Law in a Global Context

The accelerating globalization of law and legal practice places important new demands on legal education. At BC Law, we understand that globalization magnifies the scope and complexity of law and legal practice.  Our Global Law Program trains students for the needs of today, while giving them skills and perspectives that anticipate the needs of tomorrow.

BC Law offers a comprehensive program in international and comparative law delivered by a world-class faculty.

The program is holistic, yet flexible. Students may design an intensive program which can include courses and clinical programs, law review opportunities, moot court experiences, exchange and joint degree programs, and summer employment.

Our educational objective for JD students in international exchanges is exposure to foreign legal systems, appreciation for transnational and international legal frameworks, and comparative perspective on law. JD students additionally gain intercultural competence and practical knowledge of how international legal systems function.

Academic Resources

International Opportunities: Dual Degree, Study Abroad, Semester-in-Practice

At BC Law, we understand that the accelerating globalization of law and legal practice places new demands on legal education.. Our Global Law Program trains our students for the needs of today, while giving them skills and perspectives that anticipate the needs of tomorrow. 

BC Law offers a comprehensive program in international and comparative law delivered by a world-class faculty. We also offer to our students carefully selected opportunities to gain first-hand exposure to global legal systems through semester exchange programs, or to pursue deeper engagement through a full-year dual degree. Explore the range of options to integrate global learning into the law school experience.

Related: Incoming International Exchange and Dual Degree Student Fact Sheet

Semester Exchanges and Joint Degrees

The Law School’s primary offerings abroad are semester-long non-degree exchange options. We also offer full-year dual-degree options. BC students may apply for designated spots for a semester’s study as well as full-year dual degree options at one of the law schools listed below with which BC Law has an exchange agreement.

  • Bucerius Law School (Hamburg Germany)
  • ESADE (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá, Colombia)
  • Renmin Law School (Beijing, China)
  • Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
  • University of Paris Nanterre (Paris, France)
  • University Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne (Paris, France)


The application cycle is February-March preceding the Fall of your study abroad year. Though seats are limited, students are typically able to attend their first choice program or find a suitable alternative. Preparation is a key consideration. Applications are able to be submitted from February 1 to March 1. BC nominations are sent out on April 2. Students then have a May 1 deadline to confirm their acceptance. Some programs set separate deadlines (which may be earlier) and these are updated under the program’s profile. 

Post-JD Degree Options

In addition to full-year dual-degree and semester-long non-degree programs, some of BC’s foreign partnerships serve as pipelines to post-JD graduate study abroad, such as an LLM in a specialized field. Post-JD opportunities or continuing enrollment are available at these schools: 

  • Bucerius Law School (Hamburg Germany)
  • Haute Etudes Appliqués Du Droit (Paris, France)
  • Renmin Law School (Beijing, China)
  • University of Paris Nanterre (Paris, France)
  • University Paris Pantheon-Sorbonne (Paris, France)


Details vary by year and by program. In some cases, scholarships and housing stipends are available. For example, Bucerius and Renmin offer generous scholarships or discounted tuition toward a post-JD degree to BC Law graduates. Rather than counting as exchange years toward the JD degree, these programs give BC students advanced consideration for admissions to their programs following graduation from the JD, in order to gain an additional credential. 

The three post-JD degree programs in Paris offer terminal Master’s degrees and postgraduate degrees that fulfill requirements to enter the legal profession in France. For up-to-date details, see the Law School’s Office of Graduate and Global Programs to compare the opportunities available at each program.

Bucerius Law School (Hamburg, Germany)

Bucerius Law School is Germany’s leading private law school, and offers current BC students an English language exchange program in International and Comparative Business Law during the fall semester. It also offers BC graduates a joint JD/LLM degree. The Bucerius LLM program is open to applications from BC students during the final semester of their third year as well as recent BC Law graduates.

