Requirements

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

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.

2) Meet Deadlines

Application open dates and deadlines for an upcoming intake have not yet been configured in the admissions system. Please check back later.

3) Prepare Application

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.

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 thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis 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.

Citizenship Verification

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

4) Apply Online

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

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.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,515.71$9,690.18
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* 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

From September 2024 all full-time students in UBC-Vancouver PhD programs will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 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 $24,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 20 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research, academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $31,941.
  • 1 student received Teaching Assistantships valued at $1,054.
  • 2 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 2 students was $6,313.
  • 10 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 10 students was $4,505.
  • 20 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 20 students was $20,705.
  • 8 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 8 students was $20,750.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
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.

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

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 Estimator

Applicants have access to the cost estimator 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

 20232022202120202019
Applications5457724163
Offers76777
New Registrations35757
Total Enrolment4040404140

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 69% based on 27 students admitted between 2011 - 2014. Based on 12 graduations between 2020 - 2023 the minimum time to completion is 4.78 years and the maximum time is 13.32 years with an average of 7.1 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. 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.

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Monday, 9 September 2024 - 9:00am

Temitope Onifade
Hybrid Regulation of Low-Carbon Economics

Research Supervisors

Supervision

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

Instructions regarding thesis 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.
 
 

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 and legal practice; Law; Contracts; family law; law and sexuality)
  • Arbel, Efrat (Law and legal practice; Law; Constitutional law; Gender and Law; Legal and Critical Theory; Prison Law and Policy; Refugee Law; Tort Law)
  • Bakan, Joel Conrad (Constitutional Law, Legal Theory, Socio-Legal Studies)
  • Benedet, Janine (Law and legal practice; Penal Law; Labor Standards and Laws; Human Rights and Liberties, Collective Rights; prostitution and pornography; sexual abuse of girls; sexual harassment in employment and education; sexual violence against women)
  • Beswick, Samuel Peter (Private law; Common law; Comparative law; Torts, private obligations and product liability law; Legal theory, jurisprudence and legal interpretation; Law; Law and time; Limitations; Remedies; Tort Law; Restitution and unjust enrichment; Public authority liability)
  • Bhandar, Brenna (Law and legal practice; property law)
  • 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)
  • Clifford, Robert (Aboriginal and Indigenous law)
  • Cui, Wei (Law and legal practice; Taxation; Law; Social Organization and Political Systems; Chinese administrative law; Chinese legislative system; law and development; Law and political economy; tax and development; tax policy)
  • 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)
  • Etxabe, Julen (Law and society; Literature and critical theory; History and philosophy of law and justice; Law and humanities; Legal Theory and Jurisprudence; Human Rights; Political Theory; Law and literature; Cultural Studies)
  • Flynn, Alexandra (Law and society; Municipal Law; Local Governance; property law; Administrative Law; Experiential legal education; Socio-Legal Studies; Law & Cities)
  • Ford, Cristie (Law and legal practice; 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 innovation and fintech; financial regulation; Legal innovation and law tech; regulation & governance theory; securities regulation; the legal profession; Innovation and the law)
  • Goldbach, Toby Susan (Law and legal practice; Political Culture, Society and Ideology; Procedural Law; Jurisprudence; Comparative Law; Dispute Resolution; Judicial Politics; law and development)
  • Goold, Benjamin (Law and legal practice; Law; Border Studies; Criminal Justice; Human Rights; migration; Privacy; security)
  • Gordon, Sara (Law and legal practice; Intersection of psychology and mental health with the criminal justice system; Criminal law and criminal justice; Health law and policy; Legal methodology and interdisciplinary approaches)
  • Grant, Isabel (Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Psychiatry and Law)
  • Harris, Douglas (Property law (except intellectual property law); Canadian history; property law; condominium law; legal history; Law & Cities)
  • Hastie, Bethany (Labour & Employment Law, Human Rights, Socio-Legal Studies, Access to Justice)

Pages

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
2024 Dr. Odionu's research focused on innovative international investment law reform approaches emerging from Africa. Drawing on those approaches, he developed a Global South-oriented reform framework that integrates foreign investment, sustainable development, and climate action. His findings present implications for the fight against climate change.
2023 Dr. Leslie examined how the Canadian federal government implements mortgage securitization in Canada. He found that the government provides support to banks and investors and takes risks affecting the Canadian public without meaningful public oversight. His research will assist in developing sound housing finance policy going forward.
2023 Dr. Nosek showed how corporations have leveraged a multi-pronged strategy to simultaneously expand their reach over public discourse on climate change while undermining important checks on influence over discourse, like public protest and government enforcement actions for false and misleading speech.
2022 Dr. Bateman examined the decision of the Roman Emperor Constantine to legislate Bishops into the role of judges in the Roman state. He argues that Constantine did this because of his first hand experience with bishops sitting on a panel of judges with them, and due to the fact the emperor wanted to rid the Roman courts of corruption.
2022 Dr. Maharaj's work examines the law on mitigation of damages for breach of contract by establishing a robust framework that explains how the doctrine applies, why it applies, when it applies, and what it actually demands of contracting parties in practice. It will benefit judges, legal counsels, and the wider scholarly community in private law.
2022 Dr. Ponomarenko studied the requirements the government must meet to justify a limitation of a Charter right. Currently, there is no judicial consensus on when these requirements must be strict and when they can be relaxed. Her dissertation examines this undertheorized body of jurisprudence and provides it with a principled theoretical basis.
2022 Dr. Aikenhead examined the Canadian criminal justice response to technology-facilitated intimate partner violence (TFIPV) through a review of recent case law. She identified concerns and gaps in the legal response from a feminist perspective. Her proposed legislative and policy reforms will assist victims of TFIPV in accessing justice.
2022 The law of negligence claims to deter accidental wrongdoers from causing harm. The mixed doctrinal and qualitative research in this dissertation suggest that in the law of negligence in Canada, deterrence is largely illusory. Potential wrongdoers are so well protected by liability insurance that there is little inclination to avoid causing harm.
2021 Dr. Sankey studied legal processes developed by Squamish Nation for land use planning and environmental assessment of natural gas projects. Her research finds that in developing policy aimed at reconciliation, Canadian governments will learn much by shifting their focus away from principles of consultation defined by Canadian courts, toward processes for achieving consent established by Indigenous nations.
2021 Dr. Dzah studied how Africa influences and is influenced by the concept of sustainable development. He argued that ethics and customary and Indigenous norms can revitalise the legal dimensions of this concept. He proposed ecological law as a new way to theorise and implement sustainable development and to reorganise links between society and nature.

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