Master of Laws (Common Law) Program - FAQ

Dates and Deadlines


What is the difference between the September start date and the May start date? Which one do I choose?

The May start date is for those applicants who are trained in civil law or religious law and have no common law experience. We do not accept applications from non-common law trained students for the September start date. Applicants who have training in common law, such as those who have completed a law degree in the United Kingdom or the US, are welcome to apply to either the May or September start dates.

When can I apply? What is the application deadline?

Application opening and deadlines can be found on the program’s Admission Requirement and the How to Apply websites.


What needs to be in by the deadline?

All applicant-supplied documents must be uploaded to the online application, the application fee must be paid, and the application formally submitted by the deadline. You can still add documents to your submitted application up to the deadline.   


Do you accept late documents?

No. Without exception we accept no late documents. The Graduate Committee will not consider incomplete applications for admission to the program.


Is there a later deadline for references?

The deadline for references is around 2 weeks after the applicant’s document deadline.  The deadlines can be found on the program’s Admission Requirement and the How to Apply websites. Please note that the Allard School of Law will be closed for Winter break the final week of December; no one will be available to answer questions until we return the first week of January when classes are back in session.


Does the references deadline refer to a post-marked date or an actual deadline?

The Graduate Program must receive all letters of reference by the indicated deadline, whether submitted to the online system, or by hard copy to our office. Please submit everything early so you can be sure that your referees have ample time to send your references in.


Courses and Programs

I don’t want to take all 30 credits – just my NCA courses. Is that an option?

No. To complete the program you must take all 30 credits, including the LLMCL program requirements and mandatory courses. There is no option for to only take the NCA courses you require as it would prevent you from meeting the LLM CL program requirements. If you only want to take a few courses to complete your NCA requirements, please take a look at our Distance Learning Courses which you can take individually outside of a degree program.


Do you offer correspondence, distance or internet courses?

Yes! LLM CL students have the option of taking 2 distance learning courses as part of their LLM CL degree. Students are not able to take more than 2. If you want a fully online education experience you should take our distance education courses on their own. Please note that Allard Law does not offer an online degree, only individual courses.


How many courses do I take during the program?

The program is 30 credits. Most courses are anywhere from 3 – 5 credits each. Generally, students take 3 courses a term or 10 – 13 credits a term.


What is considered a full course load?

A full course load is 3 course a term or 10 – 12 credits a term depending on the courses taken and the amount of time involved in the course. Generally, for each credit students are expected to have 1 hour of class and 3 hours of course work (readings, studying, and review) each week. So for a 10 credit course load you would be in class 10 hours a week and have 30 hours of course work to complete each week.



Application Process

I am an international applicant. Do you accept international students?

Yes, we accept applicants from many different countries. Approximately 50% of the student body in the LLM CL program are international students. 


Are admission requirements the same if I am an international student?

Yes. Please review our admission requirements here:

Do you offer conditional admission to the LLM CL program?

We ONLY offer conditional admission for those students in the last year of their law degree. In that case the offer of admission is conditional on successful completion of the first law degree and based on the in-progress transcripts submitted with the application. We do not offer conditional admission for any other reason.


If I send you some or all of my application materials in advance, can you tell me whether or not I'm likely to be accepted into the LLM CL Program?

No. We cannot tell interested candidates if they are likely to be accepted into the program outside of the formal application process. All complete applications will be reviewed on their individual merit in the formal application period.

Where can I find a paper application form?

We do not offer paper application forms anymore. Applications are completed online via Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' website.

What factors do the admissions committee look at?

The Graduate Committee look at each application holistically. They take into account all factors concerning a student’s application including their CV, GPA, Statement of Intent, References and English language test (if required).


What does a successful LLM CL applicant look like?

We accept a wide variety of students into the LLM CL program. Typically, successful applicants have a number of strong factors in their application including excellent academics, a strong statement of intent, and strong letters of references.


One factor of my application is below the minimum standards – will I still be able to be apply?

Yes. All applications are reviewed holistically and all application documents are taken into account. Typically, applicants who are accepted exceed our minimum standards for GPA. However, if an applicant has a lower GPA from their first law degree but other outstanding aspects of their application then those will be taken into consideration by the Graduate Committee.


I wasn’t accepted last year – what can I do to improve my application?

There can be many reasons that someone is not accepted into the program. The most common reasons are not meeting the English language requirement or not having a completed application. Other ways to improve are: more work/volunteer/extracurricular experience in law on your CV, a better statement of intent and/or stronger references.


Application Trouble Shooting


I am experiencing difficulty uploading my documents. What can I do?

Make sure the your file is one of the acceptable file types for uploading documents and the file size is smaller than the maximum allowable file size.  File size cannot exceed 10MB. Preferred file format: PDF but can upload: BMP, DOC, DOCX, GIF, JPEG, JPG, RTF, TXT. To allow our system to process your documents, please ensure that your files are not locked via a password or PDF Document Assembly restrictions. 

