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Visiting Scholar/Researcher Program

The Berger and Clarke visiting scholar program at Cornell university law schoolThe Berger Program at Cornell University Law School recognizes two categories of non-faculty visitors:

Visiting Scholar

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.

FEES:Visiting Scholar: $2,500 /semester; $5,000 / academic year

Visiting Researcher

Generally Ph.D. degree candidates, younger professionals and others who are at the beginning of a promising academic career for less than 5-years.

FEES: Visiting Researcher:  $1,250 / semester; $2,500 / academic year

** If you wish to stay less than one semester, please contact us to discuss the length of your proposed stay and the corresponding fee.


Who is eligible to apply 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.

In the absence of a pre-existing 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. If you are interested in working with a particular faculty member you may indicate that in your research statement on on the application in the space provided.  In addition, please indicate your wish to be considered as a visitor under the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture.  The Clarke Program welcomes visiting scholars from East Asia and elsewhere whose research makes an innovative contribution to the understanding of East Asian law and culture.  Visiting Researchers typically spend two weeks to four months in residence.  Postdoctoral Fellows spend a year in residence completing major research projects.

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.

General Conditions of Visiting at Cornell Law School Cornell Law School ordinarily does not have funds to support travel to and from Ithaca, or to support living expenses while scholars are in residence. Every accepted scholar must have sufficient financial support for the visit and must certify this as a part of the application for a U.S. visa.

Visitors will be provided with a Cornell ID; an e-mail account; library access, as well as the electronic databases to which Cornell Law School subscribes; wireless computer network access; use of Lexis/Westlaw; and access to all general Law School events. With an instructor's permission, Visiting Scholars and Researchers will be permitted to audit classes. As space allows, the Law School may be able to reserve limited work space for visitors at a dedicated carrel or small shared office.  Scholars who wish to use the resources of Cornell University that are outside of the Law School must inquire concerning the conditions of such use.

Deadline for ApplicationsFebruary 1st--visits to begin the following August-December.
September 1st--visits to begin the following January to July.

Application Procedure All prospective visiting scholars and researchers who fall within one of the above categories are requested to supply all of the following information:

  • a completed application form;
  • a current curriculum vitae;
  • a one-page description of intended research project;
  • two letters of recommendation;
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores are accepted documentation of English-language proficiency, if not a native English speaker.


Visitors are primarily responsible for locating suitable housing, but the Law School's International Programs office and the Cornell University International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) can provide some information in that regard. Our International Students and Scholars have created the following websites to assist you with your search.:

English Language Requirement:

J-1 regulations now require proof of sufficient English language knowledge upon being selected to participate in a J-1 program. More information on the requirement and on the method for certifying English proficiency can be found here. This regulation impacts incoming J-1 visitors; those already present in J-1 status and those whose initial DS-2019 forms were issued prior to January 5, 2015 are not required to demonstrate English proficiency at the present time.

For those who wish to increase their English language ability, several opportunities for English language study exist in Ithaca. Contact the ISSO for more information about the language requirement or local English programs.

HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENTSCornell 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) must have health and accident insurance in order to participate in Cornell's Exchange Visitor Program. In addition, federal regulations prohibit an extension of your J-1 status beyond the dates on the DS-2019 form without proof that you have maintained insurance for yourself and all family members during your entire length of stay in the U.S. as an exchange visitor. Students/Scholars and their families may substitute a comparable external insurance plan for the Cornell plan, if it meets the minimum coverage requirements outlined below.

1.medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
2.a deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
3. repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500
4. expenses associated with the medical evacuation to home country in the amount of $10,000

Please note: In the United States certain kinds of elective medical care, such as eyeglasses or dentistry are ordinarily NOT covered by insurance and can be very expensive. Exchange Visitors should take care of those needs before leaving home.

J-1 Staff members: J-1 Staff members: Cornell has a medical insurance plan that most exchange visitors (not all) with academic appointments for a semester or longer may join. Eligibility depends on the conditions of your appointment. Contact Benefit Services, Office of Human Resources (130 Day Hall) for further information. You are required to make alternative plans to ensure required coverage for your entire visit if Cornell does not provide insurance for you. The ISSO cannot endorse or recommend any private health insurance plan. We recommend that you do a web search which includes, "health insurance plans for J-1 exchange visitors."

Students: All Cornell students are automatically charged for insurance on their Bursar's bill. The annual cost is not included in tuition, assistantships, or fellowships.

Arrangements for family insurance can be made at the insurance office in Gannett Health Center. Family members must enroll within 30 days of arrival in the U.S., or they will NOT be eligible to enroll. Please note verification of date of arrival to the U.S. may be required.

visa Once accepted into the program, the Law School will send Visiting Scholars and Visiting Researchers the necessary forms to obtain a J-1 visa. These forms should be returned as described in the accompanying instructions. 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 finding requirement is as follows: $1300 per month per visitor, plus an additional $650 per month for an accompanying spouse and $375 per month for an accompanying child and a $1200 initial adjustment expense.  Updated financial requirements will be provided along with other materials upon a visitor's acceptance into the program.

  Appointed Visiting scholar/Researchers Payments must be made prior to the arrival of the visitor to the university. Please refer to your appointment letter for the fee amount you will need to pay.

We accept:   Visa     MasterCard    American Express    Discover



All persons interested in being a visiting scholar should e-mail the completed application and supporting documents to:


Ms. Dawne F. Peacock
Clarke Center for International and Comparative Legal Studies
Cornell Law School
G52 Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901, U.S.A.
(Tel)  +1-607-255-5978
(Fax) +1-607-255-7193