Alumni Short

Course Approval and Academic Credit

Students will need to register for Cornell's Law Study Abroad class for 12 credits during the pre-registration period. Please let Mr. Terry Thompson, CLS Registrar, know a.s.a.p. if you didn't do this during pre-registration, as the course will need to be added during the Add/Drop period.

Course Approval

Obtain approval for the courses you plan to take abroad from the International Programs Office. It is critical that your proposed courses be reviewed and approved by International Programs before you finalize your course schedule. If you do not seek prior approval for your courses, there is no guarantee the courses can be applied to your degree requirement.

Academic Credit

Academic credits are calculated according to ABA standard 310-1: Determining Credit Hours for Coursework. As each host institution has different standards for determining course credit, students will need to provide us with the following information about the courses they are interested in enrolling in:

  • the list of courses

  • the number of times per week the class meets

  • the duration of each class

  • the beginning and ending date for each class

  • the total number of times the class meets per semester/ block or module (depending on your host's school class structure) (e.g., 10 times for 50 minutes each time, for a total of 500 minutes)

  • whether or not the class has a final exam

  • credit hours listed for each course by the exchange partner school

If any of your courses involve forms of faculty instruction outside of the traditional classroom setting, i.e. clinical work, field placements, or tutorials, please let us know that as well. Please keep in mind the following requirements:

  • Students participating in the study abroad program must register at the host institution for the equivalent of 12 Cornell Law credits. If, due to extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control, the equivalent of 12 Cornell Law credits is not offered or available, the Assistant Dean for International Programs may authorize a lower credit load, in which case no less than the equivalent of 10 Cornell Law credits will be approved, as required for full time status. Students enrolled in the J.D./LL.M. Program in International and Comparative Law may take up to 16 credits at the foreign institution.

  • CLS is not able to award credit for any courses taken abroad unless the work done is completed at the C or better level. You will not receive credits for any course in which you receive a C(-) or lower. In other words, you must achieve at least a C to receive credits for a course. **Please note that if you fail to receive credit for a course, you will not be permitted to make up the credits by taking a supervised writing course at Cornell that applies to the semester you were abroad.

  • CLS is not able to award credits for any course that duplicates or substantially covers material in a course you have already taken at Cornell. Similarly, if you take a course abroad and receive credit for it, you will not be able to take a Cornell course that duplicates or substantially covers material from that course when you are back in Ithaca. If you want to take a course that has the same name, but is in fact substantially different, please email us a copy of the course description and syllabus for consideration.

Taking a Language Course while Abroad

It is possible to receive Cornell Law School credit for language courses offered during semesters abroad, provided:

The language course is considered the equivalent of a Cornell University language class.

  • You do not exceed the total number of credits for language instruction currently authorized by CLS policy, which is six (including four for the LL.M. portion of the J.D./LL.M. degree).

  • The language class is an academic university course, given by the host school, examined and graded as other academic classes, and for which the grade will appear on the host school transcript.

In the event you enroll in a language class for which your host school is charging an additional fee, CLS will reimburse you for the cost up to $500 (USD), provided that the course is intended to better equip you to succeed in the exchange program. Students who seek this reimbursement must provide a description of the language class, the total fee charged, and proof of payment to us, at studyabroad@cornell.edu.