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 Updated September 4, 2020 

 

OUR JD DEGREE

#1.  What is the JD degree at the University of Toronto?

JD stands for Juris Doctor. It is the degree designation the University of Toronto uses for its undergraduate bachelor of law degree program. Nearly all other Canadian common law schools use this degree designation, a few continue to use the degree designation LLB (Bachelor of Law).

The JD degree is a law degree designation that is typically granted to students who receive a legal education after they have completed an undergraduate degree. On the other hand, the LLB is typically granted after completion of a legal education that is obtained following graduation from high school, which is the case in virtually all other Commonwealth jurisdictions. The JD degree designation is intended to bring the University of Toronto law school into line with international standards for second-degree law programs.

The University of Toronto feels that the JD degree designation more accurately reflects the educational accomplishments of the vast majority of the Faculty's graduates who enter with at least one university degree (approximately 20% now enter our law school with graduate degrees as well). In addition, the JD is viewed as providing our graduates with a more competitive degree designation. This is particularly important for the increasing numbers of UofT students and graduates who choose to work or study outside Canada.

#2.  What legal practice areas do you offer? Can I do a major or minor?

There are no majors or minors in our JD program. After the completion of the mandatory first-year, in the upper years select the individual courses that satisfy your interests and goals. The JD is designed to provide the foundation to proceed to any area of common law practice.
 
For questions about specializing your studies and careers, see the Career Development Office's Frequently Asked Questions.

#3.  Can I work in the USA or another country with the UofT JD?

Law schools provide legal education, they do not licence lawyers. In order to practice in another country with your Canadian JD, you must consult with the lawyer licensing agency/authority in that country. From the agency/authority ascertain the specific legal education and legal experience that must be attained in order be licensed in that country.

The University of Toronto JD degree is not an American JD degree. It is a Canadian JD degree designation. The University of Toronto Faculty is not approved by the American Bar Association (nor is any Canadian law school). "ABA" approval is often a pre-requisite for admission to practice in a particular American state. Only US law schools are ABA-approved.

Regarding Canadian-educated and Canadian-trained applicants, each state in the United States has its own bar admission requirements. Currently, states which accept our law degree as "equivalent" to an American law degree are New York and Massachusetts. Another popular destination for our graduates is California, but to be eligible to write the California Bar, one must first be called to the Bar of a Canadian province, or another American state such as New York.

Detailed requirements for every state are available in a publication called the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements, published by the American Bar Association.

#4.  What are the first-year tuition fees?

Please see the Tuition Fees web page for complete information about fees.

#5.  How large is the first-year class?

The Faculty of Law plans for a first-year class of about 200 students.

#6.  How many JD applications are received each year?

The Faculty of Law receives over 2,000 applications each year.

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ADMISSION ELIGIBILITY

#1.  Can I get help directly from an admissions advisor?

Yes, of course. To prepare fully for your consultation, we kindly ask that you take the time to read the very extensive admissions and application information on our website, including these FAQ. Quite often, we have found that the majority of answers to admissions questions are already present on our web pages.
    1. Our admission advisors hold information sessions for the public, occasionally on a weekend. Please view the list of JD admissions events and register to attend.

    2. For your convenience you are welcome to email or phone us for assistance. The answers to your questions will be the same whether you are sitting next to us or in another country. It is not necessary for you to present documents in-person for assistance.

    3. If you wish to visit us in-person, then an appointment is not necessary. Normally, you may book a law school tour, then meet us immediately afterward, or just drop in during office hours. However, due to public health measures arising from the pandemic, access to the law school is closed to the public. For assistance, please contact us by email at admissions.law@utoronto.ca

#2.  I already have a law degree, do I need the JD to practice in Canada?

Not necessarily. To determine any educational requirements to be licensed to practice, your very first step is to obtain an evaluation of your law degree and related experience by the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA). The NCA is operated by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, which is the national coordinating body of Canada’s provincial and territorial law societies (licensing authorities).

#3.  I am an international student, am I eligible to apply to the JD?

The official immigration status in Canada and not the place of residence determines if one is international or domestic. International students are those who are neither citizens nor Permanent Residents of Canada, and will require a Study Permit from the Canadian government in order to study the JD. You must be admitted to the law school before you can apply to the Canadian government for the Study Permit.

We welcome applications from international students. The admission requirements, criteria and consideration is the same for all applicants regardless of immigration status. The post-secondary academic institution(s) attended should be recognized and accredited, and an equivalent to the Canadian quantity of education should be attained. There are no quotas for any category or type of applicant.