  1. Semester or Year (Non-Degree Exchange): The program is taught in English to a group of 90 students from all over the world. Students with sufficient knowledge of German may take courses in the school's regular curriculum. A preliminary course list can be found on Bucerius' Course Catalog. BC Law students apply through nomination from the BC Office of International Programs, as described here.  For more information on the Bucerius Program, see the fact sheet here
  2. Bucerius JD/LLM Program: This joint degree program in law and business combines English-language course work with an integrated internship at a top business or business law placement. Students enter the Bucerius LLM program after successful graduation from BC Law. The program offers both a tuition discount and expedited review of applications from BC Law graduates, and scholarships for significantly discounted LLM degree tuition are available. For more information about the program and its requirements, see here

ESADE Semester or Degree Program (Barcelona, Spain) 

The ESADE program is taught in English during the fall semester. During that time there are also some courses offered in Spanish. During the spring semester courses are taught mainly in Spanish. A Spanish language certificate with a minimum of a B2 level is required for non-native Spanish speakers. View their fact sheet.

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá, Colombia)

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana was founded in 1623 and is one of the most prestigious universities in Colombia, and the oldest Jesuit University in the Americas. Instruction is given in Spanish. The University contains a diversity of law courses available to students. Further information is included in this fact sheet and information relating to living expenses is available here

Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland)

Trinity is Ireland’s oldest and most internationally renowned law school, established in 1740. Trinity also offers a broad range of law courses, from its advanced graduate offerings across law subjects in the international, EU and Irish law spheres. More information on the course modules can be found on Trinity's LLM website, from which BC students can take courses. JD exchange students are permitted to take modules on the LLM Programme in TrinityCollege Dublin. The duration of a non-degree exchange is one semester (Fall or Spring) and the duration of an LLM degree is both semesters. You can also find more information about the program on the Trinity Fact Sheet.

Semester in Practice (Dublin, Ireland) 

In addition to academic semesters abroad, BC Law offers an international Semester-in-Practice externship program: An immersive experience which offers students a comparative legal opportunity to work and collaborate with international attorneys. Currently, the primary recurring opportunity is for a unique semester in practice program in Dublin, Ireland. The Program is based in the Boston College satellite campus in Ireland. For our international Semester-in-Practice externship program, students are selected during Fall to work as legal externs in Dublin during the following Spring semester, and are placed in private businesses, law firms, and public organizations. Students also participate in a weekly seminar. Beyond Dublin, the program also offers externships throughout Europe, where students use video-conferencing to participate in the seminar. ​

Students spend 35-40 hours per week at their externship placement and maintain journals relating to their research, writing and observations. These are discussed at weekly seminars led by a member of the BC Law faculty.​ This clinical program is led by BC faculty each Spring and administered by The Law School’s Center for Experiential Learning.

Sorbonne Pantheon JD/LLM Program (Concurrent graduation or Post-JD extension)

University Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne is one of the most prestigious universities and law schools in the world. BC Law sends up to four students per academic year to take advantage of a range of offerings. 

  1. Masters Programs: Two seats are allocated to a full year master's program taught in French (which can also be terminated as a Fall-only non-degree exchange) and two seats are allocated to a master’s program taught in English in Business Law (which can likewise be pursued as a one semester non-degree program). Preference is given to applicants who are able to complete the full-year, degree-granting programs. 
  2. The Sorbonne JD/ LL.M. Program offers law students in-depth acquaintance with the intricacies of French and European Law while learning French academic tradition and Civil Law methodological techniques. There is an externship opportunity offered during the spring term, which places students in French law firms, businesses, and nonprofits, giving students real-world experience in the practice of foreign law. 

Upon completion of all requirements at the end of their third year, Boston College J.D. students who enroll in the Sorbonne Program will receive both the Boston College Law J.D. degree and the Sorbonne LL.M. The program is open to Boston College law students who are fluent in French (spoken and written) and who have completed four semesters in residence at Boston College Law School. Students must complete all Boston College Law School graduation requirements by the end of their second year of J.D. studies.

