UW School of Law > Students > J.D. Program > International Externships & Study Abroad

Guidance on International Externships and Study Abroad

for J.D. Students and Faculty at UW School of Law

The following guidance is meant to inform students of the procedures necessary for securing an overseas externship or studying abroad as part of their J.D. program. Please remember that each student bears the responsibility to make sure that all policies and procedures are followed. Copies of relevant Law School and University of Washington forms are available in a packet from the Law School Office of Academic Services. Students are also advised to visit the University of Washington Office of International Programs and Exchanges, located in Schmitz Hall, for additional information about studying and traveling overseas.

In general, there are three separate sets of requirements that a UW Law School student must comply with in order to receive credit for externing or studying abroad: (1) American Bar Association standards, (2) the University of Washington School of Law (“UW Law School”) and (3) the University of Washington (“UW”).

STUDENTS ARE CAUTIONED NOT TO UNDERESTIMATE THE COMPLEXITY OF SOME OF THE RULES FOR PARTICIPATION IN FOREIGN STUDY OPPORTUNITIES, OR THE TIME NECESSSARY TO SATISFY THESE RULES.

Guidance for J.D. Students and Faculty Concerning J.D. Study Abroad

As a general matter, J.D. study abroad must comply with American Bar Association requirements concerning study abroad as well as with UW Law School and UW requirements concerning foreign study.

A. Study abroad in ABA approved summer program or ABA approved semester abroad program.

  1. ABA Requirements
    Second- and third-year law students who are fluent in the language of instruction may study abroad by enrolling in an ABA approved foreign summer program or semester study abroad program. (Standard 307 of ABA Standards for approval of Law Schools and Interpretations and related Criteria for Semester Abroad and Summer Programs--See Appendix II.) A list of currently approved programs can be found online at:

    http://www.abanet.org/legaled/studyabroad/foreign.html (summer programs)

    http://www.abanet.org/legaled/studyabroad/semester.html (semester programs)

    This process for enrolling in a program that has previously been approved by the ABA is that (1) an American law school has established the program and (2) the curriculum has been previously approved by the ABA as eligible for Law School credit.
  2. UW Law School Requirements
    Students who wish to participate in an ABA approved program should make an appointment with the Dean of Academic Services in order to:
    1. Identify the program in which the student wishes to enroll;
    2. Discuss the proposed course load and plan of study. Law School credit hours vary from program to program. The UW is also on the quarter system whereas most law schools operate on the semester system. UW School of Law needs to determine what credit conversion is appropriate.
    3. Submit appropriate paperwork to the Law School prior to commencing study abroad
    4. Submit official copies of transcripts and other documentation to Academic Services at the conclusion of the study abroad in a timely fashion. Such documentation is necessary in order to award UW Law School credit to the student upon his or her successful completion of a program.
  3. UW Requirements
    1. Concurrent Enrollment Policy.

      Students may wish to study abroad as part of an ABA-approved program during the summer or the academic year. If they have arranged with the UWLS to receive at least ten credits for each quarter involved, they may wish to be concurrently enrolled at the University of Washington (in order to receive financial aid, insurance, etc). In this case, students will need to register for FSTDY 300 via the International Programs & Exchanges Office (IP&E) and pay a registration fee of $200/quarter. The Law School prior to the student commencing study abroad must approve all coursework. The student may obtain the relevant paperwork from the Office of international Programs and Exchanges in Schmitz Hall.

      Students will be required to pay the program tuition for study abroad but will not be required to pay additional UW tuition outside of the $200 concurrent enrollment registration fee.
    2. Course, Credit and Grade Conversion
      Upon the student's return, the Law School Office of Academic Services, in consultation with the Dean of Academic Programs, will convert the courses, credits and grades earned for study abroad into the equivalent course names, credits and assign a grade of "CR" for the University of Washington transcript. 
    3. ABA Approved Programs that are also part of official UW Program or Exchange

      Should a law student wish to study in an ABA approved summer program or semester abroad program at a university where the University of Washington has a formal exchange agreement, he or she, under certain circumstances, may be eligible to enroll in the UW program and pay UW tuition rather than the tuition of the foreign educational institution.

