OLSAS – University of Toronto

Last updated: August 31, 2020

Note: This application guide contains information for fall 2021 admission.

University program information is subject to change. View the application for the most up-to-date details.

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About the University of Toronto Faculty of Law

The Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto is an exceptional community in which to study law. A student body with diverse ethnic, cultural, political and socio-economic backgrounds, experiences and interests complements the academic strength and intellectual ambition of our faculty.

Each year we produce a class of Juris Doctor (JD) graduates with outstanding employment prospects by exposing our talented students to a deep curriculum taught by professors with international reputations for scholarly excellence, all in close proximity to Canada’s leading legal and financial markets.

Statement of Admission Policy

We seek to identify and offer admission to students with diverse interests and backgrounds, who demonstrate unusually strong academic and personal promise. The review of applications is holistic.

Consideration is given to all the features of the application, with emphasis on your record of undergraduate and graduate achievement, aptitude, personal experiences, interests and character.

The Admissions Committee considers a host of academic, professional and personal factors in its attempt to evaluate each applicant’s demonstrated potential for enriching the law school community, the profession and society.

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Admission as a First-year Applicant

There are 3 admission categories:

  1. General Application Category
    The majority of applications are made in the General category. In this category, you must have successfully completed at least 3 years of full-time undergraduate study (or equivalent) of an approved course, leading to a degree at a recognized university, by the end of May in the year of entry.
  2. Mature Application Category
    You must have at least 5 complete years (that may not be consecutive) of non-academic experience (experience outside of full-time study) by September of the year of entry to apply as a Mature applicant. With growing numbers of excellent applications in recent years, admission through the Mature category is virtually as competitive as the General category.
  3. Indigenous Applicants
    Indigenous applicants, including those of Indian (status and non-status), Métis and Inuit heritage, represent unique groups in Canada and are given special consideration when applying to the Faculty of Law. We strongly encourage Indigenous applications. Current Indigenous students, the Indigenous Students’ Association Faculty Advisor, the Manager of the Indigenous Initiative Office, the Assistant Dean and students are delighted to speak with you about life at the law school. Email the JD Admissions Office to arrange an introduction.

Filing Applications

Submit the following documentation directly to OLSAS by November 1, 2020, when you apply to the first year of the JD program (General, Mature and Indigenous categories):

  1. OLSAS application
  2. Official and original copies of all postsecondary academic transcripts
  3. Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score(s)
  4. A Personal Statement (plus a resumé – for Mature category applicants only)
  5. An additional essay (optional)
  6. The Black Student Application Process (BSAP) Essay – mandatory for applicants selecting the BSAP stream

If you are a Mature applicant, you must submit the resumé in (4) using Secure Applicant Messaging (SAM) in the OLSAS application.

References are not required and, if submitted, will not form part of your file. Interviews are not used for admission.

OLSAS applications are due by 11:59 pm (ET) on November 1, 2020. OLSAS applications, including the documents in (4), (5) and (6), must be submitted by the listed deadline even if other required documents are not yet complete or available. Submit late documents directly to OLSAS as soon as they become available. Applications will be reviewed only after all documents are received.

Read Additional Information for All Applicants.

Admission Process

We will notify you by email about the admission decision. We expect to make 3 main rounds of offers of admission: The first in early December, the second in late January and the third in mid-March. We establish a waiting list when we expect that all of the places in the class may be filled (around the beginning of April).

Conditional Offers of Admission

If you apply to the JD first year with undergraduate courses/degrees in progress, we may admit you on the condition that you complete those courses/degrees prior to enrollment. We will list admission conditions in your offer letter. Official final transcripts are due at OLSAS by June 30, 2021.

Deferral of Admission

Written requests for deferrals are considered on an individual basis after you are offered admission, accept our offer of admission and pay the admission tuition deposit. Deferrals may be granted at the discretion of the Chair of the Admissions Committee.

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Admission as a Transfer JD Applicant

If you have successfully completed your first year only of a JD or Bachelor of Law (LLB) program at another common law school (Canadian or non-Canadian), we encourage you to apply for entry into the second year of our JD program.

