Conduct research, observe classes, go to workshops

As a visiting scholar, you’ll benefit from exchanging ideas with our faculty, other visiting scholars, and the significant number of lawyers and jurists from around the world who are enrolled in graduate legal studies. You’ll have full access to the BU Law Libraries to pursue your research, including your own assigned library carrel. Space permitting, you are also invited to observe classes and attend faculty workshops and other academic events. Visits range from a few weeks to a full year and may start at any time.

Application process and selection criteria

BU Law’s Visiting Scholar Program is very selective. We receive a large number of inquiries about opportunities, but invite only 10 scholars to be in residence at any given time. In reviewing inquiries, the Visiting Scholars Committee takes into account each prospective visitor’s educational and experiential background, scholarly achievements, area of academic interest, specific research proposal, institutional affiliations, and English language skills. We also consider the availability and interest of a BU Law faculty member to supervise or collaborate in the proposed research project or otherwise mentor the prospective visitor. You may initiate contacts with appropriate faculty members to try to arrange for a suitable relationship.

Each visiting scholar application is reviewed by the Visiting Scholars Committee, regardless of whether the application was sent to the school administration or directly to a faculty member with whom a prospective visitor wishes to collaborate. In the former situation, the Committee may ask members of the faculty who have compatible research interests to consider the application.

Relationships between a visiting scholars and BU Law faculty mentors range from close collaboration to casual oversight. It is important that the nature and scope of the relationship, as well as the specifics of the research project, be worked out by the two before the Committee takes final action on the application. A key element in the selection process is an oral interview – typically by telephone – of each prospective visiting scholar by the prospective faculty mentor to work out these issues and to assure that the two will be able to communicate comfortably.

If you’re interested in becoming a visiting scholar, please send the following materials to the Visiting Scholars Committee at the address indicated below:

  • A résumé or curriculum vitae
  • A description of the proposed research, including a statement explaining why BU Law is an appropriate setting for the work
  • The name of the BU Law faculty member or members whom you propose to serve as your mentor. (If a BU Law faculty member has agreed to serve as your mentor, you should provide a letter from that faculty member indicating his or her willingness to do so.)
  • A letter of recommendation from an academic colleague
  • The proposed length and dates of the visit
  • If you are interested in observing a particular course, a statement indicating the course and the reasons for your interest

If English is not your native language you should describe your experience and training in English and the degree of your proficiency with the English language. English proficiency is a significant factor in granting invitations. TOEFL and academic records may also be requested.

Although we welcome Visiting Scholar applications any time, if you wish to visit in the fall term, which begins at the end of August, you are encouraged to begin the application process early enough so that your application can be completed by March 1. In all cases, applications should be completed no later than six months prior to the proposed visit.

All inquiries, applications, and supporting materials should be addressed to:

Visiting Scholars Committee
Boston University School of Law
765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

Visiting Scholar Fee and Visas

Visiting Scholars pay a fee of $5,000 for an academic year. In cases where the length of stay will be less than a full academic year, the fee is $2,500 per semester or any part thereof. BU Law does not waive this fee. Most visitors are supported by funding sources in their home countries or through sabbatical leave salaries from their home institutions. No financial aid, stipends, or housing are available.

If you are invited to visit we’ll provide you with information about visas and other important details. You’ll also be asked to supply financial documentation to support your visa application. Such documents must be originals, in English, which certify financial ability in terms of US dollars. Please be aware that, unless your visit coincides with the academic year, finding reasonably affordable short-term housing in the Boston area may be difficult.