      Note from the International Programs and Exchanges Office: Assuming that an ABA-approved program at UW partner universities can be identified, it does not follow that a student participating in such a program would be allowed to pay only UW tuition. Most of the ABA-approved programs are budgetarily self-sustaining, so a partner institution would probably not allow a UW student to pay “home tuition” at the UW (as outlined in i, ii, and iii below).
      1. The student must apply to be admitted to the UW exchange program and submit a formal application to the International Programs and Exchanges Office
      2. Once approved the student will be eligible to pay home (University of Washington) tuition for study abroad rather than the overseas tuition (assuming the host institution is willing to accept the student on such terms)
      3. The student MUST enroll concurrently in the foreign institution and with the University of Washington the student will need to register for FSTUDY __ prior to departure and pay a registration fee of $200 per quarter.

B. Individual Study Abroad as part of non ABA-approved program

  1. ABA requirements for Individual Study Abroad at a partner institution (i.e. not through an ABA-approved program)

    ABA Standard 307 also governs individual study abroad in a non- ABA approved program. There are specific criteria that govern individual study abroad as well. These criteria were revised and amended in February 2003 and became effective as of August 1, 2003. (See Appendix I.)

    A UW Law School student must generally study at a foreign institution that is government sanctioned or recognized, and accredited and chartered to award first degrees in law by the appropriate authority within the country.

    If the foreign institution does not award a first degree in law, then it must provide assurances that it can offer to a visiting student an experience at least equal to a student at such an institution in the country where the foreign institution is located.

    In either event, the foreign institution must have faculty members who possess academic credentials and experience in the legal profession similar to those of the faculty at the parent school. It must also appoint an advisor to supervise and monitor the student’s study. (See below.)
    1. ABA Reporting Requirements for UW Law School

      Generally, UW Law School will be required to approve individual study abroad for each student. The Law School shall then file an annual report with the ABA reporting on the status of individual study abroad for its J.D. students.

      Should the number of students studying at a particular foreign institution exceed 6 in a period of 3 consecutive years, a formal written agreement must be executed with the foreign institution. Should the number exceed 12 within a period of 3 consecutive years, the UW School of Law will be considered to have a cooperative agreement wit the foreign institution and must establish policies and procedures that comply with the ABA requirements for Cooperative Study abroad programs. When meeting with the Dean of Academic Services or designate, a student should ascertain the status of the particular program in which he or she intends to participate under these rules. (See Appendix I.D and Appendix II.)
    2. ABA Requirements
      1. Development of Academic Plan and Objectives for Study Abroad; Pre Approval of Plan of Study

        In order to receive credit for individual study broad, a student must receive prior academic approval from UW Law School. The student needs to develop, in consultation with the Dean of Academic Services, a written plan that defines the student’s objective for the period of study abroad and sets forth an approved course of study for the student at the foreign institution. The plan must define the educational objectives sought to be achieved by the student during the period of study abroad. The plan also shall specify the methods to be employed in evaluating the student's performance.

        Academic Services has the relevant forms that need to be completed by the student in order to receive such approval

        Step One: Students who wish to participate in a non-ABA approved program should make an appointment with the Dean of Academic Services in order to:
        • Identify the institution in which the student wishes to enroll;
        • Discuss the proposed course load and plan of study. Law School credit hours vary from program to program. The UW is also on the quarter system whereas most law schools operate on the semester system. UW School of Law needs to determine what credit conversion is appropriate.
        Step Two: Based upon feedback form the Dean, the student will submit a revised plan of study for formal approval. As part of the approval process, the student will need to obtain the following:
        • Written assurances from the foreign institution that the School can achieve the student’s proposed educational object; and
        • the name and title of the appointed advisor for each student. The advisor must be able to effectively monitor the student’s study at the institution. The advisor may be a faculty member or a law school administrator at the foreign institution that has the training and experience to discharge such a responsibility.
      2. Review of plan of Study Once Study Abroad Completed

        The Dean for Academic Services, or designate, is required to review course materials and sufficient written work of each student to ensure that the program meets standards equivalent to those employed at the parent school.
  2. UW Law School Requirements

    Because of the ABA requirements set forth above, a student who wishes to design an independent plan of study at a foreign law school, must first meet with the Dean of Academic services to discuss the proposed plan of study and to evaluate whether the educational institution and the proposed curriculum will satisfy ABA requirements. Consultation with the Dean should be done well in advance of the planned visit, in order to have sufficient time to evaluate the proposal and submit the relevant forms to the ABA.

