Students in the Foreign-Trained Lawyers Program

Foreign-Trained Lawyers Program

Earn your National Committee on Accreditation requirements in one year

Applications are open for 2022-2023.

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 one-year 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 will help you complete the educational requirements of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s National Committee on Accreditation (NCA). In our FTLP you will receive high-quality legal education in Canadian common law taught by experienced professors and senior practicing lawyers. We recognize that meeting the educational requirements of the NCA is only one part of the journey of internationally trained lawyers who want to get their licenses to practice common law in Canada and that securing an articling position as a student-at-law is a necessary step before applying for a license to practice common law.

A unique feature of our FTLP is the inclusion of a year-long Professional Development course where you will receive skills-based professional development training aimed at giving you a competitive edge when you do your articles and enter the Canadian legal services marketplace. The FTLP has its own dedicated Careers Advisor who assists our students with personalised career coaching and networking, and assists in securing interviews for articling jobs.

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.

The FTLP qualifies for funding from Alberta Student Aid. 

The best part of the Program for me is the style of teaching, the structure and honestly the fact that we’re in our own little cohort and can become close with each other while helping each other navigate through the process of becoming accredited lawyers in Canada.

Caitlyn Yarnell

UK law graduate, student in the 2021/22 program

Application requirements

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Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

Who should apply?

The FTLP is designed to meet the needs of internationally-trained lawyers who wish to practice common law in Canada. Internationally-trained lawyers fall into three general categories:  

  1. International students who have obtained their legal education in other countries and/or are already practicing law in other countries but wish to immigrate to Canada, or have already immigrated to Canada;
  2. Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have obtained their common law legal education outside of Canada, and;
  3. Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have obtained a civil law degree within or outside of Canada.

NOTE: You must apply to the National Committee on Accreditation to receive your assigned requirements before applying to our 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. 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;
  4. 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;
  5. Your resume.

Admission to the program is competitive, and meeting the minimum requirements above does not guarantee admission to the program. Thirty (30) students will be granted admission for the 2022-2023 program.

The application cycle for 2022-2023 Foreign Trained Lawyers Program starting in September 2022 is open. 

*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

Tuition and fees ($CAD)

Tuition (full program)

$30,000.00

Additional courses (per course; subject to availability and approval)

$5,000.00

General University fees (2021/2022)

$527.44

Textbooks and materials (approximately)

$1,500.00

Tuition, fees and funding

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.

Applicants who are newcomers to Canada may also be eligible for a microloan from Windmill Microlending. Windmill Microlending is a registered charity serving newcomers since 2005 and offering microloans to help skilled immigrants and refugees continue their careers in Canada.

Successful applicants to the FTLP who have an acceptance letter from the FTLP can apply to Windmill via the Windmill application link below. We are working with Windmill to expedite the application process for our students. Please email lawFTLP@ucalgary.ca with questions or for more information.

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

Program requirements

Two people sit in a room chatting.

Students in the FTLP must complete the following 24 units of coursework achieving a satisfactory performance (C- or higher, or Completed Requirements (CR)):

  • 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 July 21, 2020. Those NCA core subjects are Canadian Administrative Law, Canadian Constitutional Law, Canadian Criminal Law, Canadian Professional Responsibility, 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.

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

Students are expected to complete the FTLP Post-bachelor's Certificate in one (1) academic year. The maximum time allowed to complete the Program is three (3) years. Any student wishing to take longer than one year to complete the Program, must apply to the Director for approval. Approval is usually granted only in exceptional circumstances.

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


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.


Frequently asked questions

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.

Applicants who are newcomers to Canada may also be eligible for a microloan from Windmill Microlending. Windmill Microlending is a registered charity serving newcomers since 2005 and offering microloans to help skilled immigrants and refugees continue their careers in Canada.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.