Residency and Duration


The DCL program typically requires two years of full-time residency (meaning that “DCL 2” and “DCL 3” years satisfy the residency requirement). Following the residency requirement, students must register on a full-time basis for one more year. Following these three years, students continue as Additional Sessions students with lower fees.

Students are subject to fees - which decrease beginning in their fourth year of study - up to and including the term of graduation (e.g. PhD Additional Sessions and PhD Thesis Evaluation terms).


Regulations and policies governing graduate student fees can be found in the fees section of the Graduate e-Calendar. For additional information about graduate student fees, including a breakdown of McGill's fee deferral policies, visit the Student Accounts website.

You will also find more information on Fees & Transcripts on McGill's Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies site.


The DCL degree will be awarded, at the earliest, following completion the residency requirement (two years) in the Faculty. Most students submit their theses at the end of their third or fourth years of study. Candidates must complete the degree by the end of DCL 7 (Year 6). Consult the Time Limitation Policy for additional details.

The principal basis for evaluation is a doctoral thesis of between 250 and 300 pages, including notes and bibliography although exceptionally the thesis can be as long as 400 pages or 100,000 words including notes and bibliography. The thesis 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.

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