BCL/LLB Program Structure and Requirements

The 105-credit BCL/LLB program is an opportunity to learn the Civil Law and Common Law traditions within a single, integrated course of study.

Its duration is flexible: at a normal pace of 15 credits per term, the program can be completed in 7 terms or three and a half years or four years. Students who complete the program obtain a double degree of civil law (BCL) and common law (LLB).

Completing the program

To be eligible for their BCL and LLB degrees, candidates must complete the required number of credits within five years of initial registration in the program. Faculty regulations permit part-time study (defined as less than 12 credits to a minimum of nine credits) in very exceptional circumstances. Where part-time study is authorized, the five-year rule is extended to seven years. In computing this five-year period, any year or years spent on an approved leave of absence is not included.

Program options

Students may enrich their program with one of our Minor, major or honours programs, or take one of our joint degree programs in Management or Social Work.

Students can also go on exchange through our Student Exchange Program, take non-course credits and outside credits, or put their learning in practice through our clinical legal education opportunities.

Accelerating the program

It is possible to accelerate the completion of the program by taking one additional course in the Winter term of first year (not applicable as of 2016), by completing Summer credits, and by taking a higher number of credits during the regular academic year, up to a maximum of 18 credits. Permission to exceed that number requires the permission of the Associate Dean (Academic) and is given only in very exceptional circumstances.

Trade-offs to accelerated programs

There are trade-offs in accelerating the program. These include more limited access to small-enrolment courses (as the fourth-year priority registration is lost), and the possible negative impact on academic success resulting from a heavy course load. It is possible to extend the completion of the program over four full academic years. However, to retain full-time status, a minimum of 12 credits must be taken in each term (with the exception that in their final term, students are permitted to take only the number of credits necessary to complete the program even if that is less than 12).

Extending the program can allow the meeting of other commitments on the part of students, taking full advantage of all opportunities in the BCL/LLB program, including exchanges, and participating in the Faculty of Law’s advanced programs (Minors, Majors, Honours).

More generally, a lighter course load may have a positive impact on academic success.

Residency, full-time students, part-time students

  • The Minimum Residency Requirement for the BCL/LLB program requires full-time attendance for at least three academic years.
  • Full-time students must register for a minimum of 12 credits in each term. The only exception is for students in their final term who may register for only the number of credits necessary to satisfy their degree requirements for graduation.
  • Students may register for a maximum of 18 credits per term.
  • Permission to exceed that maximum or to change to part-time status must be obtained from the Associate Dean (Academic). Permission will be granted only if exceptional circumstances are shown.
  • Students are expected to apply to graduate once they have successfully met all the program requirements for the BCL/LLB program and completed 105 credits.
  • The Associate Dean (Academic) or Director 's (Student Life & Learning) approval is required to take courses beyond the 105 credits. Course completed beyond the 105 credits will be coded as EXTRA (not credited towards program or calculated in CGPA).

Accreditation & BCL/LLB program changes

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has implemented a process for accreditation of Canadian common law degrees. Students who began their degrees in September 2012 or later will need to show that their common law degrees meet the Federation’s accreditation requirements if they wish to join a law society in a common law province.

In order to meet the accreditation requirements, the Faculty of Law has made the following changes to its BCL/LLB program, effective September 2012 for the incoming first year class. The new program requires the following:

  1. Business Associations is a mandatory course.
  2. Students must take one course from a basket of courses on administrative law.
  3. Since Business Associations is mandatory, students will only have to obtain 3 credits toward their civil law basket and 3 credits toward their common law basket requirements (previously, 4.5 credits were required in each basket).

For a full description of your program requirements, see our Program Requirements form.

IMPORTANT: The new program requirements only apply to BCL/LLB students who started the program in September 2012 or later.

If you started the BCL/LLB program in September 2011 or earlier, the old program requirements continue to apply to you (Program Requirements form).

Do you still have questions? sao.law [at] mcgill.ca (Email the Student Affairs Office)

For employers: about our BCL/LLB program

As the McGill BCL/LLB Program is unique in North America, many employers request information about its structure.

Visit the Career Development Office website for more information about the competencies developed in the program and a letter from the Dean detailing the program: www.mcgill.ca/cdo/employers.