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Graduate Calendar Archives: 2007 / 2008



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The Department

Chair of the Department: Peter Swan
Supervisor of Graduate Studies:R.P. Saunders

The Department of Law offers a program of advanced study and research leading to a Master of Arts degree in Legal Studies. The program is open to full-time and part-time students.

The Department also offers a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution. Further information can be found at the end of this section. The M.A. program provides an interdisciplinary, theoretical, and research-oriented approach to studying law as a social and political institution, with emphasis on the relationship between law and social transformation. The plan of studies includes a range of fields linked by a common theoretical and methodological concern with the way law shapes and is shaped by its social environment. The program is designed to develop the conceptual and analytical skills required for conducting independent research on law and society.

Within this context, students will focus on one or more of the following areas of specialization:

  • Legal Theory and Social Theory
  • Law, Crime and Social Order
  • Women, Law and Gender Relations
  • Political Economy of Law
  • International and Comparative Legal Regimes
  • Social History of Law

The location of the M.A. program in Legal Studies at Carleton provides students with a wealth of resources for research purposes. As well as the resources of the MacOdrum Library, students will have access to extensive Canadian and international research material through the Social Science Data Archives located at Carleton. The Library of the Supreme Court of Canada, the National Library, the National Archives, the Library of Parliament, Statistics Canada, and the Centre for Justice Statistics are all located in Ottawa. Ottawa houses many federal government departments and agencies, and the national headquarters of non-governmental organizations such as the Elizabeth Fry Society, the John Howard Society, and the National Association of Women and the Law. Many government departments and non-governmental organizations maintain specialized libraries, and offer access to documents and other research materials.

Qualifying-Year Program

Applicants with exceptional promise who have less than B.A.(Honours) status may be admitted into a qualifying-year program designed to raise their standing to honours status. To be considered for admission into the master's program, students must obtain at least a high honours average in their qualifying-year courses.

Master of Arts

Admission Requirements

The requirement for admission into the M.A. program in Legal Studies is an Honours bachelor's degree or the equivalent, with at least high honours standing.

Applicants will be considered for admission on the basis of their academic background and standing. Where relevant, previous professional experience may be taken into account.

Applicants without a background in law may be required to complete one or more designated courses from the department's undergraduate program before taking courses towards the master's degree.

The deadlines for submitting applications for graduate studies in the Legal Studies program are as follows: February 1 for students seeking financial assistance and June 1 for students not seeking financial assistance. If the program is able to consider applications for January admission, the applications are due November 1.

Program Requirements

In consultation with the supervisor of graduate studies, each candidate is required to complete one of the following programs of studies:

  • 3.0 credits and a 2.0-credit thesis (LAWS 5909), which includes an oral examination.
  • 4.0 credits and a 1.0-credit research essay (LAWS 5908)

All students are required to take LAWS 5000 and LAWS 5001. These courses provide students with a common theoretical and interdisciplinary framework for the program.

In addition, students are encouraged to take 0.5 credit in a related discipline, in consultation with the supervisor of graduate studies.

All students must obtain satisfactory grades in their course work; make satisfactory progress in their research; maintain a close working relationship with their thesis or research essay supervisors; and attend seminars on current research and related topics.

Thesis/Research Essay

The thesis or research essay must represent the result of the candidate's independent research undertaken after being admitted into graduate studies in the Department of Law. Previous work of the candidate may be used only as introductory or background material for the thesis or research essay.

A student may carry on research work related to the thesis or research essay off campus if the work is approved in advance and supervision arrangements have been made with the supervisor of graduate studies.

Guidelines for Completion of Master's Degree

Full-time students are expected to complete the required two courses, LAWS 5000 and LAWS 5001, and either an additional 2.0 credits (for those following the thesis program), or an additional 3.0 credits (for those following the research essay program) by the end of the second term of registration. The thesis or research essay should normally be submitted by the end of the fourth term of study.

Part-time students are expected to complete the required two courses, LAWS 5000 and LAWS 5001, and either an additional 2.0 credits (for those following the thesis program) or an additional 3.0 credits (for those following the research essay program) by the end of their third year of study. The thesis or rsearch essay should normally be submitted by the end of the fifth year of study.

Certificate in Conflict Resolution

The Department of Law offers a program of advanced study leading to a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution.

The Certificate provides an interdisciplinary program of study emphasizing theoretical models of conflict and its management and/or resolution, and integrating skills and techniques in the field. The program has an academic structure and a professional orientation, and is directed to individuals whose work involves negotiation or coping with conflict. The program develops in students an intellectual foundation and applied skills to enable them to function effectively in their field.

