Academic Programs

Foreign Study through a non-BU Law Program

BU Law students may, under limited circumstances, petition the school for permission to study at a foreign institution outside the framework of a BU Law-sponsored study abroad program.   Students should first familarize themselves with the American Bar Association's relevant criteria for foreign study, including the Criteria for Student Study at a Foreign Institution.  They should also read BU Law's Academic Regulations regarding foreign study.

Other Schools' "Semester Abroad" Programs

BU Law's Academic Regulations permit students to petition the Academic Standards Committee for permission to particiapte in a "semester abroad" program offered by another ABA-approved law school.  (The phrase "Semester Abroad Program" is an ABA term-of-art and refers to a specific program arrangement whereby the American parent school sends overeas a full-time faculty member to Direct the program. The American Bar Association has approved only ten "semester abroad" programs, nearly all of which are in London.) To qualify to petition to take part in another school's "semester abroad" program, (1) the progam needs to be located in a country where BU Law does not offer a program;  or (2) you need to have unsuccessfully applied to a BU Law-sponsored study abroad program.

Studying Outside a BU Law Program or Outside a "Semester Abroad Program"

If you are interested in studying at a foreign school that is neither a BU Law foreign exchange partner, nor the host of an ABA-approved "semester abroad" program, you may still petition the ASC, but permission will be granted only in "exceptional cases."    The ABA criteria to allow schools to grant credit for these types of individual programs are cumbersome and require that the petitioning student secure specific arrangements that help ensure the academic integrity of the proposed program.  Please note the following:

  • You must find an academic adviser at both schools. Your BU advisor must be a full-time faculty member .  At the host institution, your adviser is preferably a faculty member.  An administrator who knows the curriculum/course content well and has experience advising foreign students is also acceptable.
  • The BU Law faculty member must approve your course of study, and endorse your written proposal for the Academic Standards Committee. 
  • Your adviser at the foreign institution must provide written assurances that your plan can be achieved while you are studying at the foreign institution, and that he or she will monitor your work and progress while you are at the foreign institution. 
  • You are accountable for gathering all the materials to petition the Academic Standards Committee.  All work should be done before submitting your petition. Once you have gathered all the necessary information, you can obtain a petition in the Registrar’s Office, and submit it to the Academic Standards Committee, who will make the final decision.  Your plan should include a written statement detailing why you wish to study at the foreign school, and how it fits within your overall BU Law academic plan.  You also will be required to complete a follow-up written evaluation of your experience abroad upon return, if your proposal is approved. 
  • You must take a full course load as defined by the host institution.
  • If you are petitioning to study in a foreign country where BU Law already has an established foreign study program, you must have previously (and unsuccessfully) applied to one of BU Law’s programs.
  • If you are studying at a non-BU Law sponsored foreign program, your BU Law financial aid will not transfer, and you will be charged a 10% in absentia fee (of the BU Law tuition amount for that semester).

Questions may be directed to Assistant Dean John Riccardi.