If you are an internationally trained lawyer or law graduate interested in pursuing an LLM in Canada, Osgoode’s Foundations Program is designed to provide you with the language, analytical and writing skills needed to succeed in your studies and beyond. We know that international students can face numerous challenges when beginning graduate legal studies in Canada. Our program provides a transitional period for you to develop and perfect your skills in a small-group setting, with tutoring and support built-in. The program is also ideal for prospective NCA candidates looking to improve their language and writing skills before embarking on the accreditation process.
The 9 month program runs from September to May each year and is divided into two parts. Part 1 is a four month pre-LLM language program at York University’s English Language Institute. Part 2 is a five month foundational program for graduate legal studies at Osgoode. While most students will take both parts, those with strong language skills are welcome to apply for Part 2 only.
Part 1: YUELI’s Pre-LLM Language Program (September to December 2015)
YUELI’s four month pre-LLM language program is designed to provide you with the legal terminology, language and writing skills you need to succeed in one of our LLM programs. Through the program, you will:
Improve on your 6.5 or 7.0 IELTS or equivalent language score and study the language of the law in a small group, law-focused environment perfect grammar and structure in your writing work with legal terminology and documents necessary for successful LLM study practise your professional speaking and presentation skills Students will participate in four hours of class per day, five days a week. Class size will be limited to 15 students per class.
Part 2: Foundations for Graduate Legal Studies (January to May 2016)
Part 2 is designed to provide you with the foundation you need for successful graduate legal studies. Whether you are a civil trained lawyer or a common law trained lawyer from another jurisdiction, through this program you will learn the format, content and expectations of law school study in Canada and develop the legal, analytical and writing skills required for successful performance in your LLM and subsequent legal career.
Through the program, you will:
- study the foundations of Canadian public and private law in a small group setting
- learn and practise legal, analytical and writing skills by building from simple to more complex problems and documents, with opportunity for small group and individual feedback and tutoring
- lay the foundation for successful performance in your LLM courses and subsequent law job search and career.
- Courses and Course Descriptions
Orientation to Law
This course is a two-week intensive introduction to law school study in Canada. The 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 and preparing case summaries. There will be regular homework consisting of smaller exercises as well as some larger written assignments.
Introduction to Graduate Legal Analysis and Writing
This course focuses on the development of graduate-level skills in legal analysis and writing for international students. The materials, classes and evaluation methods of the course are designed to: (1) assist students to acquire the tools required to perform sound legal writing; (2) assist students to develop ways to analyze common-law legal problems that will be applied in future LLM study and/or legal careers; and (3) assist students to use provided frameworks to create a range of commonly legal documents and assignments in the LLM program and beyond, including legal memoranda, legislative and case commentaries, and graduate level legal papers.
Students will learn and practise legal, analytical and writing skills by building from simple to more complex problems and documents, with opportunity for small group and individual feedback and tutoring. The primarily assignment-based nature of this course requires a significant and “steady” time commitment.
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 class presentations and engage in sophisticated oral legal argument and debate
- Have achieved at least a 7.0 IELTS score (or equivalent)
The Foundations Program is designed to prepare internationally trained lawyers and law graduates for further graduate legal studies and/or the legal accreditation process. It is particularly well suited for those interested in our International Business Law or Common Law LLM specializations. In many cases, applicants to those programs who are not granted admission in a given year will be provided with a conditional offer of admission for the following year, with admission being conditional on completion of the Foundations Program with a grade of “Pass with Honours”.
Parts 1 and 2 combined: You can attend if you are an internationally-trained lawyer or law graduate with an English proficiency score of 6.5 IELTS or higher (or equivalent). For language test score equivalencies, visit York’s Language Proficiency Tests web page.
Part 2 on its own: You can attend if you are an internationally-trained lawyer or law graduate with an English proficiency score of 7.0 IELTS or higher (or equivalent).
Note that while we do accept applicants with 7.0 IELTS scores directly into Part 2, if you have a 7.0 IELTS or equivalent, we recommend that you consider taking Part 1 to boost your language skills before entering Part 2.
The application deadline for Part 1 and 2 combined is June 15, 2015. The application deadline for Part 2 on its own is October 15, 2015.
There is an application fee of $50. Note that this fee will be waived for applicants who have applied for another of our LLM programs but choose to take the Foundations Program instead.
- copy of language proficiency test results
- copy of law degree transcripts and any post law degree transcripts
- personal statement explaining why you wish to join our program (500 words max)
- Part 1: $8,000 CDN
- Part 2: $12,000 CDN
Plus material fees and applicable taxes. Fees are due in full prior to enrollment in classes. Fees may change without notice.
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