J.D. Study Abroad
USC Gould School of Law offers select study abroad programs* for J.D. students which provide opportunities to learn about foreign legal systems and experience different cultures. Qualified second and third year J.D. candidates are exposed to international law as they take part in exchange programs with leading partner institutions worldwide. Experience in other cultures and knowledge of international legal arenas is important for law school graduates in an increasingly interconnected world.
Information sessions are held each fall for current J.D. students on the study abroad opportunities available through USC Law. Current students may view detailed policies and application materials on the law school portal.
* Study abroad offerings are subject to change in any given semester. Admission to the J.D. program does not guarantee admission to participate in a USC Law study abroad program. Please contact the Graduate & International Programs office for the most up-to-date information.
Graduate & International Programs
USC Gould School of Law
"The networking opportunity of a lifetime. The exchange program is more than a chance to learn about the laws of another country (or countries for that matter). It is a chance to make both colleagues and friends in the legal community beyond the United States and into the world."
- Benjamin N. Graham, J.D. 2013
"Studying in France was the highlight of my law school experience. Spending a semester focusing on international business law enhanced my legal education, which had been primarily focused on domestic law. I also had an amazing time getting to know a diverse group of students and faculty, and living and traveling in Europe for those few months was unforgettable. I would recommend study abroad to any law student who is interested in international law and up for an adventure."
- Kristina Holliman, J.D. 2013
"Studying abroad is one of the best choices I've made in law school: it provides a chance to move the legal education away from just reading American case law to learning about all the different perspectives on law. Plus, it's just so much fun that it doesn't even seem fair that you're still working towards a USC law degree while swimming in the Mediterranean, gorging on Italian food, strolling by ancient ruins, and all around having the time of your life."
- Elaine Lee, J.D. 2013
"Studying in Milan not only allowed me to focus on employment law in the European Union, but also provided an excellent opportunity to network abroad. I was able to work with an attorney in Italy who attended USC for his LL.M. degree. In addition, I was able to meet other law students from all over the United States and Europe. I would absolutely recommend studying abroad to anyone interested."
- Hillary Schmidt, J.D. 2013
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to participate in USC Law study abroad programs?
USC Law study abroad programs are only open to current USC Law J.D. students. Current students may participate in the fall or spring of the 2L year or the fall of the 3L year. Transfer students, LL.M. students, and students on restricted enrollment are not eligible to study abroad.
How many students are selected to study abroad each year?
USC Gould School of Law sends up to 2 USC J.D. students to each program each semester. Since we can only send a limited number of students, the selection process tends to be quite competitive.
What is the application process?
Applications and policies are available to current J.D. students on the law school’s portal website. Students rank programs of interest on the application form. Applications are due in the spring of each year, after which interviews are conducted with candidates for all programs.
What is the admissions committee looking for in a candidate?
The committee weighs academic records heavily. Since studying abroad requires a lot of self-motivated study, we look for students who perform well in school and also prove to be independent in nature. Some experience abroad may be helpful, as well as having clear ideas on how this program will aid long-term academic, professional and personal goals.
How much does it cost to participate in study abroad?
Exchange program students continue to pay full-time USC Gould School of Law tuition while they study abroad. Students will be individually responsible for all other fees, including health insurance, housing, meals, transportation, etc. while living abroad. Financial aid packages provided by USC Gould School of Law (including loans and scholarships) continue during the semester abroad.
Can I participate in another study abroad program not sponsored by USC Gould School of Law?
Students can participate in another ABA-accredited law school study abroad program during the summer. A maximum of five units from an approved program may be considered to be transferred to a student's J.D. degree, which must be approved by and coordinated with the law school Registrar before attending any study abroad program. Participation in an outside study abroad program not sponsored by USC Gould School of Law during the academic year is not encouraged. Interested students must petition to the law school’s Registrar.