Admissions Categories & Program Options (2022)

Admissions Policy

The JD degree is a professional, undergraduate program that generally requires prior university study for admission, except in cases of applicants who qualify for the Work/Life Experience category.

In assessing applications, the Admissions Committee reviews each application holistically by taking into consideration all application materials submitted, including the applicant’s academic record, LSAT score, online application (including personal statement), references and non-academic experience. Interviews of applicants with significant non-academic experience may be held at the discretion of the Committee. Interviews typically take place in May or June.

Applicant Residency Status

In order to ensure that candidates from provinces and territories without law schools have representation within the JD program and access to justice within the legal profession, the Admissions Committee will take into consideration the geographic region of our applicants in their admission decisions.

As such, applicants are asked to provide information pertaining to your province/territory of residency. This may not necessarily be the province/territory within which you currently reside. When declaring your residency, especially if you are a resident of the Atlantic provinces (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland & Labrador, and New Brunswick), and/or the territories (Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories), please include your reasons for consideration.

Deciding Residency

An applicant is a resident of a province/territory if they have a real and substantial connection with that province. Such factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Having lived in that province/territory full-time for two years, without having attended an academic institution, as of September 1st of the year for which they are seeking admission;
  • Place where the applicant has lived/been employed, with a focus on the preceding five years;
  • The place of residency for parents, especially in cases where applicant relies upon financial support; or
  • Place where applicant attended high school

Admissions Categories

JD applicants may be considered under one or more of the following categories:

General Applicants

General applicant category is open to those who have an undergraduate degree or who are within one year of graduation eligibility from a degree-granting college or university recognized by the Dalhousie Senate.

Required Application Materials include: transcript(s); LSAT; letters of reference; and personal statement.

Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) Applicants

The Indigenous applicant category is open to those who self-identify as a Canadian Indigenous person, including First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit.The Indigenous category is intended to manifest the Schulich School of Law’s recognition of the need for reconciliation and greater representation of First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons in the legal field as well as an acknowledgement of our presence as an educational institution on ancestral and unceded territory of Mi'kma'ki.

Required Application Materials include: transcript(s); LSAT; letters of reference; and personal statement.

  • Applicants are encouraged (but not required) to submit a statement (or include within their personal statement) how they have contributed to, are connected to, and/or identify with their community and/or the impact of colonization on their family or their connection to Indigenous culture.
  • For applicants in this category, non-academic experiences are given comparatively more weight than traditional measures of academic performance and LSAT scores in the holistic review of their files if that works to their advantage.

Indigenous applicants may also be considered for the Indigenous Blacks & Mi’kmaq Initiative.

Indigenous Blacks & Mi'kmaq (IB&M) Initiative Applicants

The IB&M applicant category is open to those who self-identify as Indigenous Black and/or Mi’kmaq and are seeking admission via the IB&M Initiative. The primary focus of the IB&M Initiative is on applicants who are either:

  • Indigenous Black Nova Scotians-individuals who are Black and were born and raised in Nova Scotia, or who have a substantial connection with a historically Black community in Nova Scotia, or
  • Mi'kmaq-individuals who are Mi'kmaq and were born and raised in Mi'kmaqi or have a substantial connection with a Mi'kmaw community in Mi'kmaqi.

The IB&M Initiative places the admission of African Nova Scotian and Mi'kmaq applicants as its highest priority. If, in any given year all qualified Indigenous Blacks and Mi'kmaw applicants have been admitted and there are still spaces available, Black applicants who are not Indigenous to Nova Scotia and Indigenous applicants who are not Mi'kmaq, may be admitted through the IB&M category.

IB&M applicants are required to submit the same application materials as other candidates but will undergo additional consideration for the IB&M Initiative by a separate committee.

Required Application Materials include: transcript(s); LSAT; letters of reference; and personal statement.

Applicants from this category may also be considered for the Historically Disadvantaged applicant category.

Historically Disadvantaged Communities Applicants

Historically Disadvantaged Communities applicant category is open to those who self-identify as members of historically disadvantaged communities (other than Indigenous and Indigenous Black Nova Scotian communities for which there are distinct categories).

