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Typical calendar for DCL students

The calendar for a doctoral student may vary, depending on the program in which the student is registered, as well as on whether the student has completed a substantial LL.M. Thesis program prior to admission. Most doctoral students take the courses indicated below, with additional courses as suited to their research paths. DCL students may also audit courses subject to permission from the instructor.

The information below is provided only by way of indication and may not reflect exactly every student's experience and program.

DCL 1* or DCL 2**


  • Legal research methodology (4 credits)
  • Theoretical approaches to law (4 credits)

Students in the first year are required to submit a detailed thesis proposal by the end of their first semester.

DCL 2 or DCL 3

  • Doctoral students take the comprehensive examination, usually during the second year of studies, in either the third or the fourth semester. Successful completion of the comprehensive examination is a prerequisite to continuing in the doctoral program.
  • Students engage in individual research and writing, working with their supervisor and the thesis advisory committee.

DCL 3 or 4 through DCL 7

  • While a student may complete the residency requirement at the end of the DCL 3 year, the average doctoral student completes the thesis between the fourth and fifth year of studies. The maximum amount of time allowed to complete a doctoral thesis is by completion of the DCL 7 year of study.
  • Each year, after completing the comprehensive exam, students are required to meet with their supervisors and thesis advisory committees to discuss progress over the past year and to complete progress tracking forms. More frequent, individual meetings with the student’s supervisor are expected, and students may also meet informally with members of the advisory committee more frequently.
  • On submission of the written thesis, students are required to defend the thesis before a jury of experts, including the thesis supervisor.


* DCL 1, 2, 3 correspond to the first, second, third, etc. year of the program.

** Typically, a student already holding a LL.M. Thesis degree starts the doctoral program as a "DCL 2" or second-year student. Whether the student will be required to take certain courses depends on courses taken during the LL.M. program, and is to be discussed with the Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) of the Faculty of Law.