Canadian and American Dual JD Program
The University of Ottawa offers a unique four-year dual credential program that allows participants to obtain both the Canadian and the American law degrees. This program is offered jointly by the University of Ottawa and our partner schools in the U.S.
Participants spend two years at Ottawa and two years at one of two U.S. law schools: Michigan State University College of Law in East Lansing, Michigan or American University (Washington College of Law) in Washington D.C.
This is the only program in Canada that allows the students to obtain a U.S. law degree while paying tuition at regular Canadian law student rates during the entire program. Upon completion, students obtain a law degree from each law school, which opens the door to the full practice of law in the U.S. and Canada.
Why get an American and a Canadian JD?
The practice of law in Canada and the United States increasingly reflects the economic and social effects of international integration and globalization. U.S.-Canada trade now exceeds $1 billion per day and is expected to continue to grow. As relations continue to develop across the U.S.-Canada border, law firms and law students are demanding greater knowledge of both legal systems. The University of Ottawa is committed to providing opportunities for its students to become trained in the representation of clients in this cross-border environment and students from both countries can benefit from the Canadian and American Dual JD Program offered by Ottawa and its partner universities.
Graduates from this program can demonstrate to Canadian and U.S. employers that they have an in-depth knowledge of both legal systems as well as practical experience and technical skills applicable to both countries. More importantly, with both degrees, graduates qualify to write the admission examinations in practically all U.S. states or Canadian provinces (except Quebec).
Applying to the Canadian and American Dual JD Program
Anyone can apply to the Dual JD Program when applying for admission to the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. Applicants interested in the dual degree program must address the reasons for their interest in the program, as well as their U.S. school preference, as part of the Personal Statement they provide in their application. Candidates will be selected on the basis of their reasons for wanting to participate in this program, their academic record as well as their work and extra-curricular experiences.
The number of spaces in the program is limited: approximately 12 students each year for Michigan State University and 3 students for American University. Once admitted into the program, application to the American school must be made in the Winter of the year the student wishes to attend the U.S school. Participation in the program is conditional on maintaining the academic standing required by our partner schools. For MSU, students must be in the top half of the class; for AU, students must maintain a B+ (7.0) GPA.
Students currently in the JD program who develop an interest in the Canadian and American Dual JD Program while in law school may still apply at the end of either their first or second year at Ottawa. However, admission into the program at that stage is contingent on a space becoming available.
Students who have applied to the Dual JD program will also be considered for admission into the regular JD. program. Even if an application to the combined program is not successful, the Admissions Committee may nevertheless offer admission into the regular JD program. This information will be contained in the response applicants will receive.
2013 Application Process
Applications must be submitted to the Academic Affairs Office (FTX 237) by Monday, February 25, 2013. A complete application includes:
- Completed application form for Michigan State University or American University
- Letter of Intent
- Law school transcript and LSAT report (or signed consent form authorizing uOttawa to release this information to the partner institution)
- Curriculum Vitae (American University only)
Cost of the Canadian and American Dual JD Program
Students admitted into the program at the University of Ottawa are considered students of the University for the four years of the program. Therefore, for the entire duration of the Dual JD Program, students pay tuition to the University of Ottawa at the regular Common Law rate. Students continue to be eligible for government and university financial assistance on the same basis.
In addition to paying the regular uOttawa tuition fees, students admitted to the dual credential program with American University pay a supplemental fee while at Washington College of Law.
Other Options for Exposure to Legal Education in the U.S.
If you would like to get some exposure to legal education in the United States but do not wish to commit to an additional year of studies, the University of Ottawa has a number of student exchange agreements in place with law schools in the U.S. Through these agreements, you can study in an American school for a term or a year as part of the regular three-year JD program. Although this option will not allow you to write the Bar examinations in the same way an American J.D. would allow you to, an exchange will provide you with a unique perspective on U.S. law.