Study Abroad

Studying law abroad can be a valuable addition to a law student’s legal education. With the increasing globalization of business, society and the legal profession, even students who plan to practice law only in the U.S. can expect to encounter both international legal questions and international clients. The Law School’s study abroad opportunities allow students to develop the cross-cultural competence needed to navigate this changing legal field. Immersion in a foreign legal culture provides students not only with an understanding of different legal systems, but also exposes them to cultural and linguistic contexts unique to each nation. This multi-faceted and flexible understanding of international law helps to prepare students to network, negotiate, and collaborate across multiple jurisdictions and provides personal and professional opportunities not otherwise available at Northwestern. International and comparative study also serves to broaden a student’s perspective on our own legal system as they analyze law in contrast.

Study Abroad Options

Northwestern Law students may participate in summer study abroad programs, semester study abroad exchanges, or our joint-degree programs. A list of summer study abroad programs can be found on the ABA’s website. Because these programs have been reviewed and approved by the ABA, credits earned in most of them are eligible for credit toward your Northwestern Law degree, provided they are pre-approved. Information about our semester study abroad options is detailed below. If you are interested in the joint-degree programs, note that the application process and steps pre and post-departure will be the same as those for the semester-long exchanges.

Semester Study Abroad

In this section:

  • Law School Rules Governing Exchanges
  • Exchange Partners
  • Study Abroad Requirements
  • Steps after Nomination
  • Steps Post-Departure
  • Transcript Information
  • Financial Aid
  • Insurance and Safety Abroad

Law School Rules Governing Exchanges

The Law School has amended Article III, Section 3.01 (d)(2) to include new language which reads in relevant part:

Work in excess of six semester hours taken in other schools...may be counted toward the Law Degree only in the following cases...(iii) as part of an exchange program with the law faculty of a foreign university that has been approved by the Dean after consultation with the Faculty Advisory Committee. The Dean or the Dean's designate may promulgate regulations specifying application procedures and selection criteria for participation in any such program, and shall have discretion to accept or reject the application of a student for reasons of the general welfare of the Law School. The Law School reserves the right to discontinue any program or add new programs for reasons of the general well fare of the Law School.

Exchange Partners

The Law School has negotiated exchange relationships with law faculties abroad. Under these agreements, the foreign schools will send some of their students to Northwestern for a semester, and we will be permitted to send some of our students to their schools in exchange. Our current exchange partners are:

Choosing a Program

How you choose a study abroad program depends on what your goals for the semester are. We have created a document with some additional details about each of our exchange schools along with some useful questions to consider. Please email international.programs@law.northwestern.edu if you would like to meet and discuss the options or review past students’ evaluations of their study abroad experience.

Study Abroad Requirements

Students interested in studying abroad must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum 3.5 GPA at the time of application
  • Semester-long exchanges may take place in fall or spring of 2L year or fall of 3L year onlly

Application Process

Due dates:

  • Fall semester: February 1st of the preceding semester
  • Spring semester: October 1st of the preceding semester

Late applications will not be accepted.

All study abroad applications must include the following:

Applications may be submitted to the Student Services office (MC 166). Letters of recommendation may be included (sealed) with the application or emailed directly to the Director of International Programs.

All study abroad applicants will be interviewed and students will be selected on the basis of merit, maturity, career objectives, and potential for positive contribution to the program.

Steps after Nomination

If you are nominated to study abroad, you must complete the following steps before departure:

  • Complete host school’s application form
  • Complete visa application (through host school)
  • Complete all steps outlined on the Study Abroad Pre-Departure Checklist (pdf)
  • Complete your Individual Academic Plan (pdf). Please note that selection of courses and the credit to be received for them must be approved in advance by the Law School.
  • Participate in any required pre- and post-departure administrative and academic meetings or tasks, including those necessary to ensure that your study will be eligible for credit under the ABA rules.

Steps Post-Departure

  • Any changes to your academic plan must be approved by the Director of International Programs.
  • You will be responsible for completing approximately four check-ins and a mid-term evaluation report(pdf) for your studies while abroad
  • Upon your return, you must complete a study abroad evaluation(pdf) and submit electronic copies of all work completed while abroad to receive credit

Transcript Information

If you receive a C and above grade in the courses you take abroad, the courses will appear on your Law School transcript showing that you earned credit for the course. You will not be awarded a grade for such study, and no grade will be factored into your overall grade point average.

Financial Aid

Students participating in an exchange program will pay their full tuition to the Law School and will be billed as if they were attending a semester here. Students who apply for financial aid through Northwestern will be eligible for all financial aid awards or loans that you would have been eligible to receive if you were attending school here. Students receiving a grant, will receive it in the normal amount. All housing, travel, insurance and book expenses are the responsibility of the participating students. There will be additional fees at host schools such as student activities fees and other incidentals

For questions or additional information, contact the Chicago Office of Financial Aid by e-mail.

Insurance and Safety Abroad

Northwestern University’s Office of Global Safety and Security (OGSS) provides support to members of the university community that travel abroad. Please note that the following Northwestern regulations will apply to any law students studying abroad:

Additional information about safety abroad and advice for student travelers can be found on the OGSS website. If you have any additional questions about travel abroad health insurance, please contact Julie Anne Friend, the Director of Global Safety and Security, at julie.friend@northwestern.edu.

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