Master's (LL.M) Program - Curriculum

LLM Curriculum

The curriculum in the LLM degree is designed around the thesis. The degree requires the completion of 36 credits, assigned as follows:

  • LLM Seminar: LAW 500 – Current Legal Problems (4 credits)
  • Elective Course work (12 credits)
  • LLM thesis (20 credits)

Students are subject to the minimum grading requirements as set by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. For master’s students, the minimum passing grade is 60% and a student may count no more than 6 credits in 60%-67% range towards their degree. All other credits must be 68% or higher.

LLM Seminar

All students in the LLM program are required to enrol in the LLM seminar. Classes are held once per week through the Winter Session (September-April).

  • LAW 500 – Current Legal Problems (4 credits)

This seminar introduces students to the main conceptual and methodological approaches to the study of law as well as to current trends in legal scholarship. The first term considers the main disciplinary approaches to the study of legal norms, institutions, and systems from both positive and normative perspectives. It also examines and evaluates several standard methodologies used to study law including comparative and interdisciplinary approaches. The main purposes of the first term are: to refine the research question through critical reflection; to develop a literature review; and, to match the selected project with an appropriate and justified methodological approach.

The second term provides students with an opportunity to workshop their research project in a collaborative and constructive forum. Students will receive substantive feedback on chapter or thesis drafts from the instructor as well as from fellow students. Through seminar participation, students will become familiar with giving and receiving critical feedback - skills that are integral to graduate studies. Discussion will also further explore methodological choices, research and writing skills, and writing for publication.


This is a pass/fail course. Assessment is based on seminar participation and presentations, a literature review, a thesis proposal, and work presented in the second term including comments on a colleague’s thesis chapter.

Elective Course Work

Students in the LLM program must complete an additional 12 credits of course work drawn from the graduate or JD curriculum. Most courses are worth three or four credits, meaning most students complete three or four courses in addition to the LLM seminar.

Courses offered by the Allard School of Law operate either on a lecture basis or as seminars or workshops. The usual method of assessment in lecture courses is by single examination at the end of the course. Seminars are generally assessed by means of class participation and research papers. Workshops are assessed in a variety of ways, including class participation and written work. All courses are conducted in English.

Directed Research Projects are independent research projects that are completed for credit under the supervision of a faculty member. Students may enrol in directed research to fulfill part of their 12-credit elective course-work requirement.

Students in the LLM program are not able to enrol in courses in the LLM CL program, including LAW 505 Canadian Public Law, LAW 515 Contractual Obligations and Remedies, and LAW 525 Canadian Criminal Law & Procedure.

Please consult the additional information about courses and timetables, including Course Descriptions, on the law school's website.

Students may also enroll in graduate level courses in other faculties (with permission of the Graduate Program at Allard Hall and the other faculty). However, the major part of the program must be undertaken at Allard Hall.

LLM Thesis

The LLM thesis provides students with an opportunity to conduct a substantial piece of original legal research and make a contribution to their chosen field of law. The thesis is the focal point of the degree and accounts for 20 credits of the 36-credit degree.

A student writes his or her thesis under the supervision of a faculty member of the Allard School of Law on a subject of the student’s choosing. The thesis is evaluated by the supervisor and a second reader. The second reader is usually another faculty member of the law school, but, where appropriate, may also be from faculty at UBC or another university.

An oral examination is not usually part of the evaluation of the thesis, but may be required at the discretion of the Allard School of Law.