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D.C.L. Program Description and Requirements

D.C.L. (Faculty) | D.C.L. (Comparative Law) | D.C.L. (Air and Space Law) | Requirements | Admission

The Doctor of Civil Law Program allows for the development of a substantive and original contribution to legal research and knowledge under the supervision of a faculty member. Doctoral candidates normally plan to pursue an academic career, and develop their approach to pedagogy, research and writing while at McGill.

D.C.L. candidates all begin with immersion in our Theoretical Approaches to Law course in order to ground the critical framework necessary for a major research and writing project. Candidates are encouraged to supplement this course with Graduate Legal Methodology and other courses relevant to their scholarly ambitions (eg. Legal Traditions, Legal Education, Air and Space Law courses, etc.). Every candidate must successfully pass a comprehensive examination, usually after one year in the program.


Our Doctoral programs and their requirements

The Faculty of Law of McGill University offers three doctoral programs:

1. Doctor of Civil Law within the Faculty of Law

The doctoral program pursued within the Faculty of Law has at its core a substantial thesis that makes an original contribution to legal scholarship; students must successfully complete the following courses:

2. Doctor of Civil Law within the Institute of Comparative Law

The doctoral program pursued within the Institute of Comparative Law of the Faculty of Law has at its core a substantial thesis that makes an original contribution to legal scholarship; students must successfully complete the following courses:

3. Doctor of Civil Law within the Institute of Air and Space Law

The doctoral program pursued within the Institute of Air and Space Law of the Faculty of Law has at its core a substantial thesis that makes an original contribution to legal scholarship; students must successfully complete the following courses:


Program requirements

The D.C.L. degree will be awarded, at the earliest, following completion the residency requirement in the Faculty. The principal basis for evaluation is a doctoral thesis of up to 400 pages or 100,000 words including notes and bibliography. It must constitute a significant contribution to legal knowledge, evidencing in concept and execution the original work of the candidate. Its form must be suitable for publication. The thesis must be submitted within four years of completion of the residency requirement.

D.C.L. candidates typically require only two years of full-time residency, given that they are usually admitted after completing an LL.M. Thesis program to what is officially the "second" year of a doctoral program in the University (meaning that their "DCL 2" and "DCL 3" years satisfy the residency requirement.)

For more information, see the Typical D.C.L. calendar page.


Admission to the program

Only applicants with proven scholastic achievements of high merit will be admitted to candidacy for this degree, and normally a candidate should be the holder of both an undergraduate law degree and a with-thesis Master’s degree. In some cases, on approval of the Faculty, students completing a non-thesis Master’s degree may be eligible for admission into the D.C.L. program.

For complete information about admission to our programs or to apply for graduate admissions, please visit our sister site, Graduate Admissions in Law.