The following is an illustrative and non-exhaustive list of communities currently included in this category: Black; African descent; additional racialized minorities; 2SLGBTQ+; gender identity; persons with diagnosed mental illness; persons with visible or invisible disability (including physical, mental, intellectual, learning or sensory impairment, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders an individual’s full and effective participation in society).

This category is intended to recognize the need for greater representation of historically disadvantaged communities at the Schulich School of Law and in the legal profession.Having this as a category is also intended to focus the Committee’s attention on the need to not perpetuate the harms of systemic discrimination.

Required Application Materials include: transcript(s); LSAT; letters of reference; and personal statement.

Additional Application Materials include: medical documentation.

  • Applicants are encouraged (but not required) to submit a statement or include within their personal statement how they have contributed to, are connected to, and/or identify with their community.
  • Non-academic experiences are given comparatively more weight than traditional measures of academic performance and LSAT scores in the holistic review of their files if that works to their advantage.

Applicants from this category may also be considered for the IB&M Initiative and/or Work/Life Experience applicant category.

Work/Life Experience Applicants

Work/Life Experience applicant category is open to those who seek admission where their work/life experience provides a strong basis for inclusion in the incoming class but they either do not have the required number of academic credits to be eligible for the General category; or they have the required number of academic credits but based on their academic record alone, they would not be competitive in the General category.

Examples of those eligible to seek admission under this category include (but are not limited to): candidates who:

  • have been raising children or caring for sick relatives
  • have been running a local non-profit or similar organization
  • pursued a trade after high school
  • completed a university degree where their subsequent work experience and LSAT score may be a more accurate and relevant indicator of current capabilities than their GPA

The Work/Life Experience category is intended to recognize the skills and abilities individuals can gain outside of an academic institution and to ensure that the legal profession is more representative of the communities that it serves.

Required Application Materials include: transcript(s)*; LSAT; letters of reference; and a personal statement.

Additional Application Materials include: resume; and a statement of work/life experience.

*where applicable

  • Applicants seeking admission under this category are strongly encouraged to have successfully completed a College Diploma or at least two years (10 credits) of university studies before applying.
  • Interviews of applicants in this category may be held at the discretion of the Committee.
  • Non-academic experiences are given comparatively more weight than traditional measures of academic performance and LSAT scores in the holistic review of their files.


Learn more

For more details on admission requirements, policies and programs see Dal'sAcademic Calendar.


Program Options

The JD Program is usually a three-year professional bachelor’s program. For those interested in taking the JD Program part-time or combined with a Master’s Degree see the information below.

Part-time Applicants

We offer the option of completing your JD on a part-time basis over seven years.

Learn more about the part-time JD.

Indigenous Blacks & Mi'kmaq (IB&M) Initiative Applicants

The primary focus of the IB&M Initiative is on students who are either:

  • Indigenous Black Nova Scotians -individuals who are Black and were born and raised in Nova Scotia, or who have a substantial connection with a historically Black community in Nova Scotia, or
  • Mi'kmaq -individuals who are Mi'kmaq and were born and raised in Mi'kmaqi or have a substantial connection with a Mi'kmaw community in Mi'kmaqi.

The IB&M Initiative places the admission of African Nova Scotian and Mi'kmaq students as its highest priority. If, in any given year all qualified Indigenous Blacks and Mi'kmaw students have been admitted and there are still spaces available, Black students who are not indigenous to Nova Scotia and Aboriginal students who are not Mi'kmaq, may be admitted through the IB&M category.

IB&M applicants are required to submit the same application materials as other candidates but will undergo additional consideration for the IB&M Initiative by a separate committee.

Combined Degree Applicants

We have partnered with Dalhousie's Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Health Administration (MHA), Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Information (MI) programs to allow students the opportunity to earn two degrees - a JD and a Master’s Degree - in four years instead of five.

To be admitted to our combined degree programs, you must satisfy the entrance requirements of both the JD and Master’s Degree program and apply for each program separately.

Learn more about applying to combined degree programs.

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