Research LLM

Osgoode’s Research LLM is a full-time, research-intensive program that is ideal for students who want to pursue a specific area of legal study in depth, including those who are considering a PhD. Students conduct their research under the supervision of an Osgoode faculty member.

Program Requirements

  • Graduate Seminar I: Legal Research (GS LAW 6610)
  • One study group
  • Elective courses
  • A major written research work (thesis or major research paper)

The Graduate Seminar is the core course for the Graduate Program in Law. Designed to complement other courses, the seminar provides a venue for developing critical assessments of the law and facilitating students’ progress on their own research, papers and dissertation proposals. The seminar also provides students with an intellectual community and introduces them to Osgoode research resources.

One Study Group

Students participating in study groups read and discuss a significant number of articles with their groups each week. The groups are not structured as courses but as venues for reflection and discourse. LLM students must participate in one study group. They can choose among five options, depending on their research interests:

  • Regulation and Governance
  • Law and Economic Relations
  • Theoretical Perspectives in Legal Research
  • Law and Social Justice
  • Law in a Global Context

Elective Courses

Research LLM students can fulfil their elective courses through:

  • a variety of graduate courses in law
  • integrated courses with the JD program
  • independent study
  • courses in other programs

Major Written Research Work

A major paper is at the core of the Research LLM program. Most students complete a thesis, but students may also choose to submit a major research paper and complete additional coursework.

All theses and major research papers should contain an analysis of scholarship on the student’s chosen topic and the results of the student’s research – based on primary sources – in the form of a sustained argument. They should have standard scholarly apparatus, footnotes and a bibliography, prepared in accordance with the McGill Guide to Legal Citations.

Thesis Option

Major Research Paper (MRP) Option


100-125 pages

60-70 pages

Additional elective courses required to complete the LLM



Evaluation and defence

Students must succeed in an oral defence of their thesis before an examination committee.

MRPs are evaluated by the student’s supervisor and by one other member of the Graduate Program chosen by the supervisor in consultation with the Graduate Program Director. In exceptional circumstances, the second examiner may be a member of another Graduate Program at York University or another university.

Additional notes

Some students choose to fulfill the program’s thesis requirement with a Portfolio Thesis: one or two published articles (depending on length and scope) developed during their time in the Osgoode graduate degree, submitted in lieu of a traditional thesis.

The MRP is an original piece of scholarly work equivalent to an article of publishable quality for a reputable law journal. It’s typically more substantial than a research paper for a regular course, but less substantial than a thesis.

Additional Courses

Students entering the Research LLM without an LLB or JD may be required to take additional courses on the advice of their supervisor. Completing this extra coursework during their program can be helpful to students whose research relates to fields of law in which they do not have extensive background. The Graduate Program Director determines whether students must pursue additional courses in order to fulfill the requirements of the LLM.

Time to Completion

Both the Thesis and MRP options should be completed in three or four terms. Generally, students take courses in the fall and winter terms, conduct their research in the winter term and write the Thesis or MRP in the summer term. Graduate students must register in each term (fall, winter, summer) from the start of their program to completion.

Residency Requirement

Students must be located such that they are able to progress on all program requirements requiring geographical availability on campus.

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