An application is considered when you have completed at least 3 years of full‑time undergraduate university studies and at least 4 of the JD program’s foundation courses, which include:

  • Administrative Law
  • Canadian Constitutional Law
  • Contract Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Legal Process
  • Property Law
  • Torts

Generally, transfer students will qualify for the University of Toronto’s JD degree after completing 2 years of study at the law school.

Transfer credit will be considered and granted, where appropriate, for first-year law courses successfully completed at another common law school. Transfer credit will not be granted for law courses completed at another law school after its traditional first-year terms, including summer courses.

Note: As a transfer student, you are not eligible to participate in the Student Exchange Program.

Combined Programs for Transfer Applicants

Transfer applicants may apply for admission to 1 of our combined programs (see Combined Programs).

Application Procedure for Transfer Applicants

You must submit the following documentation directly to OLSAS by May 1, 2021:

  1. OLSAS application
  2. Official and original copies of all postsecondary academic transcripts, including final grades for law school courses
  3. LSAT score(s)
  4. Personal Statement
  5. A letter from your current law school indicating you are in good standing and have not been subject to any disciplinary actions
  6. An additional essay (optional)
  7. The BSAP Essay – mandatory for applicants selecting the BSAP stream

Your current law school must submit the required document in (5) directly to OLSAS.

OLSAS applications are due by 11:59 pm (ET) on May 1, 2021. You must submit your OLSAS application, including the documents in (4), (5), (6) and (7) by the listed deadline even if other required documents are not yet complete or available. Submit late documents directly to OLSAS as soon as they become available. Applications will be reviewed only after all documents are received.

Read Additional Information for All Applicants.

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Admission as a Letter of Permission (LOP) Applicant

If you have successfully completed 2 years in a JD or LLB program at another law school, you will be considered for admission. You may apply to study for up to 1 academic year at the University of Toronto as a visiting student on an LOP.

Your current law school issues the LOP. As an LOP student, you do not receive a JD from the University of Toronto. Rather, you receive a law degree from your current law school (subject to its degree requirements).

Application Procedure for LOP Applicants

You must submit the following documentation directly to OLSAS by May 1, 2021:

  1. OLSAS application
  2. Official and original copies of all postsecondary academic transcripts, including final grades for law school courses
  3. LSAT score(s)
  4. Personal Statement
  5. An LOP from your current law school
  6. A letter from your current law school indicating you are in good standing and have not been subject to any disciplinary actions
  7. An additional essay (optional)
  8. The BSAP Essay – mandatory for applicants selecting the BSAP stream

Your current law school must submit the required documents in (5) and (6) directly to OLSAS.

OLSAS applications are due by 11:59 pm (ET) on May 1, 2021. You must submit your OLSAS application, including the documents in (4) and (7), by the listed deadline even if other required documents are not yet complete or available. Submit late documents directly to OLSAS as soon as they become available. We will review applications only after all documents are received.

Read Additional Information for All Applicants.

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Admission as a National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) Applicant

Regardless of your immigration status in Canada, if you have a law degree from outside Canada or a civil law degree from the province of Quebec and are seeking to qualify to practice law in a common law province in Canada, you must first consult the NCA.

The NCA examines the qualifications of internationally trained applicants and makes recommendations on behalf of the Law Society of Upper Canada (and all other law societies in Canada) as to the further study of law required before you are qualified to enter a province’s licensing process. In most cases, the NCA will recommend that you successfully study specific subjects. You may demonstrate successful study of these subjects by completing specific courses at a Canadian law school or by passing NCA challenge examinations.

