Published In

Dalhousie Law Journal

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



legal education; doctoral studies; legal methodology


This article explores the purpose, structure and experience of doctoral studies in Canadian law schools. Relying on an auto-ethnographic methodology, where we draw on our personal experience as doctoral students, we identify three tensions in doctoral studies in law. We explore how these tensions — between practice/theory, structure/space, and supervisory/other relationships — emerge from the structure of doctoral studies in law and how they manifest themselves in the lived experience of doctoral students. We detail how these tensions are product of the ambiguous and underexplored nature of doctoral studies in law. By making these tensions explicit, we encourage doctoral students, law professors and administrators to reflect more critically on the place of doctoral studies in Canadian law schools.

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