Justice and Legal Studies BA

Justice and legal studies

Examine law, justice and judicial processes in Canada and in a global context

Evaluate how justice and legal institutions both shape and are shaped by government and society. Learn how the law and legal processes can either enhance or frustrate the pursuit of justice and the goal of improving life.

The Justice and Legal Studies program (JLS) is an interdisciplinary program administered by the Department of Political Science. As such it benefits from being part of one of the premier law and politics departments in Canada.

This innovative program examines a broad range of justice and legal issues in an interdisciplinary fashion. It helps students build a foundation of understanding of the principles of law and justice. Students then choose an area of emphasis to both leverage faculty strengths and focus their studies.

Program Completion Requirements

5 Areas of Emphasis to Choose From

The BA in Justice and Legal Studies is an honours major. Take core courses that introduce you to law, justice and legal institutions. Examine case studies that connect to larger socio-economic and political systems. Then choose one of the following areas of emphasis:

  • Canadian Politics and Governance
  • Global Relations and Governance
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Business and Management

  • Law from a Political Science Perspective
  • Corruption, Scandal and Political Ethics
  • Law, Politics & Judicial Process
  • Comparative Law & Courts
  • Human Rights, Ethics and Development
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Women, Justice & Public Policy
  • Development, Social Justice & Human Rights
  • Business & Consumer Law
  • Law & Society


Develop critical and creative thinking skills. Learn to research a problem and reason on information. These skills, along with a global understanding and sharpened communications skills will serve you well throughout your career. In addition, gain specialized skills in legal research and an understanding of legal processes in Canada — ideal for pursuing further studies in preparation for careers in legal professions.

Sample Careers

  • Paralegal
  • Lawyer
  • Policy Analyst
  • Journalist
  • International Aid Worker
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Immigration Officer
  • Non-Governmental Organization
  • Customs Officer
  • Government Relations

"Students will benefit immensely from delving into real-world cases and will have a fantastic hands-on opportunity to prepare their capstone project based on real-world scenarios."
— Kate Puddister, Assistant Professor

Choose a Co-op option for real-world experience

The co-op program gives you the opportunity to gain relevant work experience, build professional networks and develop essential interpersonal skills needed to succeed in the workplace, all while getting paid and earning your university degree.

The JLS co-op program includes three co-op work terms in addition to eight academic semesters, for a total of four and a half years of study at the University of Guelph.

Co-op Program Completion Requirements

Meet Your Professor

Benefit from the expertise and individual attention of your instructors. The Department of Political Science faculty is comprised of acclaimed researchers and award-winning teachers who pride themselves on being available to you.


Take the next step

Start the application process and explore options for funding your education.

Interested in Becoming a JLS Major?

A limited number of spots will be available on a competitive basis to students who were not admitted directly into the Justice and Legal Studies major from high school. Internal BA students wishing to transfer majors into JLS must apply directly to the Department of Political Science in June. To be eligible for a possible transfer after first year, applicants must have an overall GPA of at least 70% (minimum of 4.00 credits) and have successfully completed one of JLS*1000 Introduction to Justice & Law, ANTH*1150 Introduction to Anthropology, or SOC*1100 Sociology with a 70% GPA in the course.

Justice and Legal Studies (JLS) Undergraduate Calendar

The Department of Political Science will consider internal BA students wishing to apply to transfer majors into the JLS program for Fall 2024. The deadline to apply to transfer is June 1:

  1. Using an @uoguelph email address, email JLS@uoguelph.ca with the subject line "Transfer Request"
  2. Include your unofficial transcript
  3. Accepted transfer students will be notified by email by June 15

If you are a University of Guelph student in a non-BA program or are a student at another institution, you will need to apply to transfer through Undergraduate Admissions.

Get More Information

To learn more about the Justice and Legal Studies BA program, contact jls@uoguelph.ca.