Options at the Faculty of Law

There are 2 options at the law school for those who would like to meet the NCA’s requirements:

    1. Global Professional Master of Laws (GPLLM) program
      The GPLLM program is an executive-style, 12-month graduate degree focused on law from an international perspective. Classes are held 1 evening per week and on occasional weekends and are taught by a combination of distinguished faculty and experienced practitioners. Among the 4 program concentrations (Business Law; Canadian Law in a Global Context; Innovation, Law & Technology; and Law of Leadership), the concentration in Canadian Law in a Global Context provides 9 courses designed to meet the NCA’s requirements for internationally trained lawyers:

      • Business Organizations
      • Canadian Administrative Law
      • Canadian Constitutional Law
      • Canadian Criminal Law
      • Contract Law
      • Foundations of Canadian Law
      • Professional Responsibility
      • Property Law
      • Tort Law

      Plus, an additional optional course, Applied Legal Research & Writing. GPLLM law courses in the other concentrations may also be available to you.

      Depending on your NCA assessments, you may simultaneously complete both the GPLLM graduate degree and meet some or all your NCA requirements.

      Read more about the GPLLM.

    2. Specific JD program courses
      Lawyers with non-Canadian legal education and training may also apply to take certain courses in the JD program at the law school to fulfill NCA requirements. We facilitate the professional accreditation of internationally trained lawyers by admitting some NCA applicants each year to take specific courses for credit alongside JD students. For this option, the Foundations of Canadian Law and Professional Responsibility courses are not available as individual (stand-alone) JD courses for meeting NCA requirements.

 

  1. Admission is on a fee-per-course basis (estimated at $7,592 plus HST [13% tax] per course for 2021-2022; subject to change in future academic years). Selection is based primarily on your performance in previous legal studies (including the results of NCA challenge exams) and the Admissions Committee’s assessment. If you have failed any NCA challenge exam, you will not be considered for admission. NCA students are not eligible for financial assistance from the Faculty of Law.

Note: Interviews for articling placement in Ontario generally occur during the summer, 1 full year prior to the start of the placement. Consult the Law Society of Ontario or call 416-947-3300 to confirm procedures and deadlines for the Articling Program and the Law Practice Program.

Application Procedure for NCA Applicants

You must submit the following documentation directly to OLSAS by May 1, 2021:

  1. OLSAS application
  2. A copy of the NCA assessment, sent directly from the NCA to OLSAS
  3. A copy of the results of all NCA exams taken
  4. A written note specifying if you intend to take, or not take, any NCA exams before enrolling at the law school
  5. LSAT score(s), if the LSAT was taken
  6. Official and original law school academic transcripts
  7. A Personal Statement

You must submit the requested documents in (3) and (4) using SAM in the OLSAS application.

OLSAS applications are due by 11:59 pm (ET) on May 1, 2021. OLSAS applications, including the documents in (4) and (7), must be submitted by the listed deadline even if other required documents are not yet complete or available. Submit late documents directly to OLSAS as soon as they become available. Applications will be reviewed only after all documents are received.

Read Additional Information for All Applicants.

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Combined Programs

The Faculty of Law partners with other faculties and departments at the University of Toronto to offer a number of special combined degree programs.

Combined programs allow students to complete the JD program and 1 partner graduate degree program together. The combination refers to being registered in the 2 programs simultaneously rather than in a single packaged program of blended courses. With the combined registration, you complete the 2 degrees sooner than if you took them separately.

For combined programs, you must apply separately to each program by each program’s application deadlines and procedures and satisfy each program’s admission requirements. The partner program will apply its own admission standards for selection.

Important: In the OLSAS application, for the program choices, select both the appropriate JD program (first-year or transfer) and the desired combined program(s) (e.g., JD/MBA).

The University of Toronto currently offers the following combined programs:

Degree Combination Partner Program Duration
JD/MA Master of Arts – Criminology 3 years
JD/MA Master of Arts – Economics 3 years
JD/MA Master of Arts – English 3 years
JD/MA Master of Arts – European and Russian Affairs 4 years
JD/MBA Master of Business Administration 4 years
JD/MGA Master of Global Affairs 4 years
JD/MI Master of Information 4 years
JD/MPP Master of Public Policy 4 years
JD/MSW Master of Social Work 3 years with a BSW completed
4 years without a BSW
JD/PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Criminology See combined programs website
JD/PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Economics See combined programs website
JD/PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Philosophy See combined programs website
JD/PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Political Science See combined programs website

As a prospective combined program student, be aware that because the first year of each of the combined programs includes only courses at the Faculty of Law, it is possible to apply to the combined programs during the first year of the JD program.

