Upon completion of the program, students receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies. Students can complete the degree in the comprehensive program, or elect one of three specializations: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Human Rights Law, and Information Law.
Course descriptions are available in the UOIT Undergraduate Academic Calendar and Course Catalogue. The online catalogue contains program maps for a general Legal Studies degree, as well as for specializations in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Human Rights Law and Information Law.
Awesome, challenging, and outstanding are words that best describe my undergraduate studies at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). The UOIT Legal Studies Faculty challenged me to become a critical thinker and to adopt a new perspective on the concept of justice. The training and mentorship I received at UOIT prepared me to contribute to the access to justice movement as an empirical researcher and adult educator. Carolyn Carter, Research Consultant, Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)
Alternative Dispute Resolution
In this specialization, students learn to identify the nuances and appreciate the salience of the following questions:
- How does mediation compare and contrast with other forms of social ordering, such as adjudication, arbitration, and negotiation?
- Under what conditions is mediation legitimate?
- Are there certain circumstances in which it is most effective?
- Are there certain kinds of conflicts that do not lend themselves to mediation? Why or why not?
- What kinds of formal and informal accountability shape how mediators perform their roles?
Students in this specialization must choose two ‘ADR clusters’ out of four options of paired courses: one in a substantive area of law and the other a mediation course aligned with that area of law and the particular considerations that characterize the relationships and contexts for these disputes. These paired courses include family law, labour and employment law, human rights law, and criminal law. Completion of courses under our ADR specialization satisfies the educational requirement for the purpose of membership in the ADR Institute of Ontario.
Human Rights Law
Students in this specialization examine how human rights and their bearers are theorized, how entitlements and freedoms may be ordered when in conflict, and processes for invocation in cases of infringement or violation. Students engage with questions such as:
- How does the human rights discourse shape state policies and practices?
- What is the nature of interaction between domestic and international systems in the context of human rights implementation?
- What remedies are available to individuals whose human rights have been violated?
Students in specialization gain familiarity with domestic and international human rights systems as well as related areas of law such as immigration and refugee law, labour and employment law, international law and others.
In the Information Law stream, students examine a variety of socio-legal issues emerging in the context of information and privacy regimes, regulation of intellectual property, censorship and freedom of expression, and related topics. They engage with such questions as:
- What is privacy?
- What personal information should be protected?
- Is government surveillance of individuals’ online activity a violation of privacy?
- How do we draw a balance between freedom of expression, privacy and protection of the public?
Students examine how rapid technological development poses new questions and challenges for these legal regimes, including in relation to cybercrime, online privacy, and regulation of new technologies.
Year to Year
All Legal Studies students begin with a common first-year set of general social science courses, many of which are shared with students in other Faculty of Social Science and Humanities programs. Among those courses students take one course specific to Legal Studies:
- Introduction to Canadian Legal System
Courses specific to Legal Studies begin in the second year, with a block of required foundational courses:
- Legal Research Methods
- Legal Theory
- Private Law
- Public Law
- Research Methods (introducing quantitative and qualitative social science methods)
- Restorative Justice
Second-year students then choose two of three courses that prepare them for upper-year courses in the three specializations:
- Canadian Human Rights Law
- Information and Privacy Law
- International Law
In the third year, students in both the comprehensive and the specialization streams are required to complete a Communication course on Persuasion, and a selection of courses from two clusters. One cluster is dedicated to the study of law and diversity:
- Disability and the Law
- Indigenous Peoples, Law and the State in Canada
- Race, Ethnicity and the Law
- Gender, Sexuality and the Law
The other cluster features courses on the interdisciplinary study of law:
- Sociology of Law
- Philosophy of Law
- Law and Globalization
- Cultural Studies of Law
- Law and Technology
Students in the comprehensive stream then fill out their program with a mix of Legal Studies electives and general electives. Students in the specialization stream are required to complete additional courses geared towards specializations.
Legal Studies students all have the same fourth-year requirements:
- Law and Social Change
- Leadership and Administration
- either the Legal Studies Integrating Project or the two-semester Honours Thesis
- at least two 4000-level Legal Studies courses (one of which can be the Practicum)
- one additional 3000- or 4000-level Legal Studies course