Resting on the coastal port of British Columbia, Canada, Vancouver is one of the largest metropolitan cities in North America; it is home to a world-renowned film industry and a uniquely diverse population. Vancouver (also known as Saltwater city) provides the ideal environment for young students who are seeking a future in law or legal studies.
In particular, for those who are interested in environmental law, maritime law, feminist law, or indigenous law, Vancouver’s law schools place a lot of emphasis on issues related to broader ecological and social concerns. Students who are interested in law are encouraged to consider Vancouver as a destination to pursue their law degrees.
Why Study Abroad in Vancouver?
According to the QS World Rankings, Vancouver rests at the number 6 spot of most desirable student cities. As a study destination, Vancouver offers an exciting and easygoing life for young people who are looking to start their educational future. There are some well-known features about the cultural life in Vancouver, and plenty of landmarks for you to visit during your educational journey.
- This year, Vancouver was named the third most liveable city in the world (after Melbourne and Vienna), achieving perfect scores (100/100) in the categories of Healthcare, Culture & Environment, and Education, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Summary of Liveability Ranking”.
- Vancouver locals often enjoy a swim in Canada’s longest swimming pool, the Kitsilano Pool. The length of Kitsilano (known as “Kits Pool” to the locals) exceeds that of three Olympic swimming pools, and is the city’s only heated salt water pool. That means, no matter which time of year, you can enjoy a swim after your exams.
- Vancouver is also sometimes called Hollywood North, referring to the fact that it is the third-largest film capital North America and the second-largest in TV production. Several well-known film studios have found a comfortable home in Vancouver, and you can count on running into a few famous actors and film-makers as you stroll around the city.
For students living in Vancouver, there are plenty of programmes and institutions where they can find a world-class education. Colleges and universities in Vancouver achieve global recognition for their innovative programmes and their student culture. Depending on your future prospects or educational desires, Vancouver has plenty of opportunities for you within a bustling and lively city.
Why Study Law in Vancouver?
It is important to note that, in Canada, a law degree is a professional degree. Much like American law schools, Canadian law schools will admit graduate students who have completed a Bachelor’s degree from any educational background, so long as they score well on the LSAT exam and perform to a high level in their undergraduate studies. Law isn’t a discipline for undergraduates; rather, students tend to study a variety of fields including political science, literature, philosophy, and economics; they then begin their study into law once they enter the graduate level.
In Canada, the various law schools and institutions are divided in their law practices and legal systems. Some of the schools, particularly in the Eastern part of Canada (near Quebec) focus primarily on civil litigation (i.e. private law matters lawsuits), while British Columbia and other provinces are concerned with ‘common law’ – that is, centered around matters of legal precedent, and determined under strictly binding case law.
With the global connections in law firms and schools that extend out from Vancouver, students will have a strong advantage in their career prospects and opportunities. Moreover, the Peter A. Allard School of Law is well-known for awarding a prize to people or organisations who are committed and devoted to eliminating corruption and securing human rights. If you’re keen to remain involved in these realms of common law and wish to associate with such an important cause, you would be right in the heart of it if you study in Vancouver.Teaching style within Vancouver universities
- Undergraduate courses are generally lecture-style classes, with smaller class sessions throughout the semester
- Graduate courses are smaller, seminar-style classes meant to prepare for professional development.
Law schools that offer English-taught courses in Vancouver
- Peter A. Allard School of Law –University of British Columbia (QS World Rankings #31; WUR #2 in Canada)
The law school offers two separate degree tracks:
- L.L.M. in Law (research-intensive degree programme)
- LLM in L.L.M. in Common Law (one-year, course-based programme)
Learn more about the best universities in Canada.
Career resources for Law students in Vancouver
- Take a look at the Vancouver Bar Association, and learn about the large non-profit organization of lawyers and attorneys in the Vancouver area. This association is involved in setting the integrity standards and rules to which lawyers are bound when practicing law, and they also set up meetings and events involving the local legal community every year.
- Join the British Columbia Legal Management Association (BCLMA), and see what opportunities they offer within the legal community of the entire province. Located in North Vancouver, BCLMA helps with the professional development of its members, and bolster the success of law firms in the area.
- Look into the faculty openings at the Allard School of Law, and instruct young students just like you.
- Keep up with news about the legal community in Vancouver and subscribe to The Advocate – a magazine published six times per year by the Vancouver Bar Association.
Living in Vancouver: accommodation and transportation
Due to its geographical surroundings, Vancouver’s dense population and development makes it a rather expensive city to live in. However, to minimise the standard housing costs in Vancouver, city officials have built up their public infrastructure to offset the steep cost of living. These features include a strong public transportation system and a city-wide network of bicycle lanes.
Renting an apartment (average rate per month in US dollars):
- 1 Bedroom apartment in City Centre: $1,500
- 1 Bedroom apartment outside of City Centre: $1,130
- 3 Bedroom apartment in City Centre: $2,800
- 3 Bedroom apartment outside of City Centre: $2,000
Student on-campus housing
UBC recommends specific housing options for graduate and upper-level students. Most of these accommodations are designed for a year-round contract, and do not include meal plans. Below is a list of the recommended residence halls and their corresponding rates:
- Fraser Hall (Year-round contract): $811 - $1,271 per month
- Marine Drive (Year-round contract): $893 - $1,167 per month
- Ponderosa Commons (Year-round and Winter Session): $899 - $1,108 per month
- Iona House: $887 - $1331 per month
- Student Family accommodations can be found at Acadia Park (Year-round): $1,108 - $1,969 per month
One unique feature of Vancouver is the lack of freeways that run through the city. In the 1950s, when the city proposed to build a freeway system through the city and into Vancouver’s Chinatown, local residence joined in protest to prevent the expansion of any freeways through the city. Today, Vancouver has one freeway that runs through its city limits – Highway 1 – and only borders the eastern edge of the city.
The city has also introduced a bike share system in June 2016, called Mobi. The rates to use the Mobi bike share service are:
- $129 for a 1-year standard plan (includes unlimited 30-minute rides)
- $159 for a 1 year plus plan (includes unlimited 60 minute rides).
- $ 75 for a 90 days pass (includes unlimited 30-minute rides)
Mobi users can also get a $ 9.75 per day daily pass (for unlimited 30 minute rides).
Vancouver also has a reliable public transit system, and riders can get a monthly ticket for $74.
Tuition cost for law students in Vancouver
Tuition for the Peter Allard School of Law at UBC changes depending on the degree track:
- LLM in Common Laws: $985.96 per credit (for international students)
- LLM in Law: $2,756.86 per installment; $8,270.58 per year (international students)
Fellowships and scholarships for law students in Canada
International students studying law in Vancouver have access to a limited number of scholarship awards. Students can apply for the John Peters Humphrey Fellowship, if they are working in a field related to international human rights. The Stasiuk Master’s Research Fellowship is also available to anyone concerned with matters regarding Ukraine or Canada-Ukraine relations, with respect to education, history, or law.
Students who are specifically doing the LLM in Law track may be eligible for the International Tuition Award. This is a highly competitive, yet prestigious award designed for hard-working and ambitious graduate students. Check their site to see if you are eligible.
Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies.
Learn how to get a visa for studying in Canada here!