McGill's Unique BCL/LLB Program

We do legal education like nobody else

Proudly bilingual, rigorously pluralistic, the McGill BCL/LLB program broke the mold for legal education in our fast-paced, globalized world. No other law program reaches further.  

McGill's unique program ensures that students graduate with a cosmopolitan understanding of the law, one that is not confined to specific jurisdictions, or even legal traditions. Our students learn legal concepts comparatively; through the lens of the common law and the civil law; with Indigenous legal traditions and perspectives from legal traditions the world over incorporated into our pluralistic approach to teaching law.

Our students graduate with two law degrees: a Bachelor of Common Law (LLB, equivalent to a JD) and a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL); opening the door to legal careers in all Canadian provinces, several US states, and beyond. Whether they work in national or international firms, business, NGOs, or the public service, McGill Law graduates are widely known for their critical thinking skills, openness to diverse approaches to solving problems, and confidence in the face of novel legal issues. McGill was recently ranked 13th in the world among the top universities to study law by the Times Higher Education.

From its earliest days, the study of law at McGill has been a bridge between the two central legal traditions of the western world. Building on our expertise in common law and civil law, we have broadened the program to include Indigenous legal traditions, perspectives from legal traditions the world over, and cutting-edge scholarship in alternative dispute resolution.

McGill’s integrated legal education

McGill Law students are introduced to integrated or "transsystemic" teaching in the first year of the program.

The fundamental concepts of civil law and common law, as well as Indigenous and world legal traditions, are studied comparatively within a single course.

Instead of studying the laws of any one particular jurisdiction, our program is a study of law in its many permutations and explores legal traditions through a comparative, integrated lens.

A program that is always evolving

Constantly questioning how legal education is done has been at the core of the Faculty’s identity for decades. In 2016, the McGill BCL/LLB program underwent its latest curriculum renewal as it continues to evolve in the face of rapidly changing legal markets.

In addition to expanding the integrated course offering and increasing engagement with Indigenous legal traditions, the renewed curriculum features multiple opportunities for problem-based learning, translating knowledge into action, and developing skills critical to engaged, effective, and enlightened jurists. The renewed curriculum notably features the following:

  • An integrated Property Law course, working across the boundaries of civil law, common law, and Indigenous legal traditions.
  • A multidisciplinary course on Criminal Justice, which integrates perspectives from civil law, common law, Indigenous legal traditions, criminology, and more.
  • A revised semester timetable that makes space for one-week intensive teaching periods during the fall and winter terms:
    • An “Integration Week” that kicks off each semester for first year-students. Introductory lectures are accompanied by small group workshops that give first-year students the opportunity to start tackling legal sources, and get to know their colleagues and professors in smaller, more intensive settings.
    • Elective “Focus Week” workshops for upper-year students on a variety of current topics such as innovation, food safety governance, and international patents, as well as practical skills such as negotiation, mediation, and electronic discovery or evidence gathering for litigation.

Agile thinkers, agile careers

Graduates of McGill Law are eligible to sit the bar of any Canadian province as well as some U.S. jurisdictions (i.e. New York and Massachusetts) directly on graduation.

The BCL/LLB program is a full-time first level professional law degree. The program is 105 credits and most students complete it in 3.5 years. It is possible to complete the program in three years by taking additional summer credits and by carrying heavier course loads in some fall and winter semesters. Some students opt to complete the program in four years in order to take lighter course loads in some semesters, or pursue a Minor, Major or Honours program. Students may also pursue one of our Joint Degree programs in collaboration with the Desautels Faculty of Management and the School of Social Work.

Graduate studies in law (LLM and then DCL) are upper-level degrees that can be pursued after completion of the BCL/LLB.