Visiting Scholars Program

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Duke Law School hosts approximately 15-20 international visitors annually. In recent years we have had visitors from Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and Switzerland. They include academics, judges, prosecutors, PhD candidates, and attorneys. Their academic interests range from intellectual property law to international commercial arbitration, from environmental law to securities law and more.


Members of the Visiting Scholar Program are welcome to use the facilities and resources of the Law School in order to pursue their individual research projects. They may audit one course per semester, as long as space is available in the course selected and the professor gives permission for an auditor. Visiting Scholar applicants are NOT to write directly to faculty members. Appropriate faculty members will be contacted if and when an invitation is issued to the applicant.

All visitors will have access to the Law Library and the Internet and will receive training in the resources of the library and the School’s technology. Most visitors bring their own laptops. Please visit the Library & Technology portion of the Duke Law School website for computer specifications; this will insure that your laptop will function within the Law School computing community during your visit. Secretarial support cannot be offered to visitors.

VS Fall 2021

Visiting scholars during the 2022-2023 academic year. 

The Office of International Studies will assist with the visa process and will refer visitors to International House, which can offer assistance with housing, information about the Duke community, local schools, travel information, and similar matters.


The U.S. Department of State has promulgated new regulations for participants in programs that require a J-1 visa.  These regulations require Duke Law School to receive a verifiable assessment of an applicant's English language proficiency.  For this reason, applicants to the Visiting Scholar program will be expected to provide an acceptable score from a standardized English language test such as TOEFL or IELTS.

To apply for our Visiting Scholar Program, please send the following application documents in one package to (omit the box number if utilizing an express courier):

Visiting Scholar Program Coordinator
Office of International Studies
Duke University School of Law
Box 90365
210 Science Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0365

Application materials may also be submitted via e-mail to the International Studies Office at

  1. The approximate dates of your arrival and departure;
  2. Resume which describes your professional accomplishments, educational background, employment history, publications, and awards;
  3. A 2-3 page statement of your research project;
  4. Two references from persons familiar with your credentials.  Recommendation letters must be on the recommenders' professional letterhead and include the author's signature;
  5. Description of your anticipated source of funding for your stay at Duke Law School; and
  6. A copy of your TOEFL or IELTS score report.  (Minimum required scores are a TOEFL score of at least 90 or an IELTS score of at least 7.0.) Test scores should be no more than two years old from the date of application.

The application deadline for the visiting scholar program is April 1. As we have a limited number of available seats for Visiting Scholars, late applications are unlikely to be considered. Admission decisions are normally sent to applicants within four weeks.

Please note that while we anticipate opening the program for next year, enrollment will depend on the continued impact of the pandemic on the University, North Carolina and the U.S. Please also note that building access may be restricted following State and University safety guidelines.

  • Waivers of the TOEFL or IELTS requirement are granted on a case-by-case basis. To request a waiver, please include with your application a statement describing the reason for your request. 
  • Visitors will be very welcome at Duke Law School for a maximum stay of one year. They are entitled to a Duke ID card, which allows them to use the facilities of the Law School and the University.
  • Visitors must provide the Law School and Duke's Visa Services office with accurate program start and end dates.  They must also plan to arrive on campus prior to their program start date.  Once dates are set, we are unable to change them so be certain of your plans before submitting dates.  Additionally, absences (of more than a few days) from Duke Law School and the Visiting Scholar program are not covered by the Duke-sponsored visa, so please be certain your will be able to remain in residence at Duke for the duration of your Visiting Scholar program.
  • Visitors may audit up to two courses per semester (offered at the Law School), provided space is available in the course selected and the professor gives permission for an auditor. Detailed auditing guidelines will be provided during orientation. 
  • Visitors are prohibited from participating in group photographs that are intended solely for members of JD or LLM classes, such as, inter alia LLM and JD class photos.
  • Duke Law School is not in the position to provide career support to Visiting Scholars.  Though they are welcome to attend career-oriented events and workshops available to students, personalized career counselling, CV review, and ancillary services are reserved for students matriculated into the JD and LLM programs.
  • Visitors are issued ePrint cards permitting them to print and copy in the Law School library.
  • Visitors are encouraged to bring their own laptop computers if they wish to use a particular foreign language software. Please visit the Library & Technology portion of the Duke Law School website for computer specifications; this will insure that your laptop will function within the Law School computing community during your visit. The Law School has several computers that can be used in the library by visitors; however, running foreign language software on them is not recommended and limits support in the event of problems with the machine.
  • In accepting admission, Visiting Scholars indicate willingness to follow a set of rules and principles encapsulated in the Duke University's Community Standard and Student Conduct (“Duke Community Standard”). Visiting Scholars must agree to follow the Duke Community Standard, on and off campus, for the duration of their residency at the Law School. Failure to abide by the rules and regulations of the university, which flow from the Duke Community Standard, can lead to revocation of the Visiting Scholar’s residency and forfeiture of tuition fees.
  • Visitors are required to secure health insurance for themselves and their families.  Health insurance can be arranged in the visitor’s home country or in the U.S. upon arrival. Visitors should insure they have health insurance for ALL contingencies, as medical care in the U.S. is very expensive without insurance. Some scholars have been faced, for example, with extremely high charges for pregnancy-related health treatment.  Proof of insurance will be required on arrival at Duke University and registration with Duke's Visa Services office.
  • Visitors should not plan to work. They are expected to spend their time pursuing their research project and auditing classes. 
  • Visitors will be asked to submit a brief 2-3 page report before their departure date that includes information on the research topic, progress made on the topic during the visit, how the research will benefit the visiting scholar's professional life (and sponsor, if applicable), and any administrative suggestions for the Program Coordinator.

Tuition for the visiting scholar program is $5,000 per semester

Payment is expected within two weeks of the visitor's arrival.