University of Calgary Faculty of Law

Murray Fraser Hall, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1N4, Canada
Website: law.ucalgary.ca/future-students/future-graduate-students | Email: lawgpd@ucalgary.ca

Introduction

The Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary is a vibrant community of students, academics and legal professionals engaged in a wide range of research pursuits. We offer both a thesis-based and a course-based LLM, with a specialization available in Natural Resources Energy and Environmental Law (NREEL), and also a post-baccalaureate certificate in NREEL. Our graduate students come from around the world and bring with them a wide range of experiences and expertise. 

Why Study Law at the University of Calgary? 

Research Strengths

Our faculty has a wide range of research expertise. We have long been leaders in natural resources, energy, and environmental law. Other areas of particular research strength include business and tax law, private law, administrative law and regulation, criminal law, Indigenous law and perspectives, international law, human rights law, legal history and theory, and the law pertaining to privacy, security, and technology. The Faculty has endowed chairs in natural resources law, business law, and business regulation. Our substantial law library is complemented by the internationally renowned Canadian Institute of Resources Law, which hosts symposia, publishes research on natural resources and energy law, and publicizes LLM students’ research on its webpage. The Faculty of Law is home to the Journal of Environmental Law and Practice and for our award-winning law blog, ABlawg, which offers opportunities for students and faculty to disseminate their research.  The Student Legal Assistance program, our student volunteers with Pro Bono Students Canada, the Public Interest Law Clinic, and the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre reflect and draw on the Faculty’s social justice commitments. 

Our LLM specialization in Natural Resources Energy and Environmental Law has been recognized as one of the top ten energy law programs in the world. Our program earns this recognition for strengths in examining the relationship between society and the environment, in defining the interests we claim in the world around us, and in shaping the consequences of using those resources. The study of energy and environmental law at the University of Calgary is remarkably broad and encompasses legal aspects of our transition to a low carbon economy, mining law, renewable energy law, water law, administrative law, adapting to climate change and regulating GHG emissions, regulatory theory, taxation, corporate law, economics, contract law, international trade and investment law, Aboriginal law, tort law, environmental ethics, pollution control, waste management, environmental impact law, intellectual property, human rights law and legal theory.

Career Prospects

Our graduate students gain expertise for careers in academic, private practice, government, national and international organizations and more. Many of our students go on to practice law in Calgary’s legal community, which serves one of Canada’s largest legal markets. 

Location

Calgary is Canada’s “energy capital,” an ethnically diverse city of over 1.2 million people located in the western Canadian prairies, just east of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. We are in the Treaty 7 region of Canada, an area that is the traditional home of the Siksika, Piikani, Kainai, Stoney Nakoda, and Tsuu’tina First Nations and of Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3. We have over 330 sunny days in a year (a lot of them admittedly rather cold) and a busy international airport with non-stop flights to cities like New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, London, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam. Other points to know about Calgary: 

  • 60 minutes from the Rocky Mountains
  • #1 most liveable city in North America, #5 worldwide (Global Liveability Ranking, The Economist Intelligence Unit)
  • 4th largest and fastest-growing city in Canada (Calgary Economic Development 2019)
  • #3 most diverse city in Canada (Calgary Economic Development 2019)
  • Canada’s youngest city (Calgary Economic Development 2019)
  • Energy capital of Canada and global finance hub
  • Highest concentration of corporate head offices per capita in Canada (Calgary Economic Development 2019)
  • Largest urban pathway network in North America (Calgary Economic Development 2019)

Funding

We generally offer funding to our thesis-based LLM students, and we encourage all of our students to take advantage of the various scholarship opportunities available. One LLM student annually receives the Canadian Institute of Resources Law Fellowship.

Our Programs

We offer a thesis-based LLM program, a course-based LLM program with a major research paper, and a certificate program in Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law. LLM students may (but do not have to) choose to specialize in Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law.

The course-based LLM and the certificate program may be completed on a part-time or full-time basis, but the thesis-based program is full-time only. Full-time students usually take at least 16 months to complete their programs, and they are required to complete in three years.  

Thesis-based LLM students take courses in research methodologies and in legal theory, along with two additional courses and a thesis, which they ultimately defend orally. Course-based LLM students take the research methodologies course and five additional courses. They also complete a major research paper which is evaluated on a pass/fail basis. Students in the specialization take their courses and do their research in this area. Course-based LLM students are required to complete in five years. 

Through our certificate program, students can obtain a Certificate in Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law by completing four courses in this area, including one evaluated through a research paper. Such students are required to complete their programs in three years. 

Student Life and Support

Our graduate students are formally enrolled in the Faculty of Graduate Studies while being taught in — and being an integral part of — the Faculty of Law. They have access to our career placements office. The University of Calgary has an active Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) that offers health and dental plans, financial support, and many events for graduate students. The GSA bargains on behalf of graduate students and is their voice on various university bodies. 

Our graduate students are eligible to become members of the Graduate College of the University of Calgary, an interdisciplinary community of scholars, some of whom live in special residence facilities and some of whom live off campus.  

The Students’ Union at the University of Calgary offers a wide variety of services to the over 30,000 students it serves, including a bookstore, the Q Centre, a refugee student program, a food bank, two licensed restaurants, funding and awards, accessibility services for disabled students, and help in finding housing. It provides volunteer opportunities to students interested in deepening their connections to the Calgary community. International students can take advantage of a range of supports and advising through our International Student Services office. The University of Calgary campus is also the home of world-class athletic facilities (including an outdoor centre that rents sporting gear for every pursuit imaginable), two theatres, an art gallery, the Glenbow archives, a campus wellness services centre, the pluralistic Faith & Spirituality Centre and more. 

Admission Requirements

Applicants to our graduate programs require: 

  • An academic degree in Law, typically a J.D., LL.B or B.C.L.;
  • for applicants required to provide proof of proficiency in English, a minimum TOEFL Internet-based score of 97, of which the reading, listening and writing component must total 75; or the minimum IELTS overall band score of 7.0, with a reading and writing band minimum of 7.0; or a MELAB score of 83; or a PTE score of 68; two reference letters; and
  • the completion of the application form and payment of the application fee.
  • Applicants to the LLM program must also submit a brief description of their proposed thesis or major research paper and indicate their proposed supervisor. Applicants interested in obtaining a specialization in Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law must submit proposals in this area.  

Application deadlines are available through the University’s “Future Students” webpage.

We would be happy to tell you more. Please email lawgpd@ucalgary.ca. Come join us!