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Cornell Law School: JD/Master en droit

Program Description

A pioneer in establishing dual degrees with foreign law schools, Cornell has offered the J.D./Master en droit program in partnership with the Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne since 1994.  This four-year dual degree  program is designed to provide its graduates the education necessary to be licensed practitioners in the United States and in France.

Students spend the first two years studying at Cornell Law School followed by two years at one of France’s leading law faculties, the Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne.  Upon successfully completing the program, students receive the Juris Doctor degree from Cornell Law School and a Master 1 en Droit in French and American Law. Some students may also complete a Professional Master 2 in Arbitration and International Trade Law from Paris I.

Admission to the Program

Applicants Admitted by Cornell with Paris I Concurrence:

Applicants must be completely fluent in French.  Prospective Cornell students who are interested in this program should apply in conjunction with their initial application to Cornell Law. If a space in the program remains available, matriculated students will be invited to apply in the spring semester of their first year.

Applicants Admitted by Paris I with Cornell Concurrence:

Up to three students from France are admitted into the program each year through an application process administered by the Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne. Students applying in France must have the Baccalaureate degree and at least two years of advanced study at a French institution of higher learning. Students are required to complete 62 credit hours in residence and return to the Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne for their final year of study.

First- and Second-Year Curriculum at Cornell Law School

At Cornell, the students will be required to complete 62 credits of study. The first year of study will be identical to that of regular J.D. students at Cornell Law School.  In the second year of study at Cornell, the students must complete their credit and J.D. course requirements, which include six credits of experiential learning, a professional responsibility course, and a course satisfying the Law School’s writing requirement.

The program includes restrictions to avoid course offerings counting toward the J.D. credit requirements that: (1) would be better taken as part of the curriculum of Heidelberg Universität or (2) are outside of the regular Law School curriculum (regular J.D. candidates are allowed to take one course in each upper-class semester in other divisions of the university in areas related to their legal studies).

Third- and Fourth-Year Curriculum at Paris I

At Paris 1, the students will study in U.F.R. 07, the Département des Etudes Internationales, Européennes et Comparatives.

Participants also have the optional opportunity to pursue a “Professional Master 2 in Arbitration and International Trade Law” concurrently with their fourth-year program. Students successfully completing this option will receive both a Master 1 and a Master 2 degree at the end of their fourth year.

Following the award to the students of the French Master en Droit, Cornell Law School will evaluate their performance and grant an additional 24 credits in advanced standing toward the Juris Doctor degree.  Acceptance of any credit or grade for any course taken at Paris I is subject to determination by Cornell Law School.

Requirements for Student Performance and Grading Methods

In Paris, students will be required to take both oral and written exams. Depending upon the course, students may also be required to write papers or provide oral presentations.

Students will be graded according to the French numeric system. Students receive grades between 1 and 20 for individual courses that are averaged together at the end of each year for the final grade. 10 out of 20 is a passing grade or passable. French honors or mention are given as follows:

  • Assez bien for a final grade of between 13-14.9 (good)
  • Bien for a grade between 15-16.9 (very good)
  • Trés bien for a grade of 17 or higher (excellent)

Cornell transcripts do not list French grades and reflect only credits for courses passed conducted at the University of Paris I.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Applicants admitted by Cornell pay full Cornell tuition and fees during the first two years of study at Cornell. In the third and fourth years in Paris, they are required to pay 50% of the normal Cornell third-year tuition. Students may continue to receive financial aid during the two years in Paris. Their package will reflect 50% tuition and the expenses of living in Paris as opposed to Ithaca.

Individuals with Disabilities

Most cities in Europe, including Paris, are not as handicapped-accessible as U.S. cities. In the Sorbonne and Faculté de Droit buildings at the Université Paris I, access for persons with disabilities to classrooms, offices, and other facilities is limited. Persons with questions about their circumstances should contact the Program Coordinator at Cornell Law School.

Bar Examinations/Admissions

Graduates of the J.D./Master en Droit program have received the necessary legal education for, and are eligible to take, bar examinations in the United States and in France. Typically, U.S. graduates take the New York bar examination first and, if they choose, the bar examination in France, under the special procedures available to lawyers licensed to practice outside France.
Learn more about these procedures, frequently referred to as "Article 100".

Program Cancellation

The J.D./Master en droit dual degree program has operated continuously following its creation in 1994.  In the event that Cornell University Law School and/or its partner, Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, were to decide to cancel the program, all students who had been approved for, and committed to, participation nonetheless would be permitted to continue in the program.