Undergraduate studies in Political Science, Public Policy and Public Law can lead to a variety of career pathways upon graduation. Students entering their 4th year of studies that are looking to enter the workforce within such areas of interest should start researching potential opportunities in the Summer session prior to their last year of studies. Students entering their 4th year of studies that are looking to advance their studies may also consider graduate school studies.
Graduate and Professional School
The next level of university education following a bachelor’s degree is a master’s degree. They are normally one to two years long, and can be course-based or thesis/research-based. There are three broad types of master's degrees
These are programs that normally require completion of a bachelor’s degree (though sometimes they may require only partial completion of an undergraduate degree) and that lead to professional designations. Example: and law school.
Colleges offer certificates (normally 1 year in length), fast-track diplomas (normally 2 to 3 years in length shortened to 1-2 years for university graduates), and graduate certificates (normally 8 months to 1 year in length). Visit www.ontariocolleges.ca.
Graduate certificates require the completion of an undergraduate degree or college diploma for admission, and thus are very attractive to university grads, as they build upon knowledge and experience gained through your bachelor’s degree.
|Graduate School||Professional School||College|
|Level||Master's degree (then Doctorate)||Second-Entry Bachelor's or Master's degree (depends on field of study)||Certificate, Fast-Track Diploma, Graduate Certificate|
|What is it?||Intensive study of a particular area/subject, often involving a strong research focus||Study leading to a professional designation such as teacher, pharmacist or social worker||Training in skills-focused areas such as addictions counselling or marketing|
|Duration?||1-2 years (or more)||Varies, generally 2 years or more||1-2 years|
|Admission Requirements||Generally a strong GPA, research experience, references||Strong GPA, relevant experience, extra-curricular involvement, references||University degree, demonstrated interest in particular areas|
What is Law?
Law is the profession of interpreting laws, applying them to client situations and providing legal advice. It involves informing clients of their legal rights and responsibilities and providing representation in situation such as negotiations, courts, and tribunals. The legal profession also involves a significant amount of research and preparation of legal documentation and contracts. There are many areas of specialization, including business law, tax, law, intellectual property law, criminal law, family law and labour law. (UTM "Preparing for Law" tipsheet)
What are the common academic requirements for Law programs?
- Three years (15 credits) in any undergraduate program in university, although most law schools prefer a completed degree
- Most successful applicants have a cumulative GPA of A-
- LSAT score at a minimum is the top 70-85th percentile
Law School Tips
- Start early! Law schools require a high GPA. Many look for demonstrated interest in law on your application.
- Improve your GPA: Visit the AA&CC and the Centre for Teaching & Learning to improve your academic skills.
- Cultivate References: Get to know a few professors early so that they write a strong reference letter for you.
- Get Involved: Join volunteer and cocurricular activities that demonstrate your skills and ongoing interest in a career in Law.
How to become a lawyer in Ontario?
- Law degree from an accredited institution
- Skills and Professional Responsibility program
- 10-month articling experience under the supervision of a qualified lawyer, OR an 8-month Law Practice Program
- 2 full-day 6-hour multiple choice Bar exam
How do I apply?
The application process is centralized through OUAC’s Ontario Law School Application Service (OLSAS): www.ouac.on.ca/olsas Applications are typically due at the beginning of November every application year.
Typical Application Timeline
Begin 1 year prior to your desired Fall start:
- August - Create your OLSAS account
- October - Complete the online application
- By Novermber - Submit all supporting documents
- April - Admission decisions are made, conditional on academic performance
- June - Submit final transcript to confirm strong academic performance
- Autobiographical Sketch
- LSAT (Law Shool Admission Test) Score
- Personal Statement
- Offical Transcript(s)
Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
- Administered by Law Schools Admissions Council (LSAC)
- Standardized multiple choice examination designed to measure skills essential for success in law school
- Offered 4 times a year: February, June, September, and December
- Six 35-minute sections: 1. Logical Reasoning 2. Reading Comprehension 3. Logic Games 4. Experimental 5. Variable section 6. Writing Sample
Reasons to consider further education
Reflect on the reasons for considering further study. It is a decision that only you can make, and each person will make the decision for their own reasons.
Are you curious about further study? You might think about the following reasons to pursue further education:
- Your occupational goal requires a postgraduate qualification, for example, to become a counsellor or a lawyer.
- You have a passion for a particular subject area. For example, you might be especially interested in studying Public Policy. Do some research online re if/how it may relate to your career goals. Speak to a career advisor at the Academic Advising and Career Centre AA&CC if you’re unsure.
- You want to enhance your employability by adding an asset. For example, a student interested in human resources or corporate communications could pursue a post-graduate college certificate. You may want to look for programs that have a co-op or internship component too!
- To make a change in direction. You may have found that the subject of your undergraduate degree was not a great fit for you, and going into a different field of study can allow you to make a switch. For example, if you studied business but now find yourself more interested in the field of health, you could look at graduate degrees or post-graduate certificates that could take you in this direction.