    Upon completion of the study abroad programs, the student must submit copies of official transcripts and related documentation in order to receive UW Law School credit for the study abroad.
  3. UW Requirements
    1. Concurrent Enrollment Policy

      Students may wish to study abroad as part of a non- ABA-approved program during the summer or the academic year and also to be concurrently enrolled at the University of Washington (in order to receive financial aid, insurance, etc). In this case, students will need to register for FSTDY 300 and pay a registration fee of $200. All coursework must be approved by the Law School prior to the student commencing study abroad for at least 10 credits per quarter they are overseas. The student may obtain the relevant paperwork from the Office of international Programs and Exchanges in Schmitz Hall.

      If a UW Law student is taking courses at a UW partner institution, see section 3.c. below. If the study is not at a UW partner institution, the student would be required to pay the tuition for study abroad at the foreign institution, but would not be required to pay additional UW tuition outside of the $200 concurrent enrollment registration fee.
    2. Course, Credit and Grade Conversion

      Upon the student’s return, the Law School Office of Academic Services, in consultation with the Dean of Academic Programs, will convert the courses, credits and grades earned for study abroad into the equivalent course names, credits and grades for the University of Washington School of Law.
    3. Programs that are also part of official UW Program or Exchange

      Should a law student wish to study in an individual study abroad program (non-ABA approved) where the University of Washington has a formal exchange agreement, he or she, under certain circumstance, may be eligible to enroll in the UW program and pay UW tuition rather than the tuition of the foreign educational institution. This is the “home tuition” model.
      1. The student must apply to be admitted to the UW exchange program and submit a formal application to the International Programs and Exchanges Office
      2. Once approved the student will be eligible to pay home (University of Washington) tuition for study abroad rather than the overseas tuition (assuming the host institution is willing to accept the student on such terms)
      3. The student MUST enroll concurrently in the foreign institution and with the University of Washington the student will need to register for FSTDY 300 via the IP&E Office prior to departure and pay a registration fee of $200 per quarter.

C. Financial Aid

Students should consult with the Financial Aid Office at the Law School concerning financial aid for an international externship. Students will need to require a revised financial aid request as part of the process if requesting additional assistance the summer placement.

D. UW Office of International Programs and Exchanges

Students may wish to visit the UW Office of International Programs and Exchanges in Schmitz Hall. Although this office caters mainly to undergraduate study abroad, it does have general information relating to foreign universities.

The office also has a list of universities with which the UW has reciprocal exchange agreements. Law Students may be able to study at the law faculty/department of one of the UW sister universities as part of the UW exchange agreements.

This will require consultation with the Dean of Academic Services at the Law School, the UW Office of International Programs and the host institution to gain approval. If approval is granted , students are able to pay UW tuition and study overseas. Please note that studying abroad pursuant to a UW exchange agreement is done on a case by case basis. Students who participate on any of the UW exchanges are required to attend a half-day orientation prior to departure.

This office can also provide students with information concerning travel and study abroad relating to medical care and health insurance, vaccinations, accommodation abroad, obtaining student visas, applying for student travel cards, etc.

Appendices & Resources

Appendix I: ABA Standards Applicable to Foreign Study Opportunities

Appendix II: Guidelines for UW Law School Student Participation in Overseas Externships or Study Abroad

Appendix III: Law School Externship Guidelines and Forms

Download full PDF copy of guidelines and appendices.

Study Abroad Opportunities

Last updated 3/3/2014