Admissions: Graduate Research

Application Process and Requirements

This page describes the process for applying to the Research LLM and PhD degrees. Students interested in the Professional LLM Programs should visit Osgoode Professional Development.

Admission to the Research LLM and PhD degrees is competitive and not all applicants are successful. The following factors are considered in the evaluation of applications:

  • The applicant’s complete academic record, including grades and scholarly awards. An average of B or higher is typical in successful applications.
  • Merits of the applicant’s research proposal outline.
  • Research capacities and potential as demonstrated by previous academic writing and qualifications.
  • Quality and strength of letters of reference.
  • Alignment of proposed research outline with faculty’s interest and capacity for supervision. Read more about faculty research advisors.

The Research LLM does not qualify students to practise law in Canada. Students interested in practising law should review the licencing rules of the Law Society of the province in which they intend to practice.

Applicants Without a Law Degree

We expect most applicants to the Research LLM program to hold an LLB or JD. Most applicants to our PhD program have already completed an LLM.

A limited number of places in the LLM and PhD programs are available to candidates who have outstanding academic records but do not hold an academic degree in law. Such students have typically completed a graduate degree in another discipline, as well as studies related to law. Students entering the Research LLM program who do not have an LLB or JD must complete the non-credit course Introduction to Graduate Legal Studies. They may also be required to take additional courses on the advice of their supervisor and at the discretion of the Graduate Program Director.

Application Requirements

The Research LLM and PhD degrees require the same application documents, all in PDF format.

  • Transcripts
  • Writing sample
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Statement of interest (research proposal)
  • Supplemental Information Form (SIF)

1. Transcripts

Academic transcripts are required from each post-secondary institution attended, regardless of whether a degree was granted. This includes transcripts from institutions attended while on an exchange program or similar arrangement. In the first phase of the application, unofficial transcripts are acceptable. Official transcripts are required for final admission into the program.

2. Writing Sample

Applicants must submit a writing sample of between 5,000 and 10,000 words. Suitable samples include academic papers written for a university course or seminar, or work published in scholarly publications. Work prepared in the area of law or a closely related field is preferred. Applicants should choose work that demonstrates their analytic skill and writing ability.

3. Two Letters of Recommendation

The application for admission requires the names and contact information for two referees. Referees will be contacted via email and asked to complete a York University Reference Form. Applicants should select referees who are familiar with their academic achievements and strengths in law or a related discipline. At least one referee should be an academic or someone in a position to evaluate the applicant’s potential for success in research-intensive academic work.

4. Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Applicants must submit a resume or CV that provides details of their academic, extracurricular and professional activities. Three to four pages is a typical length.

5. Statement of Interest (Research Proposal)

This is the most important component of the application. Applicants must submit a brief thesis proposal that details a research question, proposed methodology and theoretical orientation. The proposal should indicate the body of scholarship the student wishes to engage with in their research, and a bibliography or reference list. The statement should also include five keywords or short phrases that best describe the proposed area of research. The length of the statement should be two to three pages for Research LLM applicants and five to six pages for PhD applicants.

6. Supplementary Information Form (SIF)

The SIF asks for additional information that will assist the Graduate Program in Law in determining the applicant’s research compatibility with a prospective supervisor, as well as eligibility for any Osgoode financial awards (scholarships and fellowships). Before completing this form, applicants should review Osgoode’s full-time faculty profiles. The SIF is available here. After completing the form, save it as a PDF document and upload it along with your other application components.

7. Proof of English-Language Proficiency (where applicable)

Such proof is required if the applicant does not either live in an English-speaking jurisdiction or hold a degree for which the language of instruction was English. Applicants can provide proof in the form of scores on one of several recognized English proficiency examinations, including the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the YELT (York English Language Test). Minimum requirements are listed here.

More Detail:

Submitting Your Application

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Funding and Fees

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