What is a student number?

Your student number is an 8 digit number that will be emailed to you when you first submit your application. It is the same as your application number. It does not begin with three zeros. Please include your student number in all correspondence with the law school as it is the most accurate way to track your application and answer your questions promptly.


Can I get my documents back?

Documents submitted in support of applications become the property of the University and may not be returned to the applicant or student.

Applicants are discouraged from sending irreplaceable documents and are advised to follow the instructions for verified copies at the following website:  


I only have one copy of my transcript – what do I do?

Please see Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies process for transcripts here:


What is the difference between an acceptable transcript and an unacceptable transcript?

Acceptable documents must be PDF scans of an official transcript uploaded to the application system.  These must:

  • Be issued on the institution’s official transcript paper
  • Have the seal of the issuing institution
  • Contain the issuing institution’s marking guide.
  • Include the degree conferral (if conferred).  If not mentioned on the transcript, then you must upload a scanned PDF of your degree to accompany the transcript.

Unacceptable documents include, but are not limited to the following:

  • confirmation of enrolment letters,
  • printouts of student marks or course results,
  • "unofficial" documents
  • Emailed transcripts
  • Individual images of the transcript submitted in a jpeg, tiff, png or other image format. 


How do I change a referee on my application?

You can change each referee one time in the application system.  You can do this under the “Manage References” tab of the My Application website once the application has been formally submitted.  Please contact the program if you would like to add a fourth referee.  We will have to enable that within the system.  You will get an email to submit the contact information for the referee. 


When can I expect a response?

If you applied for the May start date we start sending out admission offers early in the new year. For the September start date we will begin sending out offer letters in Spring, starting in Febraury or March depending on the number of applications we receive.  


Can you confirm my application is complete and everything is acceptable?

Please allow at least 4 weeks for us to update the status of your application documents in the system. You can monitor the status of your application documents by logging into the My Applications website.  Due to the number of applications, the Graduate Program is unable to confirm the receipt of individual hard copy documents sent by mail.


What is the waitlist?

The wait list is those students who meet our requirements for admission but there is not currently a place in the program to offer them. The waitlist is ranked and you can ask for your position from the Director, Graduate Professional Programs. Generally, there is little movement on the waitlist and only a few students end up declining our offer of admission.


I applied to the program in a previous application cycle.  Do I need to resubmit all the documents if I reapply?

Yes. The only documents that we are able to carry over to your new application would be acceptable scans of official transcripts that were completed at the time of your initial submission.  Please contact the program directly if you have questions about your previously submitted documents being transferred to the current application once you have submitted the application. 


Can I request an interview with the Associate Dean/ Director?

No. We do not offer interviews for admission. If the Associate Dean or the Graduate Committee needs further information from you regarding your application you will be contacted via email.


Is the program competitive?

Yes.  Each year we get over 200 applications and offer anywhere from 25 – 30 spots for admission.



I do not have a first law degree. Can I apply for the LLM CL Program?

No. You must have a first law degree to apply.

I'm still completing law school. Can I apply to the LLM CL Program prior to graduation?

Yes. Any offer of admission would be conditional on the successful completion of your law degree. You will need to upload a scanned copy of your official in-progress transcript to your application.

I completed my law degree via distance education. Am I eligible to apply for the LLM CL Program?

Yes. Please note that the National Committee of Accreditation will generally require you to complete 2 years of an in person program to become accredited with all mandatory and core subjects to be completed in a in-person format.  We currently offer Property Law and Tort Law only through online learning which will not satisfy the NCA's in-person requirement. Please check with the NCA directly to find out what they will require of you.


Does your faculty give preference to Canadian Citizens?

No, the faculty does not give preference to Canadian Citizens, but seeks to achieve a diverse community from Canada and around the world.



My law school uses a different grading scale than the one used by UBC. How can I determine whether or not I meet UBC's minimum academic requirements for the LLM CL Program?

UBC's Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website sets out the minimum academic requirements by country. Simply select the country in which you went to law school from the drop-down menu. The Graduate Committee evaluates your transcripts based on the marking guide from the institution itself – the reason we require a marking guide to accompany the official transcript. 

Do I need to write the LSAT?

No, you do not need to write the LSAT.


English language requirements


English is my second language. Do I need to write an English language proficiency exam to apply to the LLM CL Program?

The requirement for demonstrating English language proficiency is connected to the language of instruction at an applicant's post-secondary institution, not the applicant's first language. If English was the primary language of instruction in the entire university, then you do not need to write an English language proficiency exam; however, if English was not the primary language of instruction, then you need to demonstrate sufficient English language proficiency through one of the approved exams (TOEFL, IELTS or GCE). Details on the LLM CL Program's required minimum test scores for these exams can be found on the Admission Requirements page as well as the How to Apply page.


