Law plays an ever-growing role in our lives. Most of the controversial issues of today — whether stemming from political conflict, technological developments, economic inequality or other social changes — are expressed and mediated through law. The Legal Studies program at our university offers students the opportunity to critically explore the social roles of law and its connections with community, government and society from different theoretical perspectives. The program emphasizes the development of critical thinking and analytic skills alongside a practical understanding of how to access and use legal materials. Our faculty’s commitment to interdisciplinary approaches to both formal and informal law equips students to address socio-legal and social justice issues in a variety of contexts.
The first year of study is common to all Legal Studies students. Beginning in second year, students will have the opportunity to continue with the unspecialized program or to specialize in Human Rights Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution or Information Law.
Alternative Dispute Resolution specialization
Alternative dispute resolution typically includes arbitration, mediation, early neutral evaluation, and conciliation and sentencing circles. It also offers a less-expensive and faster alternative to settling disputes and disagreements. In this specialization students will learn about the increasing importance placed on alternative ways of solving disputes outside the courtroom.
Human Rights Law specialization
One of the major components of Canadian and international law is human rights. This specialization will teach students the complex relationship between the laws, rights and the state, while being exposed to Canadian and human rights discourses and instruments.
Information Law specialization
Changing technology has brought about new challenges to the legal and social control systems in modern society. In the Information Law specialization you will examine a variety of emerging socio-legal issues that have resulted from rapid technological development, including law and technology, intellectual property, cybercrimes, privacy laws and economic espionage.
Admission is competitive. The specific average or standing required for admission varies from year to year. Students are selected by taking into consideration a wide range of criteria including school marks, distribution of subjects taken, and performance in subjects relevant to the academic program. Possession of the minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance. Preference will be given to applicants with the best qualifications.
Current Ontario secondary school students must complete the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with six 4U or 4M credits including English (ENG4U). All other applicants should refer to admissions for the requirements for their specific category of admission.
A limited number of fourth-year students are granted an opportunity to participate in a learning experience with a community organization. The Practicum course consists of 100 hours of fieldwork, in-class seminars, a set of academic assignments and a major research paper and poster. As part of the pre-practicum process, students will be required to acquire a Vulnerable Sector check. For additional information, please refer to the course description for SSCI 4098U .
This program offers students who have successfully completed three years of study with a cumulative 3.0 GPA (B average on a 4.3 scale) an opportunity to engage in a work-integrated learning partnership with organizations locally and globally. The internship program not only gives students an opportunity to apply classroom concepts to the challenges of organizational life, but also helps them to gain valuable and relevant work experience to promote networking and life-long career success.
The internship program placement equates to a minimum of 280 hours of paid or unpaid field experience. The intern’s wages, where applicable, are paid by the sponsoring organization over a contracted period. The faculty may provide links to various internship placement opportunities or a student may secure an internship opportunity that meets the criteria as prescribed by the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities. Successful work placement completion and both a verbal and written final project will result in the intern receiving a mark and three credits toward the Honours Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.
Admission to the internship program is competitive. While students are participating in an internship program, they may enroll in up to one additional course (three credits) per semester. This course must not interfere with the internship schedule outlined by the employer. For additional information, please refer to the course description for SSCI 4103U .
Students registered in a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) program within the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at the university have the opportunity, in most cases, to combine two majors within the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities concurrently as a double major (note - some restrictions apply). Double major program maps have been approved by the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities and are available through the Academic Advising Office. Students undertaking a double major within the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities will, in most cases, be required to complete more than 120 credit hours. Students wishing to declare a double major must consult with the Academic Advising office.
Degree and major requirements
To be eligible for the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Legal Studies, students must meet both the degree requirements and requirements of the major as outlined below for a total of 120 credits. Each year prior to course registration, the order and timing of course offerings will be released by the faculty and communicated to students.
Required first-year courses for all Bachelor of Arts students [21 credit hours]
Legal Studies major core courses [69 credit hours]
Additional required courses
The remaining 30 credit hours are selected based on the student’s choice to pursue the Legal Studies major, or the Legal Studies major with a specialization.
Legal Studies major [30 credit hours]
Legal Studies major with Alternative Dispute Resolution specialization [30 credit hours]
Legal Studies major with Human Rights Law specialization [30 credit hours]
Legal Studies major with Information Law specialization [30 credit hours]
*Legal Studies electives
Legal Studies electives consist of any LGLS course plus:
- General electives can be taken at/or adjoining their year level, where permission has been granted and prerequisites have been fulfilled. No more than five 1000-level general elective courses can be included, and a minimum of two of the general elective courses must be Faculty of Social Science and Humanities (FSSH) courses at the 2000 level or higher and outside of major.
- ALSU 1101U is recommended as a general elective in first year.
- COMM 3510U is recommended as a general elective in third year for students specializing in Information Law.
- COMM 4610U is recommended as a general elective in fourth year.
SSCI 4101U and SSCI 4102U Honours Thesis I and II
In order to be considered for the Honours Thesis I , students must apply during their sixth semester to begin their Honours Thesis I in semester seven. The course application must include a detailed statement of intent outlining the methodology, theoretical significance and the projected timelines for completion of the project. To proceed to Honours Thesis II , a student must have successfully completed Honours Thesis I with a minimum A- and prepare a written statement outlining the projected timelines for completion of the project.
Please note: only a limited number of applicants will be admitted to the Honours Thesis. Consent is required from both the instructor and the dean.