Visiting Scholars and Researchers

Cornell welcomes visiting scholars through the Berger International Legal Studies Program, the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture, the Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa, the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide, and the Death Penalty Clinic.

All visitors fall within one of two categories:

Visiting Scholar Visiting Researcher
Generally those with a faculty appointment at their home institution for 5 years or more, or equivalent professional status (e.g., experienced jurists, government officials, and senior practitioners). Generally Ph.D. degree candidates, younger professionals, and others who are at the beginning of a promising academic career.
Fees: $2,500 /semester; $5,000/academic year Fees: $1,250/semester; $2,500/academic year
Application Deadlines:
  • February 1 (for visits to begin the following August-December)
  • September 1 (for visits to begin the following January-July)
Application Materials:
  • A completed application form (Click here to complete the application)
  • A current curriculum vitae
  • A one-page description of their intended research project
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores or accepted documentation of English-language proficiency, if not a native English speaker

In general, Cornell Law School does not accept visiting scholars or researchers unless the applicant is the nominee under an exchange agreement with a partner school, or a Cornell Law School faculty member has invited them.

Nevertheless, each year a few spots are available to scholars without a preexisting connection to Cornell. In the absence of a preexisting relationship with a faculty member, applicants are asked not to contact faculty members directly. The Law School will match prospective scholars with interested faculty members during the application review process.

Decision Process:

Each year, the number of applications far exceeds the number of scholars the Law School can accommodate. We review each application and take into account each applicant's academic background, research interests, scholarly achievements, and English-language proficiency. We normally make our decisions shortly after the application deadline.

English language requirement:

J-1 regulations require proof of sufficient English language knowledge upon being selected to participate in a J-1 program.

Health insurance requirements:

Cornell University requires that you have a medical insurance policy protecting you and your family in the event of a major illness or injury. U.S. Government regulations also mandate that all exchange visitors (J-1 visa holders) and their dependents (J-2) have health and accident insurance to participate in Cornell’s exchange programs. Learn more here.

Visa requirements:

Once accepted into a program, the Law School will send visiting scholars and visiting researchers the necessary forms to obtain a J-1 visa. Please note that immigration regulations require all foreign visitors to provide documentation of their ability to support themselves financially while in the United States. Currently, the minimum funding requirement is $1800 per month per visitor, plus an additional $1200 per month for an accompanying spouse and $500 per month for an accompanying child, $400 for each additional child, IF spouse is accompanying and will provide child care or $1100 for each additional child if spouse is not accompanying the visitor. Updated financial requirements will be provided along with other materials upon a visitor’s acceptance into the program.


Visitors are responsible for locating suitable housing.


You must pay for your visit before arriving at Cornell Law. Please refer to your appointment letter for the amount you will need to pay. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Make your Visiting Scholar/Visiting Researcher Fee here.