Canadian government student loan programs and our JD Financial Aid Program are open to domestic students only.

#4.  Can I begin law school directly after high school?

No. In Canada and the USA, entry into the JD requires higher education study beyond secondary school.

#5.  How much of an undergraduate program do I need in order to apply?

Applicants must have successfully completed three years of an approved course leading to a degree at a recognized post-secondary institution, no later than the end of May in the year of entry. However, prospective applicants should be aware that almost all (98%) of our students have completed a four-year degree. In recent years, fewer than five applicants (<2%) a year have been admitted without a four-year undergraduate degree.

#6.  Do you consider degrees from an Ontario College (CAAT)?

Yes. A completed four year undergraduate degree from an Ontario College of Applied Arts & Technology (CAAT) is eligible for admission consideration.

We advise you to apply AFTER the entire degree is completed, instead of while it is in progress.

#7.  Pre-Law: what should I study to prepare for law school?

There is no prescribed "pre-law program." Students at the law school come with undergraduate degrees in a wide range of disciplines including commerce, engineering, philosophy, English, political science, economics, biology, sociology and international relations to name just a few.

#8.  Is there a mature applicant category?

Yes, the Faculty of Law has a mature applicant category. Mature applicants are those who have or will have at least five complete years of non-academic experience by September of the year of entry. There is no target or quota on the number of mature candidates admitted, but there has been a steady increase in both the number and the competitiveness of mature applicants. In recent years, about 300 applications have been received annually. As a result the mature category has been virtually as competitive as the general category.

The application procedure is the same for Mature candidates, the LSAT is required. For detailed information see the Mature Applicants section of the admissions web page.

#9.  Is there a special access admission category?

Yes, the Faculty of Law has a special application category for Indigenous/Aboriginal applicants. For detailed information see the Indigenous Applicants section of the admissions web page.

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APPLICATION PROCEDURE

#1.  Is TOEFL or another test of English language proficiency required?

For applicants who are eligible for the JD first-year or to transfer into the JD second year, an English language proficiency test is not required. Note that the LSAT is required for these applicants, no exceptions.

Eligible applicants to non-degree JD studies (visiting students on a Letter of Permission, NCA students), may be asked to demonstrate proficiency, if warranted, after the review of their submitted applications.

Eligible applicants to visit on an approved student exchange must demonstrate proficiency, where warranted.

#2.  I am an international student, is my application process different?

International students follow the same application procedures as all other applicants. Any applicant, regardless of immigration status who has post-secondary education undertaken outside of Canada or the USA is required to first have that education evaluated for equivalency by WES Canada, and then arrange for WES Canada to submit the official results to OLSAS directly.

#3.  How can I obtain a JD admission guidebook and application form?

Our JD Admissions Guide is available online from the JD Admissions website. The JD application is completed electronically through OLSAS at ouac.on.ca/olsas.

#4.  Do I submit my application to OLSAS or CAS?

JD applications including all supporting documents are to be submitted directly to OLSAS (Ontario Law School Application Service) ONLY.

Do not use CAS (Credential Assembly Service) operated by the LSAC in the US for applying to UofT Law or to any other Ontario law school.

#5.  Is there an application deadline for early admission?

No. We do not begin the file review for selection until after the application deadline.

 

#6.  How do you calculate my GPA? Are summer courses included?

Our review of an applicant's undergraduate record is sensitive to context. It is based on the principle that undergraduate records should be compared as fairly as possible across applicants. For this reason, we examine the pattern of the intensity of the course work taken across an applicant's undergraduate career (light versus heavy, full-time versus part-time, co-op versus regular, introductory versus upper-year courses, courses on exchange, courses during the summer term).

We also examine the patterns of results the applicant achieved in that coursework (increasing trends, sustained periods of strong performance, short-term deviations, cumulative results, etc). Moreover, we take into account the nature of the program and the undergraduate institution (or institutions) at which an applicant has studied. Specifically, programs and institutions have varying grading practices, which we take into account in our assessment.

In general, the Admissions Committee examines each applicant's academic record with a view to meaningful and fair comparisons of undergraduate performance.

Our GPA is calculated on undergraduate courses only, using the best three academic years (traditionally the fall and winter sessions) of full-time study. We use the results of these calculations merely as a starting point for our context-sensitive analysis.

All courses in the entire post-secondary record are considered and valued, regardless of which will be used in the GPA calculation i.e. all courses, undergraduate and any graduate, including summer courses are considered. In addition to the GPA calculation, we review transcripts to better understand the performance on the entire academic record.