For more information, see: LLM Overview Brochure, LLM in Business Law)

Renmin University Law School 

Renmin University Law School was the first law school founded after the formation of the People’s Republic of China. BC Law students are nominated through the BC Law International Programs Office. Students are able to take graduate level courses in the English language program on Chinese Law, or, if the student is fluent in Mandarin, they may take regular graduate-level law courses taught in Chinese. Renmin offers discounted tuition or partial scholarships toward an LLM degree to BC Law graduates. You can find further information about Renmin University's law program here

Paris Nanterre University

Each year, BC Law sends two full-year law students (or four one-semester law students) to Paris Nanterre University, one of France’s largest and most prestigious universities located on the western edge of Paris. Students enrolled in the program may take classes on a non-degree basis, or in pursuit of an LLM degree. The program is open to all students in their 2L or 3L years that maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, with nominations granted through the BC Law International Programs Office. Classes are available in English and French (registration requires B2 certification in French). For more information, please see here.

Haute Etudes Appliquées Du Droit (Paris, France) 

Post-Grad Only: The Haute Etudes Appliquées du Droit (HEAD) is located in Paris, France. The LL.M.s that are offered are Business Contracts Law, International Tax law, Mergers & Acquisitions, Labor & Employment Law, and Law and Business HEAD. LLMs can be followed entirely in English, but French speakers may choose to enroll in courses taught in French.

The director of graduate and exchange programs can advise students about alternative opportunities to study abroad and the parameters for creating an individually-tailored program.

Boston College has over 100 partnerships for study abroad. Programs selected from BC’s Office of International Programs as well as external programs require prior approval. See the Office of Global Education for more information about partner programs. 

Examples of OGE Programs include: 

  • Ateneo de Manila University Manila 
  • Philippines Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) Rio de Janeiro Brazil
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA) Buenos Aires, Argentina 
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC-Chile)
  • Pontificia Comillas - ICADE (Business and Law) Madrid

Review and Study Abroad 101 meeting, to ensure compliance with OIP Deadlines. On the law school side, either before or after securing a seat in an OIP program, the student’s study abroad proposal must get approval from Academic deans. Students who wish to participate must submit their proposal by March 1.

Independent semester abroad: In addition to the programs with partner universities, students have in the past, independently arranged to study at universities. BC students may create an “independent” semester at any foreign law school that meets BC law’s requirements. Students seeking strict visit-away should be aware that, like all visits away, (1) they pay the host institution directly and will not receive BC financial aid for the semester they are not here, and (2) there is an administrative fee of $1000 payable to BC, which covers our administrative costs associated with the visit away.

In order to receive credit from such programs they must be offered by an ABA-approved law school outside of the United States. Programs in which students enroll in an institution outside the United States to receive credit toward the J.D. degree are governed by the Criteria for Accepting Credit for Student Study at a Foreign Institution. Each case must get approval from Academic deans. These self-initiated exchanges must be within the Consortium Agreement with ABA abroad programs. Financial arrangements differ for external programs. Scholarships awarded to a BC Law student are not applied to external programs. Typically tuition is set by the institution hosting the external program, which may request you to seek a “consortium agreement” releasing other sources of financial aid to that program. 

All programs have limited seats and competitiveness varies by year. The most important factor in securing BC’s nomination is evidence of preparation and value to a student’s professional plans. The application can be found here.

Program Guidelines 

Students who are nominated by BC should refer to the following procedures and guidelines: 

  • All classes for which a student seeks BC Law JD credit must be law-related.
  • Coursework taken overseas should not focus on themes of U.S. law, unless it does so in an explicitly comparative manner.
  • Students may, at their own expense, take language classes offered at the host school. While we recognize the benefit of foreign language skills to global law practice, no academic credit will be awarded for such classes.
  • Students cannot enroll in classes substantially similar to those already taken at BC Law.
  • No academic credit will be awarded for distance or remote education classes.
  • No academic credit will be awarded for experiential clinics or externships unless otherwise specified under the particular study abroad Memorandum of Understanding between the schools.  


International Students: In line with the learning outcomes, education abroad is designed to expose students to new cultures and languages. For this reason, international students are not permitted to study abroad in their home country through the OGE for semester and academic-year programs. This policy pertains to any non-U.S. student, permanent resident, or dual citizen who completed the equivalent of high school in the intended host country. For any questions about eligibility, students are encouraged to reach out to the program. 

Transfer and LLM Students: Length of program requirements prevent Transfer and LLM students from taking part in study abroad for a semester or year. This does not apply to the separate programs available for postgraduate study abroad programs.

