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Certificate in Foundations for Graduate Legal Studies

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Contact Us 416-736-5182

Winter 2020 - Applications Closed

Winter 2021 – Applications will open in May 2020

For application instructions please see Application Instructions below.

Who is this Program for?

This program is primarily designed for graduates of law degree programs from outside Canada who are interested in pursuing graduate legal studies in Canada. We also welcome applications from professionals without a law degree who have some law-related work experience or education and who are interested in pursuing further education in law.

The Certificate in Foundations for Graduate Legal Studies is designed to provide you with the foundation you need for successful graduate legal study. Students in this program:

  • Study the foundations of Canadian public and private law in an interactive class setting
  • Learn and practice common law legal, analytical and writing skills by building from simple to more complex problems and documents, with an opportunity for small group and individual feedback and tutoring.
  • Lay the foundation for successful performance in LLM courses and in your future legal career.

We are seeking participants who have a strong interest in the program and demonstrated academic potential.

If your first language is not English, you must have an English language proficiency test score of at least 7.0 IELTS or its equivalent to be considered for this program. For details on equivalence on language proficiency scores please see the table below:

Test Type Test Score Website Email
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) – Paper Based 577

TOEFL Website

University Code 0894

TOEFL – Computer Based 233

TOEFL Website

University Code 0894

TOEFL – iBT (Internet Based) 88

TOEFL Website

University Code 0894

IELTS – Academic Type 7.0 overall IELTS website ed@britcoun.org
YUELI – York University English Language Institute

IALE – With Honours 

GSPP – With Honours

AP – Level 9 with Honours

YUELI website yueli@yorku.ca
CAEL – Canadian Academic English Language Assessment Overall score of 70 with no component score less than 60 CAEL Website info@cael.ca


Program Details

The program is full-time and comprises of four courses that run between January and July each year. Students attend classes in person at both of OsgoodePD and Osgoode Hall Law School campuses. After the intensive two-week orientation course, students can expect to attend class four times per week, for a total of 12 hours’ class time weekly. Classes are interactive and are taught by law professors and adjuncts who are practicing lawyers from a variety of fields.

Orientation to Law

This course is a two-week intensive introduction to law school study in Canada and Canadian legal practice. This course introduces students to basic common law concepts and teaches students essential skills such as learning by the Socratic Method, taking lecture notes, reading cases and legislation, preparing case summaries, and engaging in common law predictive analysis. Throughout the course, guest speakers will be invited in to talk about various areas of legal practice, including litigation practice, corporate practice and government practice. There will be assigned readings, guest speakers, group discussion and tasks, as well as individual written assignments.

Introduction to Graduate Legal Analysis and Writing

This course is designed to familiarize students with core analysis and writing skills. This will involve working extensively with the legal problem solving skills required within a common law regime, becoming familiar with creating commonly used legal documents and academic papers. The primarily assignment-based nature of this part of the course requires a significant and “steady” time commitment. The instructors assume that students will approach the course, and the assignments required as part of the course, in a professional manner. The course will be presented through online lectures and exercises, in-class lectures, discussions, hands-on training sessions, exercises and in-class assignments. Students are expected to do the required readings and complete any assigned quizzes and/or exercises before classes and will be asked to participate in discussions.

Introduction to Canadian Law

This course serves as an introduction to the Canadian legal system. It is intended to provide students a broad understanding of how the law operates in a Canadian context and the conceptual foundation to pursue more detailed studies in Canadian law. The focus of this course is primarily upon Canada’s legal structure and Constitution. Among other topics, the course covers legal tradition, legal theory, sources of law, relationship of various categories of law and the branches of government, court hierarchy, case and statute interpretation and administrative decision making.

Introduction to Private Law in Canada

This course provides students with an introduction to private law in Canada. Through the course students will learn the fundamentals of Canadian tort, contract and property law in common law provinces. This course also provides students with a foundation in Canadian corporate and commercial law.

Options After Program Completion

Students who successfully complete the program will be issued an Osgoode certificate indicating either a grade of “Pass” or “Pass with Honours”.

A grade of “Pass with Honours” will be awarded to students who:

  • Have a sophisticated legal English vocabulary
  • Can engage in well-reasoned common law legal analysis
  • Can produce the following to at least a B level: graduate-level legal essay, legal memo, case or legislative comment, and response to a lengthy legal fact pattern in an exam environment
  • Have minimal grammatical and sentence structure errors in their work
  • Are able to make in-class presentations and engage in sophisticated oral legal argument and debate

If you proceed to an OsgoodePD Professional LLM after completion of the program, you may be eligible for advanced standing in the LLM or exemptions from introductory courses, depending on the requirements of the LLM specialization you are entering.

Tuition Fees

Fees include electronic materials. Fees are due in full prior to enrollment in classes. Fees may change without notice. Required textbooks are not included in program fees.

Course Category Tuition Domestic & International
Non-Credit Course $2,000 CAD
Credit Course

4 times 3 credits of SCE tuition

**based on status in Canada

Application Instructions

To apply you will need to complete the form using the Apply Now button at the bottom of this webpage.

As part of your application, we will ask you to provide the following:

  1. copy of law degree transcripts and any post law degree transcripts; or, if you do not have a law degree, a copy of all university and/or college transcripts
  2. current resume
  3. personal statement explaining why you wish to join our program, how your previous education and experience relates to the Certificate Program and how it will benefit you (500 words maximum)
  4. copy of language proficiency test results. You may be exempted from this requirement if you have completed at least one year of full-time study at an accredited university where English is the only official language of instruction.

If you need an advanced academic English course before taking this program, consider applying for York University’s Advanced Legal English (YUELI) Program


Apply Now