Beginning in the spring of their second year, students may spend a semester studying at a law school in another country and earn credit toward the J.D. degree. Students may not spend more than one semester away from the Ithaca campus. Priority will be given to 3Ls. Study abroad is not permitted in the spring semester in which a student is scheduled to graduate. Students must be able to complete their courses and final exams at the partner school and return to Cornell by the start of the next semester.

Application Process

The semester exchange and international self-designed “term away” application deadline for each academic year (Fall or Spring semester) is February 15. If you miss this deadline, you will not be eligible for any lottery conducted.

We strongly encourage you to apply for more than one location.  You will have an opportunity during the application process to indicate your preferences, and every effort will be made to match you with one of your first choices.  Keep in mind, however, that this is not always possible. You should maximize your chances to go by selecting up to 5 options. You must complete the appropriate sections of the application, indicating your order of preference and providing all requested information for each site.

The lottery take place as soon as practicable after the deadline, allocating the available slots and placing the remaining people on a waiting list in accordance with the lottery results. If you apply after the deadline for a program that has a wait-list, you will be added to wait-list in the order in which you apply.

Under the lottery system, students who will be in their 3L year during their semesters abroad are given preference over students who will be in their 2L year.

Semester Abroad Partner Institutions

Each partner institution reserves a designated number of places for Cornell students to spend a semester abroad, subject to acceptance by the foreign school.

Before You Travel

Review the pre-departure orientation on risk management abroad. Be sure to print the required International SOS membership card and download the mobile app. Bring it, along with your Emergency Protocol and Procedure Form, with you when you travel.

Travel Registration

Travel registration is mandatory for all students. When you have completed the online registration, you will receive email confirmation; please forward a copy of the confirmation to the International Programs Office, international.law@cornell.edu, immediately upon receipt.

Traveling To Destinations That Are Deemed Elevated-Risk

Students traveling to countries that have been identified as elevated-risk by Cornell’s International Travel Health and Safety Team must apply for ITART Review in addition to registration. ITART approval must be attained prior to departure. The review process can take 6-8 weeks, so please make your application early. The University’s current list of ITART countries is available on the Global Cornell website.

Agreement Release

The Law School requires students traveling abroad to complete an Agreement Release form. As soon as possible, please complete the form and return it, via email, to International Programs at international.law@cornell.edu.

Assess Financial Aid Needs

Students will pay regular Cornell Law School tuition during their exchange or term away semester. The partner or host school will not charge tuition, although there may be other fees (such as health insurance). 

The Cornell Law School Financial Aid office may recommend adjustments to financial aid to cover expenses, fees and related costs, such as travel. Contact the Financial Aid Office to schedule at time to meet and discuss your financial needs.

Cornell Law School Course Registration

Students will need to register for Cornell’s Law Study Abroad class for 12 credits during the pre-registration period. Please let the CLS Registrar, know if you didn’t do this during pre-registration, as the course will need to be added during the Add/Drop period.

Partner School Course and Academic Credit Pre-Approval

To ensure that you receive credits and grades for courses that will satisfy your degree requirements, course credits must be evaluated and pre-approved by the study abroad advisor.  Academic credits are calculated according to ABA standard 310-1: Determining Credit Hours for Coursework

As each host institution has different standards for determining course credit, students will need to provide us with the following information about the courses they are interested in enrolling in:

  • The list of courses;
  • The number of times per week the class meets;
  • The duration of each class;
  • The beginning and ending date for each class;
  • The total number of times the class meets per semester/ block or module (depending on your host’s school class structure) (e.g., 10 times for 50 minutes each  time,  for a total of 500 minutes);
  • Whether or not the class has a final exam; and
  • Hours listed for each course by the exchange partner school.

If any of the courses involve forms of faculty instruction outside of the traditional classroom setting, i.e. clinical work, field placements, or tutorials, please let us know that as well.

Students must take the equivalent of 12 Cornell credits when studying abroad. If, due to extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control, the equivalent of 12 Cornell credits is not offered or available, the Dean of Students may authorize a lower credit load, in which case no less than the equivalent of 10 Cornell Law credits will be approved, as required for full time status.

