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, including your own assigned library carrel, to pursue your research. 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 highly selective. We receive a large number of inquiries, but invite only eight 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.  We expect that candidates will limit their contacts only to faculty members whose scholarship relates to the candidate’s proposed research agenda.

All visiting scholar candidates must submit a formal application to the Visiting Scholar Committee.  Completed applications may be submitted via email to A complete application consists of the following materials. (A formal application must be submitted even if the candidate has sent some or all of these materials to a faculty member):

  • 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.  In appropriate circumstances, we may for an oral interview – typically by telephone – of a prospective visiting scholar by the prospective faculty mentor.

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

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

Each visiting scholar application is reviewed by the Visiting Scholars Committee.  If the candidate has not initiated contact with an appropriate faculty member or if an identified faculty member is not available to supervise the candidate’s research, 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.

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.