In addition to these combined programs, we offer a number of certificate and collaborative programs, which you can apply to internally at the law school during the course of your JD studies and not through OLSAS.

These programs include:

  • Certificate in Aboriginal Legal Studies
  • Certificate in Environmental Studies
  • Certificate in Sexual Diversity and Gender Studies
  • Collaborative Program in Jewish Studies

Read more about each combined, certificate and collaborative program (including contact information).

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Financial Aid

The JD Financial Aid program at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto was designed and developed by students for students. A committee of faculty members and elected students, chaired by the Assistant Dean, JD Program, administers and monitors this aid program. A couple basic ideas frame our JD Financial Aid programs and policies.

  • We are committed to ensuring that financial aid is available to those students who require it most.
  • We believe that the emphasis on financial need as the main criterion for financial assistance serves both the law school and the broader community by ensuring access to legal education. The vast majority of our financial aid is allocated on the basis of financial need.

In 2019-2020, the JD Financial Aid program distributed over $4.3 million in bursaries and loan interest payments. 82% of students who applied for financial aid received it, and the average bursary was approximately $12,500.

If you apply for financial assistance, you must also apply for government student assistance.

All domestic University of Toronto JD students (including transfer students) are eligible to apply for the Faculty of Law JD Financial Aid program. LOP, NCA and international students are not eligible to apply for our JD Financial Aid program.

For an instant estimate of aid funding from the law school use our exclusive online calculator. The calculated aid package will be an estimate for 1 year of study and will be tailored to your financial means. The calculator allows you to obtain a funding estimate before or after applying for admission.

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Residence and Housing

Incoming first-year JD students admitted by May 15, 2021, can access approximately 30 guaranteed spaces at the on-campus Graduate House residence.

If you are seeking housing for your family, you should consider the U of T Student Family Housing high rise units, located a 15-minute walk east of the law school. There are 2 guaranteed housing spaces for these units for first-year JD students.

In early May, JD Admissions will send an email with instructions on how first-year JD students may secure either type of guaranteed residence space.

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Additional Information for All Applicants

Add Our Email Address to Your Contact List as a Trusted Sender

We will use email as the primary means of communicating with applicants, including acknowledging the receipt of your application via OLSAS and our final admission decision. As we may use a secure mass emailer, provide a valid email in your application and add admissions.law@utoronto.ca as a contact to your email address book. This will ensure that you will receive our messages in your inbox rather than in a spam/junk folder.

Fee Waivers

You may request an exemption from the $100 institutional fee for our law school if you are applying for entry into the first year or transfer into the second year. Fee waivers must be approved prior to submitting the OLSAS application.

Apply for a fee waiver.

Automatic Fee Waiver

If you have received a Canada Student Grant for Persons from Low Income Families at any time over the past 6 years, we will automatically waive our institutional application fee ($100). To receive this waiver, check the appropriate box in your online submission.

The option will appear in the “School Submission” section of your application. For more information, email the JD Admissions Office.

Late Applications

If you believe you will not meet the application deadline due to the late arrival of supporting documents, then it is best that you still apply by the application deadline, instead of waiting for all of your documents before you apply. By applying by the deadline, you will avoid the need to make a written request to allow a late application.

We will consider requests to submit late applications. Late application requests should be emailed with attachments. Email your late application requests with attachments.

We will be more receptive to requests for late applications that are accompanied by unofficial copies of all postsecondary transcripts (and LSAT scores, if the LSAT was taken by the time of the request).

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The LSAT is required of all first-year JD, transfer and LOP applicants. It is not required for NCA applicants.

If you wrote the LSAT more than once, the Admissions Committee will consider all of the results. Emphasis will be placed on the highest score. For entry in 2021, the earliest acceptable test is the June 2016 test. The latest acceptable test is the January 2021 test. You are strongly encouraged to take the LSAT on an earlier test date. You must have a completed LSAT comprising of both the Multiple Choice portion and the LSAT Writing portion in order to matriculate.

