The students of the 2022-2023 Foreign-Trained Lawyers Program cohort

Foreign-Trained Lawyers Program

Earn your National Committee on Accreditation requirements in one academic year.

 

Diversity means having a legal profession that reflects our population.

Dr. Kara Mitchelmore

CEO, Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education

Become an accredited lawyer in Canada

The Foreign Trained-Lawyers Program (FTLP) is a 13-month Post-bachelor’s Certificate offered by the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary for internationally-trained lawyers who wish to become accredited to practice common law in Canada.

The FTLP is custom-built for the particular needs of internationally-trained lawyers, both those who are newcomers to Canada and Canadians who have chosen to go to law school abroad and wish to return to Canada to practice common law.

FTLP covers the five core National Committee on Accreditation common law subjects in which internationally-trained lawyers must demonstrate competence: Canadian Criminal Law, Canadian Constitutional Law, Canadian Administrative Law, Foundations of Canadian Law, and Ethical Lawyering/Professional Responsibility.

NEW: We are pleased to announce that our Law 430 Professional Development course, which includes substantial training in legal research and writing, is NCA-approved and satisfies the NCA's new requirement for legal research and writing.

The FTLP has several showcase features. It includes a unique two-term Professional Development course, which focuses on pre-articling skills training and which is designed to equip internationally-trained lawyers with the practical legal skills necessary to compete in the articling placement market-place. All lawyers wishing to practice in Canada must do approximately 12 months of articles and the FTLP has a dedicated Career Advisor to guide and assist students in acquiring articles. The FTLP is also an approved program of study for student loans from the Alberta Government. If you are from a Canadian province or territory other than Alberta, you can apply to receive government student loan assistance by applying through your home province or territory.

Our FTLP students are part of a vibrant, inclusive and supportive community and have the same access to Faculty of Law facilities as JD students, including the Bennett Jones Law Library and the law student lounge. Upon graduation our FTLP students become part of the alumni of Canada’s most innovative law school.

This is the best investment of my entire life.

Pallabi Ghose

UK law graduate, student in the 2022/23 program

Tuition information

FTLP students are assessed tuition and general fees listed in the Tuition and General Fees chart. Please refer to the Academic Schedule for payment deadlines.

Application requirements

A person stands in a hallway holding a textbook

Who should apply?

The FTLP is designed to meet the unique needs of internationally-trained lawyers who wish to practice common law in Canada. Those internationally-trained lawyers fall into two broad categories:

  1. Newcomers to Canada, including international students, who have obtained their legal education in common law, civil law, or both, and may have practiced law in their home jurisdictions, and either have obtained their Canadian Permanent Residence or Citizenship status, or will have the requisite immigration status to work in Canada when they do their articles after program completion.
  2. Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents who have obtained their legal education in common law, civil law, or both, outside Canada and have returned or are intending to return to Canada to practice common law. 

NOTE: You must apply to the National Committee on Accreditation to receive your Assessment Report detailing the Canadian common law subjects that you need to pass before applying to the program.

Attention: International Applicants

Before completing this application, we strongly advise that you contact our International Student Services Office for information about being an international student in Canada, study permits, work permits, and any related visa and immigration considerations which you may need to take into account. The Program representatives cannot provide advice regarding immigration issues.

Please be aware that completion of the Program does not guarantee that you will become a Permanent Resident of Canada.

Please refer to the section “Licensing and Employment Process for Foreign Trained Lawyers” to ensure that you understand the pathway to practice for foreign trained lawyers in Canada. In order to complete Step 3 “Complete your Articles,” you will need to have the appropriate immigration status to enable you to be able to work in Canada.

This program is the complete package.

Pruthvisinh (Pru) Thakor

Lawyer from India, student in the 2022/23 program

The minimum requirements for admission to the FTLP Post-Bachelor's certificate are:

  1. completed law degree (LLB, JD, or equivalent) from an approved, recognized, accredited or otherwise accepted law school;
  2. A valid National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) Assessment Reportissued within the last five (5) years, that shows required courses and law degree information; 
  3. A valid NCA Assessment Completion Report (if applicable) that shows any progress made since receiving the NCA Assessment Report;
  4. Proof of English language proficiency, measured via one of the below methods:
    1. The language of instruction of the Applicant’s legal academic qualifications was English, and such qualifications were obtained in a country where English is an official language, or;
    2. Completion of the International English Language Test System (IELTS) Academic test, with a minimum score of 7.0 across all of the following elements: writing, speaking, reading and listening, and;
  5. Your personal statement (maximum 750 words) stating who you are, your non-academic pursuits, your lived experiences, and three (3) reasons why you want to take the program;
  6. Your resume.

Admission to the program is competitive, and meeting the minimum requirements above does not guarantee admission to the program. Approximate Thirty (30) students will be granted admission each year unless otherwise noted.

Applications are now open

International student applications are due February 15, 2023

Domestic student applications are due May 31, 2023

*Note: Offers of admission will be made on a rolling basis. The sooner we receive your completed application, the sooner it can be reviewed.   

The program is amazing and I truly appreciate the level of care we receive.

Igor Kyryliuk

lawyer from the Ukraine, student in the 2021/22 program

Program requirements

Two students sit at a table with a laptop and textbook in front of them

Students in the FTLP must complete the following 24 units of coursework achieving a satisfactory performance:

  • Law 420: Foundations of Canadian Law
  • Law 430: Professional Development
  • Law 400: Constitutional Law
  • Law 410: Crime: Law & Procedure
  • Law 503: Administrative Law
  • Law 510: Ethical Lawyering

Course descriptions can be found in the University Calendar.

