Semester Study Abroad Frequently-Asked Questions

Getting Started






Getting Started

Should I study abroad?

The decision to study abroad is a complicated one.  As the practice of law becomes increasingly international, study abroad during law school has increasing professional benefits.  Past participants have regarded their semesters abroad as one of the highlights of their law school education. But studying abroad requires trade-offs. Any semester abroad means forsaking a semester of study at Cardozo.  Credits earned through study abroad do not count in a student’s grade point average.  Job search activities are limited from abroad.  Certain clinical opportunities, moot court competitions, and editorial positions on a journal are not available to students who are not in residence at Cardozo for a full academic year.  Interested students should meet with the Assistant Dean for Graduate and International Programs to discuss their options.

When is the best time to study abroad?

Students may apply to spend their fourth, fifth or sixth semester of law school abroad, though in the case of over-subscription, 3Ls will be given preference.  When and whether to study abroad depends on an individual student’s curricular plans and professional goals.  Students interested in studying abroad for a semester are urged to meet with a counselor in the Office of Career Services to discuss the consequences of missing a particular semester with regard to the job search. 

How do I choose a program?

You should first think about whether you wish to participate in a Cardozo program or whether you would prefer to research and select an independent study abroad program.  Independent study abroad requires a great deal more research and initiative on your part to find a school, receive approval and arrange admission.  See for links to websites which will help you identify law schools abroad.  The Associate Dean for Graduate and International Programs is also available for an appointment to help you consider your options.

Can transfer students study abroad?

Transfer students are permitted to study abroad for a semester.  However, transfer students may not meet requirements for residency to graduate summa cum laude,(which requires five upper level semesters of graded coursework) and Order of the Coif (top 10%), which requires 75% of law studies in graded courses.


Will I get credit?

A maximum of 12 credits may transferred from semester study abroad, unless special permission is otherwise granted.  Credit will be awarded only for courses with a grade of “C” (or the equivalent) or better, though grades are not transferred, and do not count in a student’s grade point average.

Which Cardozo requirements may I fulfill through a study abroad program?

Students following Distribution Requirements:
A semester spent abroad fulfills the Category IV distribution requirement.  Except in the case of prior approval of a course taught by a U.S. professor teaching a course on U.S. law, no other Cardozo graduation requirements may be fulfilled through study abroad. 

Students following Core Course Requirements:
A semester of study abroad may be used in place of the Comparative Law course requirement in the JD core course list, provided law courses are taken that pertain to the country or region of study abroad.  Students must fulfill the four additional core course requirements at Cardozo.


How does payment work?

Cardozo students studying abroad for a semester pay tuition and fees to Cardozo. There is no adjustment to tuition or fees. Students do not pay tuition or fees to the host institution.  All costs related to travel, housing, books, and incidental expenses are the responsibility of the student.

How will study abroad affect my financial aid?

Because you pay tuition to Cardozo, your financial aid will be applied in the same way as it would if you were spending the semester at home.  However, before applying to any semester abroad opportunity, please consult the Office of Student Finance with any specific questions about your aid package, and to inquire about procedures for getting any loan refund to you while you are abroad.


How do I apply?

The application for study abroad for both the semester exchange programs and for independent study abroad should be completed through Symplicity and must be accompanied by a statement of purpose, a current resume or CV, and a letter of recommendation from a Cardozo professor.  The letter of recommendation should be from someone who knows you and can attest to your performance in class and, if possible, to your aptitude for a semester abroad.  Letters of recommendation can be delivered to Kevin Gschwend or sent by email to directly by the recommender. Please alert your faculty recommender that recommendations are often forwarded to the foreign exchange partner.

Applications to study abroad during a fall semester are due by March 15; for a spring semester, applications are due by October 15.  Students are notified if they are approved for study abroad 2-4 weeks later.

What is looked for in the application?

In addition to your academic performance (minimum grade point average of 3.00), your progress toward meeting Cardozo graduation requirements, your fulfillment of course requirements for that particular institution (where applicable) and the strength of your letter of recommendation, your reasons for wishing to study abroad will be strongly considered. In writing your essay, you should indicate how your study abroad experience will fit into your academic and professional plans. Personal reasons for study will be considered, thought they will not be as heavily weighted as academic/career reasons.

How competitive is the admissions process?

The admissions process consists of Cardozo granting permission for you to go, and oftentimes also requires permission from the host school to allow you to come.  The Cardozo selection process depends in part on the number of available slots for the program and the number and caliber of the other students applying for those spaces.   Generally speaking, we have been able to meet most of the demand of our applicant pool in their first or second choices.

Because Cardozo nominates candidates to the partner institution, it is unlikely the exchange partner will not accept a student after Cardozo grants permission to study abroad.


How does the visa process work?

Each country has its own regulations regarding visas, including type of visa required and procedures for securing it.  Please see program information for each program on details of visa requirements, and be aware that the visa application process can take several weeks to months. Students should inquire about and begin making arrangements to secure the proper visa as early as possible.

In most cases, students abroad will live off-campus.  The amount of assistance afforded students by the host institution with regard to housing varies by program.  Please see the program information for each program for details on housing for that particular program.

Language Courses
Though most programs offer courses in English, students who have a working knowledge of the language of the host country will generally receive greater benefit from their experience. Students may also find it useful to take language classes while in residence in the host country. No law school credit will be awarded for language study

How can I get health insurance for my time abroad?
Students should be sure they are fully covered with health insurance for the duration of their program abroad. Check with your current insurance on benefits overseas. You can also look for international insurance through companies like Cultural Insurance Services International, which provides coverage for students abroad.