Duke Law School recognizes that the opportunity to engage in the study of law overseas is an invaluable experience. Students with appropriately high academic qualifications and cross-cultural adaptability can take advantage of a one-semester study abroad opportunity to develop an understanding of a foreign legal system. Students have the additional benefits of living and studying with students from another culture, in some cases refining their foreign-language skills, and of gaining the necessary tools for foreign law research. Students who experience law study overseas begin to equip themselves with the skills necessary for the challenges of law practice in a global world.
Study abroad at Duke Law is a student exchange program. Students must attend one of the host institutions listed below which is pre-approved by the International Studies Committee and with which Duke Law has entered into an exchange agreement. Under the exchange agreements, Duke may send up to two students per year to a partner school, and may receive up to two students per year from the partner school. Occasionally, if there is an imbalance in the exchange, the schools may agree to send or receive additional students in a given year.
Duke Law does not permit “ad hoc” study abroad at institutions with which the school does not have an exchange agreement.
Students studying abroad will pay the normal tuition and most fees to Duke Law School. Two fees specific to students who are in residence at Duke for the semester, the health fee and the recreation fee, may be waived or reversed. However, you may be charged the equivalent fee by the partner school.
Timing of Study Abroad
Study abroad at Duke Law is primarily for students in fall of the 3L year. Exceptions will be considered for 2Ls on a case-by-case basis. In a year that 2Ls apply to study abroad, priority will be given to 3Ls. Study abroad is not permitted in the semester in which a student is scheduled to graduate.
Semester dates at the partner school must align with Duke Law’s academic calendar. Students must be able to complete their courses and final exams at the partner school and return to Durham by the start of the next semester. Accordingly, in some academic years, we will not approve study abroad to a partner school if the semesters overlap (even by a few days).
Rising 3Ls who wish to take courses scheduled here at Duke for the semester that they plan to study abroad, or who plan to interview for post-graduation employment during fall of the 3L year, should seek advising from Academic Affairs or the Career Center regarding their interest in studying abroad.
Students who already have post-graduation employment that requires security clearance should check with their employer that an extended period overseas would not delay or jeopardize their security clearance.
Students attending Duke Law on an F-1 visa must contact their Duke Visa Advisor about the implications of travel abroad and reentry into the United States.
A student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher to be eligible for study abroad. During the application process, a student’s academic history will be evaluated to assess the student’s reasonable progress toward graduation with regard to the number of credits and the ethics, experiential learning, and substantial research and writing requirement.
Under ABA guidelines, students may earn 12-14 credits during study abroad. Students in the JD program must average 13-14 credits each semester in 2L and 3L year to reach the 87-credit graduation requirement. Accordingly, students may wish to enroll in slightly larger course loads when in residence at Duke and/or take advantage of Wintersession.
JD-LLM students should consult with their academic advisor with regard to the feasibility of study abroad in their degree program. For JD-LLM-ICL students, courses taken during study abroad can be counted toward JD or LLM-ICL credits. JD-Master’s students must obtain approval both from their Law academic advisor and from their Master’s academic advisor to study abroad.
For many students, fall of 3L year is also the time to begin preparing their bar application. Students are strongly advised to review the academic requirements, application process and application deadline for the jurisdiction in which they seek admission to be sure that study abroad will not interfere with their bar application.
Application and Selection Process
Academic Affairs and International Studies hosts an information session, typically the second week of February, for students interested in studying abroad the following fall semester. After the information session, students may submit an internal application which is reviewed by Academic Affairs and International Studies. In the application, students may to rank up to three exchange program schools that they are interested in attending.
If more students indicate a first preference for a partner school than slots available, there will be a random drawing for the number of available slots. Students who are not selected will be offered a slot at their second- or third-choice school depending on availability. Students may also indicate a preference to study abroad with a classmate or two, and the pair or group may be entered into the random drawing as a single entry. However, the number of available slots at a partner school may limit the success of this approach.
At the Partner School
After a student is matched to a partner school, Duke Law will nominate the student to the exchange program. The partner school will have a separate application process with deadlines varying from March to June for fall study abroad. This separate application is the student’s responsibility to complete. Once the student is accepted by the partner school, then the student should begin the process of applying for a visa if needed, making travel arrangements, researching housing, etc.
At some partner schools, the exchange program is managed by the main university. Therefore, a student’s liaison may not be situated within the law school.
Partner School Course Selection and Grading Policy
All study abroad courses must be offered by the law department of the partner school. The student may not enroll in a course that is substantially similar to a course that the student has already earned credit for at Duke Law School. Some partner schools offer law as an undergraduate degree program. We expect that Duke students will enroll in courses at the graduate level. Undergraduate-level courses will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Students will not earn credit for language courses taken at the partner school.
In accordance with Policy 3-3, Duke will award one academic credit per 715 minutes of instructional time, plus 45 minutes for the final examination, for each course taken at the partner school. If a course requires a final paper in lieu of exam, Duke will award one academic credit per 770 minutes of instructional time. Students are responsible for calculating the amount of credit for each course based on the published class schedule.
The student must earn a grade of “C” or better on the exchange program school’s grading scale to earn credit for a course. Students should note that some partner schools use an absolute grading standard rather than grading on a forced curve. Under an absolute grading standard, grades are assigned strictly according to the number of points earned relative to predetermined cut-off levels. For example, a student may need to earn at least 90 points for an A, 80-89 points for a B, 70-79 points for a C, etc. It is the student’s responsibility to understand the grading standard for the exchange program school that they choose to attend.
Study abroad is reflected on a student’s Duke transcript as a single line item “Exchange Program” alongside the total number of credits for the semester. Grades earned at the partner school will not show on the Duke transcript.
Each partner school has its own distinctive characteristics and associated advantages. The majority of these programs offer courses in the English language, but many offer instruction in the local language. Some programs have a curriculum focused on the law of a specific country or region, while others concentrate in a particular academic specialization within the law. Others may include programmatic elements such as certificates of study.
When visiting partner school websites, we recommend using the Google Chrome browser for the translation feature.
Exchange students eligible to earn Certificate in Transnational Law
For further information on exchanges or for applications, please contact:
* Courses taught in English
# Selected courses available in English