The UW Law School believes that learning about law and legal institutions from a foreign perspective helps not only the students who end up practicing law in the country where they study, but also the many students who enter areas of practice that demand knowledge of foreign and international law and legal institutions. More importantly, foreign study promotes a critical understanding our own legal system. The Law School's policy of encouraging foreign study coincides with large-scale University goals and initiatives.
Students at the University of Wisconsin Law School may earn up to 30 credits toward a University of Wisconsin Law School J.D. by studying law abroad. Students may:
- participate in one of our international exchange programs;
- attend other law school programs; or
- create their own independent foreign study programs.
Note: Credits earned abroad may be used to meet graduation requirements. With the exception of the UW Law School's Summer Session in International and Comparative Law in Giessen, Germany, credits earned abroad are entered as "satisfactory/unsatisfactory." Students must earn at least a C or its equivalent in the study abroad program to receive credit.
For UW Law students
- UW Law School Exchange Programs (includes the application form)
- Summer Program in Giessen, Germany
- Internship Opportunities
- Study Abroad Handbook for UW Law Students (PDF)
Programs offered by other U.S. Law Schools
Our students also may participate in law programs offered by other American Bar Association-approved law schools around the world. Students must be admitted by the programs and pay tuition and fees as charged by the programs.
Creating your individual study abroad
The American Bar Association permits law students to earn credits toward the J.D. through individual study abroad not through an ABA-approved program. See ABA criteria for such foreign independent study (PDF) (Part I of the ABA's 'Criteria for Student Study at a Foreign Institution' is applicable). The UW Law School will help you if you wish to construct your own individual study abroad plan, but most of the responsibility will be yours. UW Law students interested in pursuing this option should start by reviewing on their own the ABA criteria, researching the admissions process (as a non-permanent student) at the foreign school, as well as any applicable deadlines and the potential law courses available.
Please contact Sumudu Atapattu, Director, Research Centers and International Programs, to discuss your options. Additional requirements for designing your own program abroad:
- Course plans will be reviewed by Associate Dean Kevin Kelly. Please note that you need to obtain prior approval for all the courses you intend to take in order to ensure that the foreign law credits can be transferred.
- The student must also submit a proposed written plan to Dean Kelly defining the educational objectives the student seeks to achieve during the period of study abroad.
- The foreign institution must appoint an academic adviser to supervise and monitor the student's study at the institution.
- The foreign institution shall confirm in writing that the student's educational objectives can be achieved at that institution.
- The student must be fluent in the language of instruction.
- Submit the Independent Study Abroad Notification Form (Word Doc) (Note: This form must be completed by those students who are planning to design their own program abroad and are not participating in a regular law school exchange program)
Checklist for Study Abroad
Students who are studying abroad should check out our Checklist for Students Preparing to Study Abroad for a list of things that need to be done before leaving the U.S.
UW-Madison's International Travel site provides important information about safety abroad. Please check this site regularly.
For answers to general questions about study abroad opportunities, contact Sumudu Atapattu, Director, Research Centers and International Programs.
For questions about how financial aid is impacted by study abroad, contact Lori Hickman, Director of Scholarship Administration and Recruitment.
Incoming exchange students
Law students from our partner institutions who are interested in coming to UW-Madison should contact the exchange coordinator at their home institution and follow the application procedure of the home institution.
- Application form (PDF)
- Record of Residence Form (PDF)
- Handbook for incoming exchange students (PDF)
- Important Reminders
- Living expenses for 2020-21
- Resources for new international students
- Visa extension form (PDF)
- Reduced course load form (PDF)