#7.  COVID-19: How would Credit/No Credit (pass/fail) courses on my 2019-2020 academic record impact my chances of admission?

#8.  What minimum or average GPA and LSAT score do I need?

Our selection is holistic based on the combination of the personal profile, academic record and LSAT performance. Each year the applicant pool is different and no one can know in advance how strong anyone's file will be in their admission year. Therefore, it is not possible to pre-determine any minimum or average GPA and LSAT score for selection.

On our website we do not list a minimum or average GPA and LSAT. Instead we list the median values which represents the midpoint GPA and LSAT score, from which half of the entering class scored higher, and half scored lower.

It is erroneous to deduce that everyone above the median was offered admission, since it is not a minimum, and the holistic selection is not based on the numerical measures solely. Therefore, you do not need to be at, or above the median in order to be competitive, since by definition the median (midpoint), half of the entering class will always have a GPA and LSAT that is lower than the median.

#9.  If my academic record is not competitive, will it help if I complete a graduate degree?

A very strong performance in a graduate program may overcome modest weaknesses in an undergraduate record, but will not usually overcome an undergraduate record which is otherwise un-competitive.

#10. When should I write the LSAT?

Effective June 2019
In Canada and the US, the LSAT is offered eight times a year, normally in June, July, September, October, November, January, February and April. For the desired year of entry into the JD first year, the latest score we will accept for first-year entry is that year's January LSAT score and for upper year entry that year's June LSAT score. We recommend that you write earlier.

An LSAT score is valid for 5 years. For entry into first-year we suggest that you write the LSAT by the November of your final year of university. Our admissions process is rolling, which means that offers of admission will begin to go out in early December. The class may be close to full once the results of the January LSAT become available.

IMPORTANT: Effective June 2019
The multiple choice portion of the test is written at a test centre, The LSAT Writing portion of the test is completed separately. The LSAT score will only be available to the test taker and law schools when both the LSAT Writing and multiple choice portions are completed. Therefore, you must ensure that the LSAT Writing is completed before the release date of the results of the multiple choice portion for the last acceptable LSAT test for the entry year, otherwise the law school will not receive the score in time for consideration.

#11. Do you accept LSAT Flex?

Yes. LSAT Flex will be treated the same as the standard LSAT.

#12. My LSAT test is scheduled after the application deadline, what should I do?

Always apply to OLSAS by the application deadline.

Do not hold up applying to OLSAS to await registering for the LSAT or your test scores. The OLSAS application form will ask if a future test will be taken, and it will retrieve the future score from the LSAC once it is available.

#13. If I write the LSAT more than once, which score is used?

An LSAT score is valid for five years. If more than one LSAT score is reported, all LSAT scores within the past five years will be seen and considered by the Admissions Committee. Generally, we place emphasis on the highest LSAT score reported. We do not average scores.

#14. For JD combined programs, what do I select at OLSAS?

If you intend to, or are contemplating whether to, study JD combined programs, then on the OLSAS application form, you must pick the JD-only selection and also the desired JD combined program selection(s).

Please ensure that the selections are made before the OLSAS application deadline, after which your ability to add a new program selection on the OLSAS application form is disabled.

You will also need to apply to each desired non-JD partner program directly and independently of the OLSAS application. Apply to the partner program by its own application procedure and deadline.

 

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AFTER YOU APPLY & ADMISSION CONSIDERATION

#1.  How do I check that my application is complete? Do you have a web portal?

We do not have a web portal for document tracking and file completion. Instead, please refer to your OLSAS account to track the receipt of application materials. You are responsible to ensure that you have read and followed all application instructions.

#2.  How can I stay updated on where you are in the cycle with decisions?

We regularly post our updates to applicants online to a public website - no login required. Our updates include helpful tips, best practices and the dates when we expect to send notifications of admission decisions. Please bookmark or follow our Tumblr page at 84queenspark.tumblr.com

#3.  When may I get an admission decision? Is there early admission?

We do not begin the file review for selection until after the application deadline.

For first year admission, selections are made at three distinct times: Round 1 in early December, Round 2 in mid January and Round 3 in Mid-late March.

Applicants with early complete files are considered for all rounds and not just the first round, and thus may be offered in any of the rounds. Consequently, there is no detriment if you are not offered admission in Round 1, since the offers are not all made in Round 1. There are two additional rounds of offers to follow.

All candidates admitted in any of the rounds have the same deadline date in April to accept or decline their offers of admission. Therefore there is no inherent advantage or disadvantage pertaining to the round in which admission is offered.

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