Interested students should contact the Department of Law for information concerning admission and program requirements, scheduled courses, and fee schedules.

Graduate Courses

Not all of the following courses are offered in a given year. For an up-to-date statement of course offerings and to determine the term of offering, consult the class schedule at

Core Courses

The compulsory courses are designed to give substance to the major objectives of the program. They provide the theoretical and interdisciplinary framework which will set the terms of discussion and debate for the program. The courses are designated as compulsory because it is anticipated that students will be drawn from both law and social sciences backgrounds, and consequently there is a need to provide a central and shared basis for the whole program.

LAWS 5000 [0.5 credit]
Theories of Law and Social Transformation
Examines three groups of theories of law (liberal, sociological and Marxist) focusing on different ways law is conceived as an object of inquiry and on different accounts of trajectories of legal development. Potential of law for realizing or inhibiting social change provides analytic framework.
LAWS 5001 [0.5 credit]
Legal Method and Social Inquiry
Introduces problems of research strategy and methods. Explores contrasting methodologies in legal research; evaluates methodologies employed in understanding legal reasoning, discourses, and practices. Includes seminars in which participants present outlines of their own research projects, focusing on methodologies and research questions.

Other Law Courses

LAWS 5002 [0.5 credit]
Law and Gender Relations
Examines theoretical approaches informed by significance of gender to structure and operation of law. Concepts such as essentialism, difference, cultural determination, and social construction of gender relations examined in context of contemporary feminist debates. Focus on understanding and facility with feminist analysis and methodology.
LAWS 5003 [0.5 credit]
Law, Economy and Society
Addresses the relationship between law, economy, and society. Competing theoretical accounts of the relationship between legal regulation and social and economic change explored through selected historical and contemporary case studies.
LAWS 5004 [0.5 credit]
Law, Crime and Social Order
Examines theoretical dimensions of relationship between law, state, crime, and social order. Explores scope and limitations of criminal justice system as an agency of social control. Examines shifts in forms of social order and their relation to changes in criminal law and sanctions.
LAWS 5005 [0.5 credit]
Law, State and Politics
Examines theoretical explanations of relationships between law, state and politics, Selected areas such as rights theory, rule of law, separation of powers or judicial review may provide focus.
LAWS 5006 [0.5 credit]
Historical Perspectives on Law and Society
Examines historical relationship between social forces, law and legal institutions and utility of historical forms of knowledge and methods to legal studies. Surveys selected issues in private, public and criminal law.
LAWS 5007 [0.5 credit]
Race, Ethnicity and the Law
Examines ways race and racism interact with gender and class in shaping legal system. Explores ways legal system institutionalizes racism and potential for using the legal system to combat racism. Selected areas such as immigration law and native rights may be used to illustrate themes.
LAWS 5008 [0.5 credit]
Consuming Passions: The Regulation of Consumption, Appearance and Sexuality
Examines rise of consumption and private pleasures and their regulation and self-regulation. Social history of regulation of two fields of consumption: surfaces of the person: personal appearance, in particular of dress, the body, sexuality; and intakes of the body, focusing on food, alcohol, drugs. (Also listed as SOCI 5204.)
LAWS 5100 [0.5 credit]
Advanced Problems in Legal Philosophy
Studies in legal theory and analyses of law advanced by Hart, Dworkin, and others, and legal concepts: for example, principles, rights, duties, liability, etc. Precise course content will vary from year to year and will be announced at the beginning of the term. (Also listed as PHIL 5100.)
Prerequisites: either LAWS 3105 or LAWS 3101 (PHIL 3101) and LAWS 3102 (PHIL 3102), or permission of the Department.
LAWS 5200 [0.5 credit]
International Economic Law: Regulation of Trade and Investment
Study of regulation of international economic activity. Discussion of relevant international institutions, legal aspects of integration, governmental regulation of trade and investment. (Also listed as INAF 5507.)
Prerequisite: Open only to students in their master's year who have not studied international economic law.
LAWS 5302 [0.5 credit]
Feminism, Law and Social Transformation
Exploration of nature and possibilities of feminist engagement with law. Policies and strategies of law reform and/or social transformation formulated and evaluated through application of theoretical frameworks to particular topics. Significance of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and human rights legislation is examined.
LAWS 5305 [0.5 credit]
Crime, Social Change and Criminal Law Reform
Examination of the ideological and practical consequences of criminal law reform and policy initiatives undertaken by the state. Specific reform proposals examined to illustrate possible alternate responses to social problems and the varying effects of these responses.
LAWS 5400 [0.5 credit]
Law, Economy and the Regulatory Process
Relationship between law, the economy, and the regulatory process. Examines models from political and economic perspectives, and impact of theories of regulation on regulatory practice and enforcement. Selected topics may be drawn from labour law, housing and consumer protection, environmental protection, and anti-combines legislation.
LAWS 5405 [0.5 credit]
Canadian Labour Law Policy from a Comparative Perspective
Examines major influences on formation of Canadian labour law policy using a comparative perspective to highlight divergencies in Western democratic nations. Question if and why Canadian labour law is distinctive. Includes collective bargaining and regulation of individual employment relationships.
LAWS 5500 [0.5 credit]
The Canadian Constitution
Familiarizes students with terminology, principles, and doctrines of judicial interpretation of Constitution Acts 1867-1982 and other constitutional statutes. Emphasis on division of legislative powers in the Canadian federation.
Prerequisite: open only to graduate students in their master's year who have not previously studied Canadian constitutional law.
LAWS 5503 [0.5 credit]
Advanced Legal Problems of Federalism
An advanced study of selected Canadian constitutional problems including constitutional revision. Some comparisons with other federal systems may be made.
Prerequisite: a course in Canadian constitutional law, for example LAWS 5500, or permission of the Department.
LAWS 5506 [0.5 credit]
Advanced Administrative Law Problems
An in-depth study of selected legal questions involving the activities of public authorities.
Prerequisite: a course in administrative law or permission of the Department.
LAWS 5603 [0.5 credit]
International Law: Theory and Practice
Examines various theoretical perspectives on international law and locates role international law plays in the international system. Topics include basis, creation and sources of international law, international dispute resolution, and international law and world order transformation. (Also listed as INAF 5505.)
LAWS 5900 [0.5 credit]
Tutorials/Directed Readings in Law
Tutorials or directed readings in selected areas of law, involving presentation of papers as the basis for discussion with the tutor.
LAWS 5901 [0.5 credit]
Tutorial/Directed Readings in Law
Tutorials or directed readings in selected areas of law, involving presentation of papers as the basis for discussion with the tutor.
LAWS 5903 [0.5 credit]
Contemporary Topics in Legal Studies
A research seminar which explores a selected topic from current debates in legal studies. Students should check with the Department regarding the topic offered.
LAWS 5904 [0.5 credit]
Contemporary Topics in Legal Studies
A research seminar which explores a selected topic from current debates in legal studies.
LAWS 5908 [1.0 credit]
M.A. Research Essay
LAWS 5909 [2.0 credits]
M.A. Thesis

