Each year, the Graduate Studies Committee admits a select number of students to the doctoral program. Students are selected on the basis of their demonstrated ability to complete a self-directed research project commensurate with the standards of doctoral scholarship and the availability of a suitable Faculty supervisor for their proposed research project.

All completed applications will be reviewed by the Faculty of Law Graduate Studies Committee and then forwarded to potential supervisors. Applicants are not encouraged to contact potential faculty supervisors before applying for admission.


  • LLM Education or Equivalent Degree

    PhD applicants must hold an LLM or equivalent degree from the University of Alberta or an institution recognized by the University of Alberta. On an exceptional basis, students enrolled within the faculty’s LLM program can seek permission from their supervisor and the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee to enrol in the PhD degree program.

  • Competitive Average Minimum

    The minimum grade point average for the graduate program is a 3.0 on the University of Alberta's 4-point scale. However, the competitive GPA for the PhD program usually satisfies or exceeds 3.7 on the international grade equivalent.

  • English Language Proficiency

    Applicants must fulfil one of the following English Language Requirements:

    TOEFL Exam: Total score of 88 with a score of at least 20 on each of the individual skill areas (Internet-based)

    IELTS Academic Exam: Minimum overall band score of 6.5, minimum score on each band 5.5

    PTE Academic Exam: Minimum overall score of 59


  • Transcripts

    Copies of all academic transcripts from all post-secondary institutions in the official language of instruction, accompanied with a translation (if applicable).

    Official hard copies of transcripts, which are to be sealed, stamped and sent from your previous institution, will eventually be required. Further instruction will be given to successful applicants.

  • Resumé

    Chronological resume or curriculum vitae describing your academic history, scholarly achievements, and employment history.

  • Reference Form/Letters

    Three reference forms and letters of recommendation completed and uploaded by referees directly to the online portal.

  • Research Proposal

    Five-to-ten page description of the proposed research project, outlining the relevant legal issues, preliminary arguments, and the proposed research methodology. The proposal should include footnotes and a bibliography highlighting relevant academic sources.

  • Statement of Motivation

    One-to-two page short essay advising the Graduate Studies Committee about:

    • reasons for applying to the PhD program;

    • specific area/s of academic interest;

    • education history and extra-curricular experiences;

    • employment experience;

    • preparation for undertaking advanced legal research and writing, including references to publications, presentations, or conferences; and

    • future career plans.

    A strong “Statement of Motivation” is one that connects areas of interest and career goals, as well as past education and work experience, with the programs offered and the work being done at the University of Alberta. Review Law Faculty experience and research areas.

  • Visa (International Students)

    International students require appropriate visa approvals for admission and study in Canada.

    A PhD does not entitle the holder to practise law in Canada. For information about the accreditation of your foreign law degree, contact the National Committee on Accreditation.


PhD applicants must apply through the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. The online application along with required documentation MUST be received on or before 11:59 PM MST on December 1 of the year prior to admission.

A $100 CAD non-refundable applications fee is required. Payments can be made using a valid credit card only, we accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discovery Card. The application fee is waived for citizens of some countries.

Application Status

Check application status within the online system. Successful applicants will be notified by email when accepted for admission.