An Overview of ABA Approved Foreign Study Policies

Foreign Study

AN OVERVIEW OF ABA APPROVED FOREIGN STUDY POLICIES

Standard 307 provides that a law school may grant credit toward the J.D. degree for studies in a foreign country that meet the requirements of Criteria adopted by the Council. The Council has adopted two sets of Criteria applicable to study abroad: Criteria for Programs Offered by ABA-Approved Law Schools in a Location Outside the United States and Criteria for Accepting Credit for Student Study at a Foreign Institution.

The Criteria for Programs Offered by ABA-Approved Law Schools in a Location Outside the United States apply to summer, intersession, semester, or year-long programs in a location outside of the United States offered by ABA-approved law schools. This set of Criteria differentiates between programs open to a law school’s own students and those that are open to students from other ABA-approved law schools or co-sponsored with another ABA-approved law school.

The Criteria for Accepting Credit for Student Study at a Foreign Institution focus on ABA-approved law schools awarding credit toward the J.D. degree for student study at an institution outside the United States.

The Criteria related to study abroad provide a framework for law schools to grant students credit toward the J.D. degree for studies abroad. They seek to provide flexibility for a law school to design programs and to permit study abroad consistent with the law school’s mission while maintaining a level of oversight of the law school’s program of legal education that is consistent with the role and scope of the Standards for Approval of Law Schools.

These Criteria recognize that the primary responsibility for determining the quality of the educational experience that students receive during a study abroad experience rests with the faculty and administration of the law school.

The ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for the Approval of Law Schools shall apply to study abroad programs except as modified by the Criteria or by necessary implication.

Students currently enrolled at an ABA-approved law school who desire to receive credit toward their J.D. degree for study abroad should read carefully the applicable Criteria for their course of study and should consult with members of the law school staff or faculty who advise students about foreign study. 

Additional Links

Questionnaires for Foreign Programs

Legal Education Links

Approved Foreign Programs