Selection of Courses in Related Disciplines

In addition to the graduate courses offered by the Department of Law, students in the M.A. program are encouraged to take 0.5 credit in a related discipline, in consultation with the supervisor of graduate studies. Listed below are courses offered by other academic units that can be taken towards the requirements of the M.A. in Legal Studies. This list is not exhaustive and is subject to change.

In certain circumstances (with the approval of the supervisor of graduate studies) up to 1.0 credit may be selected from among those offered at the 4000-level.

Note: Students should be aware that the number of spaces in graduate courses offered by other departments may be limited, and that registration may be conditional upon obtaining the prior approval of the department concerned. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that permission is obtained from the appropriate department prior to registering in any of the department's courses.

Students are advised that there is no guarantee that all of these courses will be offered in any given year, or in any given term. 1.0 credit courses are scheduled over two terms and students interested in these courses must consult the graduate supervisor. Students should check the current University timetable to ensure course availability and schedule when planning their program.

Canadian Studies
CDNS 5100, CDNS 5200, CDNS 5201

ECON 5302, ECON 5303, ECON 5308, ECON 5403

GEOG 5400, GEOG 5401, GEOG 5404

HIST 5206, HIST 5300, HIST 5509, HIST 5808

International Affairs
INAF 5203, INAF 5306, INAF 5100, INAF 5305, INAF 5402, INAF 5405, INAF 5505, INAF 5507, INAF 5808

Journalism and Communication
JOUR 5401

Political Science
PSCI 5100, PSCI 5507, PSCI 5509

PSYC 5104, PSYC 5107, PSYC 5202

Public Administration
PADM 5002, PADM 5203, PADM 5306, PADM 5607, PADM 5608, PADM 5609, PADM 5804

Sociology and Anthropology
SOCI 5206,SOCI 5300, SOCI 5302, SOCI 5306, SOCI 5308, SOCI 5400, SOCI 5404, SOCI 5405, SOCI 5408, SOCI 5409, SOCI 5504, SOCI 5600, SOCI 5607, SOCI 5608, SOCI 5707

Social Work
SOWK 5101, SOWK 5106, SOWK 5301, SOWK 5302, SOWK 5704

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