The Common Law Section is pleased to offer some of the most exciting programs of study available anywhere, helping students acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to uphold the rule of law and the values of the Charter. Our objective is to provide a full service legal education, complemented by areas of specialization that reflect our faculty strengths and our location in the National Capital.
As a professional program, the Common Law Section prepares students for entrance to the practice of law or other careers in the public and private sectors where a legal education is required or beneficial. As an academic program, the Section is committed to providing students with intellectual development consistent with their strong academic background. These professional and intellectual objectives are achieved in a manner which is mindful of the privilege and power often accorded to lawyers in our society.
Our programs concentrate on more than just the letter of the law; we address the spirit of the law and the ideal of justice. In our view, it is the duty of the program to respect and promote the full range of diversity reflecting the multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-racial characteristics of the women and men in our programs and in Canadian society. Our students are Canada’s future leaders.
At the Common Law Section, we offer a wide variety of programs:
- JD Program - For those who have already completed their undergraduate studies and wish to study only Common Law
- JD Combined Programs - For those who have already completed their undergraduate studies and wish to study Common Law in conjunction with another advanced degree.
- JD and LLL Together (Jointly or Consecutively)- For those who wish to obtain both a Common Law degree and a Civil Law degree.
- Undergraduate Program Options - For those who have not yet begun their undergraduate studies and wish to study Common Law in conjunction with their undergraduate studies.
We provide a comprehensive common law education for those intending to enter the practice of law, government service or any career in which knowledge of legal principles and legal process is necessary or desirable.
The English Common Law Program is open to anglophone and bilingual applicants, and the French Common Law Program is open to francophone and bilingual applicants. Applicants to the French Common Law Program may be asked to take a French language proficiency test at a cost of $115, billed to the applicant.
If you are enrolled in the English Common Law Program, you are welcome to take some courses offered in French. If you are enrolled in the French Common Law Program, you are welcome to take some courses offered in English.
The English Common Law Program is our largest program, with an incoming class of 280 entering students each year. This program trains students for legal practice in any Common Law jurisdiction in Canada. Students may choose to take some of their upper-year electives in French.
The French Common Law Program is one of only a few programs of its type in the world. It is designed to respond to the needs of Franco-Ontarians for both French legal education and legal services, and also to give Francophones from other provinces the opportunity to study in French. This program has a class size of 80 students. Students may choose to take up to 25% of their upper-year electives in English.
Note: The French Common Law program does not result in eligibility to write the Quebec bar exam. If you are interested in writing the Quebec bar exam, review our Civil Law program.
For those who have already completed their undergraduate studies and wish to study Common Law in conjunction with another field
The Common Law Section of the University of Ottawa and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) at Carleton University offer a combined 4-year program resulting in a JD degree and an Master of Arts in International Affairs.
The program is designed for students with a strong interest in international law and relations, as it provides an excellent basis for a career in government or the private sector, or for advanced studies in international affairs and international law.
By pursuing the 2 degrees jointly, you have the opportunity to combine your research interests in law and international relations. You are also able to tap into the extensive work on international affairs and law conducted at our National Capital region institutions.
This 4-year combined program represents a compressed period of study, allowing you to obtain both degrees more quickly than if you completed the degrees sequentially.
Students enrolled in this joint program also reduce their net credit load by 3 University of Ottawa credits and 2 Carleton half-courses, as compared with a student completing the JD and MA separately.
In addition to submitting your application to our Faculty of Law through OLSAS, you are required to apply to NPSIA at Carleton University. If you do not apply to Carleton University, you will not be considered for this combined program. To enroll in the combined JD/MA program, you must be admitted to both NPSIA and the Faculty of Law.
The deadline to submit your application for the MA program with NPSIA is January 31, 2022.
Contact the NPSIA directly for more information on their application process and assessment criteria.
The Common Law Section offers a combined JD/MBA program in partnership with the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa. The JD/MBA program is designed to be completed within 4 years.
The Faculty of Law and the School of Management make admission decisions jointly. Successful applicants are first admitted to the JD portion of the program and must then apply to the Telfer School of Management in the first year of their legal studies.
You must hold a baccalaureate degree with at least an “A-” cumulative grade point average (GPA) and satisfy the admission requirements of both programs.
Note: The 3-year professional experience requirement of the MBA program may be waived if you are an exceptional student, provided you complete at least 1 year in the Law program and rank in the top 50% of your class prior to starting the MBA requirement of the joint program.
In addition to submitting your application to our Faculty of Law through OLSAS, you are required to apply to the Telfer School of Management. If you do not apply to the Telfer School of Management, you will not be considered for the combined program. To enroll in the combined JD/MBA program, you must be admitted to both the Telfer School of Management and the Faculty of Law. Contact the Telfer School of Management directly for more information on their application process and assessment criteria.
This unique four-year dual credential program is designed for those seeking training in Canadian and American legal systems. Students spend two years at uOttawa and two years at one of two U.S. law schools: Michigan State University College of Law in East Lansing, Michigan or American University (Washington College of Law) in Washington D.C. Upon completion, students obtain a law degree from each law school, which opens the door to the full practice of law in the U.S. and Canada.
This program option is available to students who are already enrolled in the Faculty of Common Law, and will not be listed as an OLSAS program selection. For information on how to apply, please review Applying to the Canadian and American Dual JD Program.
Knowledge of both legal systems helps to ensure access to national and international markets in an era of globalization.
A graduate with training in both of Canada’s legal systems can become licensed to practice law anywhere in Canada. They also gain the knowledge to work internationally and are well suited for the federal public service.
If you wish to obtain a Civil Law degree and a Common Law degree, you have 2 options to choose from:
In this 3-year combined program, you will learn Common Law and Civil Law concurrently. There are only 20 positions available in this stream, which includes several courses designed specifically for Programme de droit canadien students. Please review the Programme de droit Canadien homepage.
Note: This combined program is offered in French only. A high-level of proficiency in French is expected and you must be fluent enough to understand lectures and readings in French, and to write examinations and legal papers in French.
This is an accelerated course of study for students who already hold a Civil Law Degree from a Canadian university. Students are expected to have a high level of proficiency in both French and English, as the program is bilingual.
You can apply to the National Program after completing a civil law degree or during the final year of your civil law studies. For more information, please review the National Program homepage and review How to Apply.
Note: If you completed your LLL at the University of Ottawa’s Section de Droit Civil, you must apply by using the university’s internal application form in uoZone.
(Our Civil Law Section offers a parallel program for Common Law graduates who wish to obtain an LLL degree in an accelerated timeframe.)
Undergraduate Program Options
For those who have not yet begun their undergraduate studies and wish to study Common Law in conjunction with their undergraduate studies
The combined Political Science and French Juris Doctor program provides an opportunity for students who have been admitted to the Faculty of Social Sciences to complete all the requirements of both programs in a period of six (6) years, obtaining two separate degrees at the end of their studies: a Bachelor of Social Sciences (with or without mention of the immersion program for anglophones) and a Juris Doctor (JD). Admission is run at the undergraduate level, not by the Faculty of Law. This program is offered only in French.
The integrated Commercial Sciences and French Juris Doctor program allows lawyers and those interested in Management to understand the issues and analyses from these two complementary disciplinary fields. This combined program allows students to complete all of the requirements of both programs within a period of six years, en route to obtaining two separate degrees at the end of their studies: a Bachelor of Commerce (with or without mention of the immersion program for anglophones) and a Juris Doctor (JD). Admission is run at the undergraduate level, not by the Faculty of Law. This program is offered only in French.
(last updated September 27 2021)