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We invite applications from JD students/ JD graduates interested in pursuing a Master in Laws (LLM) project, with a focus on how human life cycles are understood.

We hope to hear from JD students who have an interest in health law, geriatric law, maternal health law, Indigenous law, and others regarding how to understand and explain life stages. Currently, the legal and health care communities are becoming aware that their abilities to understand and respect all aspects and bodies of knowledge regarding birth, life and death are still minimal. Graduate work is one of the ways cultural and legal knowledge can be explored and presented to others so that health sciences and legal circles respect the importance of these ways.

The origins of this LLM project began through funding of a scientific research project that focuses on how the biological moment of death is determined. Many other policies and practices rely upon that moment as a way to define other matters, such as when organs may be donated.  Canadian law has so far relied solely on the biomedical understandings to evaluate these policies and practices without consideration of other understandings. By being part of a larger circle of researchers that includes Indigenous scholars from other institutions, this project would also help shape conversations that continue into the future. As that circle is already learning from Knowledge Keepers, Elders and cultural leaders elsewhere, this project may interact with the work of more senior scholars. The LLM student creating this project will learn from, and contribute to, the efforts that work to challenge systemic exclusions in the biomedical and legal fields.  

Co-supervised by Professors Jennifer Chandler and Signa Daum Shanks, the LLM student creating this project will have an opportunity to broaden their academic efforts in health law, Indigenous law, and the history of health sciences reinforcing colonizing attitudes about the value of Indigenous knowledge. Funds of $15,000 (with possible additional $15,000 for a second year of studies, in appropriate circumstances) are available to support this student.

Interested applicants should have completed JD no later than the summer of 2023. If you have any questions, we warmly invite you to contact Professor Daum Shanks ( or Professor Chandler ( as soon as possible (and preferably before January 15, 2023). Should you want more details about the general application process in the meantime, please visit the faculty website for graduate studies in law (

We look forward to hearing from you!