CLS is not able to give you credit for any course that duplicates or substantially covers material in a course you have already taken at Cornell.  Similarly, if you take a course abroad and receive credit for it, you will not be able to take a Cornell course that duplicates or substantially covers material from that course when you are back in Ithaca.  If you want to take a course that has the same name, but is in fact substantially different, please email us a copy of the course description and syllabus for consideration.  If the course is not substantially duplicative of a course you have already taken, the Registrar may approve it.  Please also note that you are responsible for monitoring your academic progress. If you are unsure of where you stand in a course, check-in regularly with your instructor(s).

As part of the course approval process, you will be required to edit and sign a study abroad work plan, which will be provided to you when we have approved your final course selections. If changes occur, such as a course change or cancellation, the student will notify the academic advisor, and both will reexamine the written plan to determine whether the approved foreign study continues to satisfy the stated educational objectives.

Methods to be Used in Evaluating the Student’s Educational Objectives:
Include, written exams, term papers and assessed presentations.

Minimum Grade Requirement:
 In order to receive Cornell credit for a course in the study abroad program, a student must earn the host school’s minimum passing grade for that course.

Mandatory Study Abroad Evaluation:
Upon returning from study at a foreign institution, students are required to complete a study abroad evaluation of their experience abroad and submit it to the International Program’s Office by the specified deadline.

Taking a Language Course While Abroad

It is possible to receive Cornell Law School credit for language courses offered during semesters abroad, provided:

  • You are also enrolled in the equivalent of at least 9 CLS law credits.
  • The language course is considered the equivalent of a Cornell University language class.
  • The language class is an academic university course, given by the host school, examined and graded as other academic classes, and for which the grade will appear on the host school transcript.
  • In the event you enroll in a language class for which your host school is charging an additional fee, CLS will reimburse you for the cost up to $500 (USD), provided that the course is intended to better equip you to succeed in the exchange program.  Students who seek this reimbursement must provide a description of the language class, the total fee charged, and proof of payment to international.law@cornell.edu.

Passports, Visas, and Residence Permits

All students going abroad must have a valid passport and visa to enter the host country. Cornell is not responsible for obtaining the student’s visa. Obtaining these documents is entirely the student’s responsibility, and the student should allow at least two months for processing. Please also take time to review the appropriate consulate’s website to be informed of the specific country’s requirements.  You will usually need to include in your application a letter from your host institution. If you have any questions or encounter any difficulties in seeking a student visa, please let us know as early as possible in the process.

The university has created, Navigate, a website resource that contains information to help with the operational complexities of off-campus engagement. Please use this resource to help plan your activities outside the United States.  In addition, to aid in obtaining your passport and/or student visa for travel outside the United States Cornell, has engaged Travel Document Systems.

Access to Facilities for Persons with Disabilities

Many cities outside the U.S. are not as accessible as U.S. cities for persons with mobility disabilities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided for students with documented disabilities. Some accommodations may take significant time to facilitate. If you are a student with a disability and wish to study abroad, planning ahead is essential. Before applying, contact the Student Disability Services office. Doing so can help you determine what you need to consider in making your decision and identify suitable programs to pursue.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Abroad

We recognize that sexual orientation and gender identity can present unique challenges and opportunities in exploring a new culture. For information about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) resources and organizations, check out the following resources:

Immunizations

Countries may require proof of certain immunizations or health status before permitting entry. Travel Services at Cornell Health can provide information about these requirements and can administer needed immunizations.

Housing

Housing can be difficult to find in some instances. Although the host institution can usually provide limited assistance, it is your responsibility to secure housing. We urge you to talk with returning students and students from the host institution to determine whether you should take special measures in locating suitable housing.

Program Cancellations

In the event of a semester abroad program cancellation, we will help you locate a substitute placement or enroll that semester on Cornell’s main campus.  Students should take precautions such as purchasing travel insurance or have alternate plans for study in case the course of study has to be adjusted mid-semester.