The Graduate and Global Programs office will help students confirm their substantive requirements and credit conversion, with the above ABA hours guideline as the lower limit. 30 ECTs is typically 12 credits.

For programs in Fall 3L or full year 

  • Fall of 2L year begin researching international programs
  • Before the March 1 deadline, meet with Exchange Advisor -Vik Kanwar, International Programs, by appointment online or Stuart 324.
  • Between Fall and March 1 deadline, complete a degree audit with Academic Services Dean Emily Libby in Academic & Student Services, Stuart 308
  • Fill out the BC exchange application.
  • Recommended: before submitting your application Meet with a Career Services Advisor - East Wing 210
  • Applications open February 1 and are due by March 1
  • Nominations confirmed by April 2 Commitment by May 1 (Academic Plan approved prior to departure)

What benefit do I get from studying abroad?

Taking a year or semester away from law school is not comparable to a semester abroad during undergrad. The decision can have greater costs as well as benefits. You should be able to identify tangible benefits to your career path, or a way comparative knowledge and international networks would empower you professionally. A second degree, or path to foreign practice qualification can be pretty compelling. Looking for variety during law school is not the best reason. In all cases, you will want to weigh the opportunities gained by studying abroad against the opportunities offered on campus. 

How long can I go abroad for, just a semester or a full year? Which year and semester should I study abroad?

The ideal time for a semester-only visit is the Fall semester of the 3L year. The ideal time for a degree-based full year program is in Fall and Spring of the 3L year. Below is a list of recommended semesters to study at each partner institution. 

  • Bucerius Law School (Hamburg Germany) (Fall Semester recommended unless postgrad LLM)
  • ESADE (Barcelona, Spain) (Fall Semester recommended, dual language or English)
  • Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá, Colombia) (Fall semester recommended)
  • University Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne (Paris, France) (Full year French-Only and English-language degree programs recommended)
  • University of Paris Nanterre (Paris, France) (Semester recommended, dual language)
  • Renmin Law School (Beijing, China) (Fall recommended)
  • Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)  (Fall or Spring semester; separate from Semester-in-Practice Spring)

What requirements should I have fulfilled before going abroad?

BC Exchange Students will be limited to register for the equivalent of twelve BC Law credits when they register for classes at the host school. The Graduate and Global Programs help students confirm their substantive requirements and credit conversion, with the above ABA hours guideline as the lower limit. 3Ls planning on studying for a full year should ensure that they have completed all required courses and other requirements before studying abroad. 

How can I ensure I get credit for courses taken abroad?

Before you leave for your program, you will sign a Learning Agreement with the Director of Graduate and Global Programs. You will confirm a substantially similar course selection once you arrive at your host school. At the end of your program, once your transcript is available, you will direct your host school to send your transcript to Academic and Student Services. You will receive 12 BC credits for every semester you are abroad. 

Do scholarships awarded by BC Law apply to credits taken at the host institution?

Scholarships awarded to a BC Law student may be applied to credits received in the Partner Programs above. Financial aid also applies for exchange programs. If a student pursues a program other than those offered through BC Law’s partners, those programs are typically paid directly, and therefore BC Law scholarships do not apply. It is the student’s responsibility to (a) ensure that other financial aid is transferable through an inter-school consortium agreement or else (b) waive that aid to pay the program’s advertised tuition and fees. 

How competitive is the nomination process for the Law School Partner Programs?

These are the Law School’s most prestigious offerings and seats are limited. Usually students are able to attend their first choice program or a suitable alternative. There are usually only one or two seats available per program per year or per semester so nomination to a program requires a student to be well prepared both for the demands of the program, and to be well organized. 
The Office of International Programs on main campus can help place you in a program on the basis of availability, but this process takes place before the law school nomination process. 

How does Studying abroad impact my Summer or Post-Grad job search?

Every opportunity has an opportunity cost. Spending a semester abroad can be beneficial to your overall career goals, however, it may also have implications for the timing of your job search. For example, the application and interview process for many judicial clerkships, government honor programs, and public interest fellowships occur during the fall of the final year of law school. Students who wish to re-interview with large law firms during their last year should also be aware that interviews typically occur during the fall. If you have questions or concerns about this, please make an appointment with the Office of Career Strategies or Office of Public Interest and Community Service. We also encourage you to meet with an OCS or OPICS advisor to discuss how going abroad fits within your overall career plans.

