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Faculty of Law announces major changes to LLM program

Course and thesis-based graduate law degrees now available for both lawyers and non-lawyers

July 9, 2024 — 

The University of Manitoba has approved changes to the Faculty of Law’s Master of Laws (LLM) program in the spring of 2024. Graduate program applicants starting their studies in September of 2025 will have the opportunity to choose to complete either thesis or course-based LLMs. As well, applicants are no longer required to have a Juris Doctor (JD) or Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree, but rather can apply with a non-law degree relevant to their proposed research area.

“The benefits of these new program features are significant for both the legal community and Manitobans. They enhance access to justice, promote citizen advocacy, and provide more opportunities for individuals to pursue legal education for the betterment of others,” said Dr. Richard Jochelson, Dean of Law. “The introduction of a course-based option for completing the LLM will encourage more practicing lawyers to expand their legal expertise and improve their practice, as our graduate students now have access to our clinical courses.”

The course-based LLM will appeal to practicing lawyers or to those employed in the legal sector with law-adjacent education and experience (for example, members of the public service) seeking further academic qualifications. The degree offers further specialized knowledge relevant to one’s career, while providing practical skills and knowledge not obtained from one’s undergraduate education.

“Whether students enrol in the course-based or the thesis-based routes, they have many ways to individualize their courses of study”, said Dr. Donn Short, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies. “Students may choose to pursue a general field of study, or one of our specialized streams in Human Rights, Business, Indigenous Studies, Law and Society, Criminal Law or Public Policy. Students in the course-based LLM organize their courses around a theme or a cluster, but pursue their mastery of an area of concentrated interest through the classroom experience. Students in the thesis-based route take courses to help design and implement a research project that leads to a thesis.” 

The thesis-based LLM prepares students intending to pursue thesis-based academic qualifications, or simply an opportunity to engage in sustained and substantial academic original research on a topic of interest.  An essential feature of the thesis is that the student ultimately must demonstrate competence to complete a research project and present findings.

The UM Faculty of Law offers individualized, careful supervision for each graduate student from a faculty of legal scholars engaging in scholarly work on the cutting edge of legal issues relevant to local, national, and international communities. Faculty members’ research is used by lawyers, courts, legislative bodies and policymakers across the country, and is published in leading journals and books by renowned presses.

Thesis-based graduate students will each have an advisor, while course-based students will be assigned a Study Advisor with expertise in their chosen field of study by the Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies.

Applications for the LLM program at the University of Manitoba are open up to 18 months prior to the starting term, and the annual application deadline for all applicants to the program is December 15 prior to a start date of the following fall term.

Visit the LLM program Explore page for more information.

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