For clarity, successful completion of Law 400, 410, 420, 503 and 510 fulfills the educational requirements of the five core subjects in the Canadian-specific content outlined by the NCA in its Policy Manual June 1, 2021. Those NCA core subjects are Canadian Administrative Law, Canadian Constitutional Law, Canadian Criminal Law, Canadian Professional Responsibility (also known as Ethical Lawyering), and Foundations in Canadian Law.

Subject to availability and upon approval of the Associate Dean (Academic), FTLP students may take one additional Law course in addition to the FTLP requirements and pay no additional tuition.

While admission to the FTLP guarantees those students admission to FTLP courses, it does NOT guarantee FTLP students admission to JD courses. The JD program is separate from the FTLP and FTLP students must keep in mind that some JD courses may be full at the time of application and not all JD courses are offered every academic year. Any further JD courses that you may wish to take are strictly upon approval of the Associate Dean (Academic) and are subject to extra tuition fees. The Associate Dean (Academic) will take all relevant factors into account when reviewing an application from an FTLP student to enroll in a JD course.

If the NCA's assessment requires additional courses on top of the requirements outlined above, students may take up to three (3) additional Law courses upon approval of the Associate Dean (Academic) and upon payment of the applicable per-course tuition fee

The additional courses are:

  • Law 402: Contracts
  • Law 404: Property
  • Law 406: Torts
  • Law 505: Civil Procedure
  • Law 507: Evidence
  • Law 509: Business Associations
  • Law 515: Family Law
  • Law 527: Basic Tax Law
  • Law 575: Remedies
  • Law 598: Trusts

The FTLP Post-bachelor's Certificate is a 13-month program of study. The maximum time allowed to complete the FTLP is three (3) years. Any student wishing to take longer than one academic year to complete the Program, should contact the Director of the FTLP. Approval is granted only in exceptional circumstances.

The best part of the Program is the Director’s encouragement of us all and her insight as a foreign-trained lawyer. She has been extremely supportive of us all and looks out for our needs.

Sanchia Thompson

lawyer from the UK, student in the 2021/22 program


Licensing and employment process for foreign-trained lawyers

Apply to the NCA

Apply to the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) for assessment of legal qualifications.

Visit NCA

Complete NCA requirements

Complete NCA exams, course work or law school program as outlined in your NCA assessment.

Once complete, you will receive your Certification of Qualification.

Complete your articles

Secure an articling placement for eight (8) to twelve (12) months. You must also apply for, and complete the Bar admissions course.

Alberta Bar Admission Program

Get called to the Bar

Once your articles are complete and you have finished the Bar admissions program, you can arrange to be called to the Bar at an Alberta court, and you can apply to the Law Society of Alberta for a license to practice law.


The most exciting part of this Program for me is the chance to make a meaningful contribution to the journey of foreign-trained lawyers and to be part of a vibrant and diverse community. There is very much a family feel among the students in the Program and it’s important to continue that in the future.

Dr. Kellinde Wrightson, PhD

Director of the FTLP

Frequently asked questions

Two students sit at a table looking at a textbook

The Foreign-Trained Lawyers Program qualifies for funding from Alberta Student Aid. Information about how to apply can be found on the Government of Alberta website. If you are from a Canadian province or territory other than Alberta, you can apply to receive government student loan assistance by applying through your home province or territory.

No. Applications to the Program without a valid NCA Assessment Report will not be considered. Your NCA Assessment Report cannot be carried out until you have completed your law degree. Therefore, you need to have finished your law degree and the NCA must have issued you with your NCA Assessment Report before you apply to the Program. Check with the NCA directly to find out the current turnaround time for the issuing of assessment reports.

No. Applications to the Program without a valid NCA Assessment Report will not be considered. Your NCA Assessment Report cannot be carried out until you have completed your law degree. Therefore, you need to have finished your law degree and the NCA must have issued you with your NCA Assessment Report before you apply to the Program. Check with the NCA directly to find out the current turnaround time for the issuing of assessment reports.

No. You cannot take the courses individually. You will have to apply for admission to the Program as a whole.

No. You need only submit copies (not originals) of your university transcripts with your application. We will confirm with the NCA directly that your copies conform with the originals which you will have provided to the NCA.

If you met with the NCA’s language requirement, you are exempt from submitting an IELTS (Academic) test.

No. Letters of reference or recommendation are not required to apply to the program.

Our LLM programs are not approved as law degrees sufficient for admission to the Canadian common law law societies and do not allow students to satisfy the requirements for law society admission through the NCA.

No. The Program is government approved as an in-person Program. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and any restrictions which may be in place from time to time, it is possible that one or more courses in the Program may be taught online. However, the Program remains in-person and attendance on campus is required.

A resume and cover letter are the basic tools you need to apply for jobs. For the Foreign Trained Lawyer’s Program (FTLP) application, we require you write a basic resume targeted to the FTLP. Career Services offers a wealth of online and in person resources for creating a resume. Once you are admitted to the FTLP, you will also have access to the dedicated Career Advisor who will support you with career coaching including improving your resume, creating a cover letter, providing job search strategies, interview skills and networking. A good place to start for now is the career clips created by Career Services.

No. The Program is government approved as a full-time Program. Students in the Program may apply to the Director of the Program for part-time status or a leave of absence if they can demonstrate exceptional and special circumstances which justify that request.

Unfortunately we do not offer scholarships at this time.

No. We are not authorized to offer advice with respect to immigration matters, including study permits, work permits, and visas. The University of Calgary provides general assistance on immigration matters for international students. Please contact our International Services team at iss@ucalgary.ca for assistance.