Can I be on Law Review while abroad?

Students holding an editorial position on a journal must arrange for the journal editor-in-chief to send an email to Vik Kanwar which authorizes you to complete your responsibilities abroad. Staff members on a journal must also notify their board of their intent to study abroad.

What do I do about health insurance?

Boston College offers international health coverage through a trusted vendor. The CISI cost is $11.41/week and $45.64/month. If you are abroad for the full year, you may seek a waiver of your student plan. Once nominated, you may contact Cindy Ly at academic and student services for information on this international coverage. For full year students, it would make sense to enroll in the BC plan and cancel your current plan once you are enrolled because BC's plan includes coverage for medical evacuation as well as security/natural disaster evacuation coverage.  

Please also note that even after COVID-related restrictions ease, all students and faculty traveling internationally on University business need to enroll in the supplemental travel insurance offered through BC's vendor, CISI. 
How can I make sure I am safe while abroad?Students interested in studying abroad should review U.S. State Department country information prior to participation in their study abroad program. OIP will advise students at their law school email address of any changes in the safety of the country or travel warnings either prior to or during the semester in question. 

Can I work while studying abroad?

Students considering employment opportunities while studying abroad are encouraged to do so only when such opportunities will provide significant educational or professional benefits, and only when this can be done legally and prudently.  Students are responsible for determining if their visa status will allow them to work. Unless specifically approved as a Semester-in-Practice, any such work experience will not be granted academic credit by BC Law. No host institution will be expected to sponsor a visa other than that which is required for short-term study at that institution, nor should the host school be expected to provide guidance or advice as to how a different visa status can be obtained. 

How can I get involved in transnational legal practice without leaving the country during my law school semesters? 

BC Law offers a comprehensive program in international and comparative law delivered by a world-class faculty. International networking begins at home. Our community on campus includes distinguished visitors from international legal research and  practice, and JD and LLM students drawn from prestigious institutions abroad.

Summary of BC Law's international opportunities

Visiting Scholars Program

BC Law campus

Each year, Boston College Law School hosts a small number of students from around the world. Visitors are generally Professors of Law, doctoral students or post-doctoral researchers in law at institutions overseas. They normally are in residence at the Law School for either a semester or academic year. 

Visiting scholars have access to facilities of the Law School and the rest of Boston College so that they can conduct research on an approved topic while in residence. Those appointed have full library privileges, including dedicated carrel space. They also have the privilege of attending colloquia and other scholarly presentations at the Law School, and are invited to participate in faculty social events such as the Friday lunches. Visitors may audit Law School courses on a non-credit basis with the permission of the course instructor.

Visitors must be sponsored by a faculty member who is willing to act as a consultant on the scholar’s research project. It is the responsibility of a prospective scholar to contact appropriate faculty members and arrange for such sponsorship.

Applying to the program 

To apply to the Visiting Scholars Program, applicants must complete the program’s application materials. These call for applicants to provide information about themselves and the specific research project they propose to pursue, letters of recommendation from professors and others who know their work, and (in most cases) transcripts from each university they have attended. In addition, all applicants must submit a letter from full-time member of the Boston College Law School faculty indicating his or her willingness to act as a consultant on the proposed research project. Whether or not a faculty member agrees to act as a consultant is completely within his or her discretion. In particular, some faculty members will only do so for scholars whom they know personally.

English language proficiency is essential for a Visitor to insure the most beneficial and efficient use of time at Boston College Law School. Visiting Scholar candidates whose native language is not English are required to achieve a minimum score of 100 (IBT) on the TOEFL examination, taken within the past two years. Applicants should submit evidence of comparable English language proficiency. For additional information on the TOEFL examination, check their web site or contact them at TOEFL Services, Educational Testing Service, Rosedale Road, Princeton, NJ 08541, USA.

Student in Bapst

The costs of housing, food, health insurance, books and supplies, and personal and travel expenses for a single visitor are likely to total at least $12,000 per semester. Visitors accompanied by family members should expect to incur significantly higher expenses.

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