My first degree (law degree) was completed in English, how do I prove that?

If you can prove that your first degree was completed in English, we will waive the TOEFL/IELTS requirement. You can either ask the registrar from your university to provide a letter attesting that English is the medium of instruction in the entire university, or ask one of your referees to indicate this in their reference letter.

I want to apply, but I can’t take my English Language Proficiency test until after the application deadline – Can I still apply and submit my test score later?

No. The English Language proficiency results are considered part of the required documents and must be submitted before the document deadline.  Failure to submit results will likely mean your application is incomplete and will not be considered for admission.


I do not meet the minimum English language requirements – can I still be admitted?

Generally no. While your English exam score is only one of the requirements that is assessed in your application, it is crucial to have a high enough level of English to succeed in the program. As a result, applicants who do not meet the English minimum requirements are most of the time not successful. The LLCL program is a highly rigorous one year legal program and we are looking to set our students up to succeed. This is why we require a certain level of English for admission and why we do not offer deferred admission on the basis of English language. If you do not have an IELTS or TOFEL test that meets our minimum standard, it is recommended that you wait to apply until you meet our minimum requirements.


Do you have deferred or conditional admission for English language?

No, we do not offer a means of conditional admission for English Language.  Applicants who attend or complete intensive English language training, such as UBC’s English Language Institute, are still required to provide an English language proficiency result that meets the minimum requirements.


I do not meet the minimum English language requirements BUT I am fluent in English and do not want to take a test – can I apply for a waiver for that requirement?

Waiver requests for the English language requirement are rarely granted, and only done so in exceptional cases where an applicant has had extensive professional and educational experiences in a country where English is the primary language. Applying for a waiver will require an applicant submit extra documentation in support of their request to the application, as well as a potential interview with a member of the Graduate Committee to determine your level English in relation to the expectations in the program.

A waiver can only be granted by the Graduate Committee after careful review of a completed application. If the request is denied, your application will be deemed incomplete if it is missing a required English language proficiency test result. The Graduate Program is unable to evaluate any waiver related documents outside of the formal evaluation period. 

If you are interested in applying for a waiver, please email the program directly here.



What is the NCA?

The National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) is the body charged with determining the additional qualifications required for foreign-trained lawyers to practice law in Canada. It is run by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, independent from Canadian universities. Contact information and details on the accreditation process can be found on the NCA's website.

How does the NCA relate to the LLM CL Program?

If you obtained your law degree outside of Canada and wish to practice law in Canada, then you must apply to the NCA to have your education and work experience assessed. In its assessment, the NCA will determine what additional training you require in order to be eligible to practice law in Canada. The LLM CL Program has been designed in consultation with the NCA to help students demonstrate competency in those subjects where the NCA commonly requires additional training. As an LLM CL student, you would be able to select courses offered by the Allard School of Law to help you meet the NCA's requirements while you also complete a master's degree.

Must I apply to the NCA for an assessment prior to applying for or starting the LLM CL Program?

No. The LLM CL Program is designed to provide students with a thorough foundation in Canadian common law whether they wish to practice law in Canada or not. However, if you plan to practice law in Canada, then applying to the NCA before the start of the LLM CL Program is helpful because you will know which subjects the NCA requires of you and you can select courses accordingly.


Practical Questions


What is the structure of the program?

The program has two start dates; May and September, and is 12 months in length. There are three terms in that period. Fall term is September – December, spring term is January to April and summer term is May to August. Students will take anywhere from 10 – 15 credits of course work each term for a minimum total of 30 credits. It is possible to take more credits than 30. Generally, students are on campus a minimum of 3 days a week, while most have classes on 4 days of the week. Classes are scheduled primarily between 9am and 5pm. We offer a limited number of classes in the evening.

What is the cost of tuition?

Tuition is assessed on a per-credit basis, and the program’s minimum required credits to graduate is 30 credits. We maintain up-to-date tuition figures at the LLM CL Tuition website.


When is tuition due?

Tuition is due in installments for each term. The first term installment is due in the beginning of September.


Are there scholarships available?

Award information is available on our Graduate Funding & Awards, Course-Based Programs page.


Can I defer my admission?

Deferral can be granted by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies where extenuating circumstance prevent a student from attending the LLMCL in the year they were admitted for. You can only defer once and a deferral is given for a maximum of 12 months.



I'm planning to complete a PhD in Law. Should I apply for the research-based LLM or the LLM CL Program?

The PhD program at the Allard School of Law looks for applicants to have completed a thesis-based Master’s program, or a Master’s program with a substantial research component to demonstrate the applicant’s research abilities.  It is advised that prospective students looking to go on to further study in law at the doctoral level complete a thesis-based LLM degree, and not the course-based LLM CL degree.