This program leads to the degree of “J.D. with Specialization in International Legal Affairs”. An international specialization student may also obtain a concentration in one of the four concentration areas.

Admission to the Program

You may apply for the program any time after the completion of your first year of law school by completing a request for admission to the JD-ILA program.   Please note you will need to provide a copy of your CV and transcript when you apply.

Program Requirements

Students in the program must complete 89 credit hours (rather than the traditional 84 required of J.D. students). The 89 required credit hours must include:

  • Conflict of Laws – Required Course.
  • One “Group 1” course: Public International Law or International Human Rights.
  • One specifically designated comparative law course that is general in scope and includes instruction in civil law systems. The course may have a regional focus. Students may satisfy this requirement by taking Comparative Law: Civil Legal Traditions or one of the other “Group 2” courses listed below.
  • At least three additional international or comparative law electives totaling a minimum of 7 credit hours, from the list provided under “Group 3” below.

With the approval from the International Programs Office, a course in the Law School’s Semester Abroad Program may be taken as a substitute for one of the required Group 1 or Group 2 courses. The course must be at least two credits. In the case of a proposed substitute for Public International Law or Conflict of Laws, the course must be substantially similar to the course that would have been taken at Cornell. In the case of a Comparative Law course, it must meet the criteria for such courses set out above.

Please note that in deciding whether you can complete the program requirements, JD-ILA program students will be allowed to take a maximum of 18 credits per semester during the second and third years. No exceptions can be made to the 18-credit maximum.

With the approval of the Assistant Dean for External Education, a student may receive 2 credit hours towards the 89 credits by making a substantial contribution (as defined below) to the Cornell International Law Journal.

Also, with the approval of the International Programs Office, a student may receive 1 credit hour toward the required 89 credits by participating as a member of the Cornell team in one of the international moot court competitions. Such a student must make a substantial contribution to the team brief and to oral argument in the competition.

All requests seeking approval must be emailed to the International Programs Office at

JD/ILA students enrolled in the joint law and management program need take only 86 hours (rather than 89) but may not count management courses for the program total-hours or course requirements


Students interested in the J.D. with Specialization in International Legal Affairs will have the following courses to choose from during the 2021-22 academic year. The Director for International Programs, in consultation with the Chair of the International Committee and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, will update the courses in Groups 2 and 3 annually, in advance of the fall pre-registration period. Students are encouraged to speak with the Director for International Programs to discuss course selection before doing their pre-registration.

The Conflict of Laws course is required for all students in the program and must be taken before graduation. Students in the program must take at least one course from both Group 1 and Group 2 before graduation. In addition, the student must elect at least three courses totaling at least 7 credit hours from Group 2 or Group 3. A course in Group 2 may be used to satisfy the Comparative Law requirement or an elective requirement but not both.

Review these courses in the Course Catalog.

Group 1

  • 6192 Conflict of Laws (3) (Course Required)

One of the following is required:

  • 6561 International Human Rights (3)
  • 6791 Public International Law (3)

Group 2

  • 6161 Comparative Law: Civil Law Traditions (3)*
  • 7440 Law and Social Change: Comparative Law in Africa (4)

The Comparative Law requirement also may be satisfied by taking 6177 at the Cornell-Paris I Summer Institute, together with a supervised writing on a comparative law topic during the following Fall semester.

Group 3


  • 6307 Disaster Law (2)
  • 6451 Federal Indian Law (3)
  • 6465 Global M&A Practice (1)
  • 6561 International Human Rights (3)
  • 6514 Foreign, Comparative and International Research (2)
  • 6564 International Taxation (3)          
  • 6661 Constitutional Law of the European Union (3)
  • 6681 International Law and Foreign Direct Investment (3)
  • 6744 Contemporary Chinese Law and Society (2)
  • 6890 Tax Treaties (3)
  • 6981 International Trade and WTO Law (3)        
  • 7311 Immigration and Refugee Law (3)


  • 7123 Chinese Law: Tradition and Modernization (3)
  • 7146 Comparative Legal Philosophy (3)
  • 7187 Disasters and Human Rights (3)
  • 7295 Global Labor and Employment Law (3)
  • 7321 International Criminal Law (3)
  • 7360 International Financial Regulation (2)
  • 7405 Law and Ethics of Armed Conflict (3)
  • 6613 Law and Development (3)
  • 7589 Seminar in National Security Issues & Policy (3)
  • 7599 New Rights, Cyberspace and Law (3)
  • 7675 Issues in Financial Regulation (3)
  • 7785 Law of Genocide and War Crimes Trials (3)


  • 7801 Asylum and Convention Against Torture Appellate Clinic-(4)
  • 7832 Externship – Full Time(12)*
  • 7834 Externship – Part Time (4)*
  • 7847 International Human Rights Clinic: Policy Advocacy I (4)
  • 7855 International Human Rights Clinic: Litigation and Advocacy I (4)
  • 7860 International Human Rights Clinic: Litigation and Advocacy II (4)
  • 7914 Gender Justice Clinic (4)
  • 7915 Advanced Gender Justice Clinic (4)

*If externship is outside the U.S. or with an international organization in the U.S. or a domestic organization in the U.S. practicing international law.

With the approval of the Assistant Dean for External Education, a student may satisfy an elective requirement by:

  • Taking a similar course in other divisions of the University;
  • Taking an approved course in the law school’s Semester Abroad Program;
  • Taking a course offered by the Cornell-Paris I Summer Institute;
  • Completing a supervised writing project in international or comparative Law (provided the student is able to make arrangements with a supervising professor for such a project);
  • Taking Professor Lasser’s Research Colloquium (provided the student is admitted to the class); or
  • Making a substantial contribution to the Cornell International Law Journal. Work on the Journal can alternatively be applied to the program total hours requirement, as explained above, but these are alternative options – if a student elects to have Journal work counted towards his or her credits hours, he or she cannot use the work in substitution for an elective from Group 3.  Similarly, if a student elects to use Journal participation as one of his or her Group 3 electives, he or she must complete an additional 89 credit hours.  In either case, for Journal work to be used as credit hours or a Group 3 elective, the student must make a substantial contribution to the work of the Journal, under the following ground rules (worked out between Journal editors and the faculty of the International Committee). Generally, a student will be deemed to have done sufficient work if he or she does a fair share of prelims, cite checking, proof-reading and the like, and, in addition, (1) serves a year’s term as one of the principal officers of the Journal, or (2) completes the Journal’s writing requirements, or (3) performs the substantial equivalent of such work over the student’s second and third years in law school.

Degree Credit Review, Program Change, or Withdraw Form

Please complete this form to start the process to receive a degree credit review, change your program, or withdraw from a program.

If you have any questions, please contact us at