Graduate Programs

Thesis Based


Students enrolled in the thesis-based LLM program must successfully defend a thesis on a topic selected in consultation with the student’s supervisor and as approved by the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies. The thesis must be a substantial piece of research approximately 80 to 100 pages (20,000 to 25,000 words) in length, inclusive of footnotes or endnotes, exclusive of Bibliography and other material. Deviation from the length requirements may be approved by the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies with the support of the supervisor.

The thesis should reveal that the candidate is able to work in a scholarly manner and is acquainted with the principal works published on the subject. The thesis should be an original contribution to the literature. The student’s objective should be toward the production of work of publishable quality. Each student must present and defend his or her thesis at an oral examination.

Most of a thesis-based LLM student’s time will be spent researching and writing a master’s thesis under the supervision of a faculty member. The relationship between student and supervisor and the independent work of the student form the core of this program.

Course Requirements

In addition, each thesis-based LLM student must successfully complete a minimum of nine course credits including the Graduate Seminar (LAW 696) and two other approved courses. Choice of courses is determined by the student in consultation with his or her supervisor, subject to availability of space and approval of the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies, as necessary. For further information see Graduate Courses. The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research also requires graduate students to complete eight hours of ethics training. For further information see Ethics Training.

Residency Requirement and Program Length

All candidates for the thesis-based LLM must complete at least one academic year (i.e. from September to May) in full-time residence at the University. All formal requirements of the program, with the exception of the thesis, must be completed by the end of the student’s academic year in residence. In exceptional circumstances, the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies may extend the time for the candidate to complete the requirements.

A minimum of twelve months of study is normally required to complete the program, but students may take more time to complete the thesis. It is not uncommon for students to spend up to eighteen months completing the program. Thesis-based LLM students must complete the program requirements within a maximum of four years.

Funding Opportunities

For Faculty of Law, University of Alberta and Canadian external funding opportunities, see Graduate Scholarships.