Personal Statement and Optional Essay

The Admissions Committee does not conduct interviews. For this reason, you are required to submit a Personal Statement and are encouraged to provide an optional essay.

Use these documents to highlight your academic, personal and professional accomplishments, and share with the Committee a more 3-dimensional picture of yourself and your vision for your legal education at the University of Toronto.

The Personal Statement is part of the OLSAS application. The context of the Personal Statement is not prescribed; however, we encourage you to use the Personal Statement to share your “story” with the Admissions Committee.

You may wish to outline the following in the Personal Statement:

  • How your identity, background and experiences will contribute to the diversity of the law school.
  • Your choice of undergraduate program and institution.
  • The extent to which it has prepared you for studying law.
  • Any anomalies in your academic record, including false starts, fewer than 5 courses over 2 terms and introductory courses taken in third or fourth year of a program (if applicable).

The Personal Statement is also an opportunity to highlight your non-academic accomplishments and any circumstances that may have contributed to, or detracted from, your academic and non-academic success, such as the response to disadvantage due to adverse personal or socio-economic circumstances or to barriers faced by cultural (including racial and ethnic) or linguistic minorities and the impact of temporary or permanent physical disabilities. You may want to write to the Committee about the different ways you see yourself contributing to the law school and legal community.

We encourage Indigenous applicants to outline their interest in, identification with, and connection to their communities in their personal statements.

You should use your optional essay to provide additional personal information. Submit 1 essay that addresses 1 of these topics:

  1. A meaningful intellectual experience
  2. A vision of your future goals
  3. How you overcame obstacles to achievement
  4. How your identity, background and experiences will contribute to the diversity of the law school (if not already addressed in the Personal Statement)

Successful personal statements and essays tend to be those that feature clear and authentic writing. All personal statements and essays of applicants who are offered admission are read independently by at least 3 (and as many as 6) Admissions Committee members. The Admissions Committee includes students, senior administrative staff and faculty members.

Additional Information for the Black Student Application Process (BSAP)

The UofT Law BSAP is an optional application stream for first-year and transfer applicants who self-identify as Black. The aim of this application process is to increase and support Black law student representation at the University of Toronto. Members of the Black community take part in admission file review process, which may include UofT Law staff, faculty, alumni and students.

To apply to this process, you must meet the same requirements for the academic record and LSAT as all other applicants. BSAP does not have a designated quota for admission.

You must submit admission materials as per the core JD admission process and the following additional materials by November 1, 2020 (for first-year admission) and May 1, 2021 (for transfer admission):

  1. Self-identification as Black via the OLSAS application in the School Submissions section.
  2. The UofT Law BSAP Essay highlighting why you have chosen to apply through this application stream. This essay must be 2,500 characters or less. You submit the essay via the OLSAS application in the School Submissions section.

Reference Letters

Reference letters are not required and will not be considered if submitted.

Transcripts

If you have completed your undergraduate degree (or completed more than 1 year of study) at a postsecondary institution outside of Canada or the United States, you are expected to submit a third-party course-by-course assessment of your transcripts (from World Education Services) for admission review.

Measures to Safeguard the Integrity of the Admission Process

All application elements for admission to the law school are expected to be complete, authentic, true and, where applicable, your original work. The Faculty of Law reserves the right to verify the authenticity and originality of all submitted application materials and, at its sole discretion, may revoke an offer of admission or take any other reasonable steps to safeguard the integrity of the admission process.

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Contact Information

Admission Inquiries

You are advised to review the admission policies and procedures detailed on the Faculty of Law Admissions website.

Staff members are available to answer questions in person, by telephone or in writing. They are extremely knowledgeable about the admission process and can assist you with most matters about your applications.

JD Admissions Office
Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
78 Queen’s Park
Toronto ON  M5S 2C5
Canada

Telephone: 416-978-3716
Email: admissions.law@utoronto.ca

Information Sessions/Campus Tours

We invite you to meet with us at 1 of our open houses or admission information sessions.

See a complete list of our recruitment events.
Book a campus tour.

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