INTERNATIONAL JOINT DEGREE PROGRAM
University of Paris 1—Pantheon-Sorbonne Law School
J.D./M1 in French Law
The J.D./M1 joint degree program at the University of Paris 1—Pantheon-Sorbonne Law School (the Sorbonne or Paris 1) is ideal for students who aspire to practice law in both the U.S. and France. It offers a complete course of study in both legal systems, affording students an extremely high measure of preparation for the transnational practice of law. Upon the successful completion of the four years of study, participants will receive the J.D. from Columbia and the Master 1 in French law from the Sorbonne.
Language of Instruction:
French. Columbia Law students are required to show proof of their French language proficiency as a part of the application process.
The Paris 1—Sorbonne J.D./M1 is a 4-year program. It consists of two years of law study at Columbia Law School followed by two years at Paris 1. Upon the successful completion of the four years of study, the participants receive the J.D. degree from Columbia and the M1 from the Sorbonne, the most common pre-requisites for taking the bar examinations in the United States and in France. Thus, the number of years normally required for obtaining these degrees (three years at Columbia and five years at the Sorbonne) is considerably reduced.
Students can potentially shorten their time in Paris to one year, rather than two, if they petition to do so during their first semester at the Sorbonne. They then receive a J.D. and an LL.M., rather than an M1, and are not able to take the French bar exam.
The academic calendar runs roughly from mid-September to December (with exams in January), and late January through the end of June. Recommended arrival for students is during the first week of September for Orientation.
Tuition and Fees:
Columbia students pay full tuition during the first two years of the program at Columbia. In each of the third and fourth years at the Sorbonne, students are required to pay 50 percent of the normal tuition fees. Other fees, including student activity fees, etc. will be waived. See below for information about health insurance and fees.
Cost of Living:
Students are responsible for the cost of living while abroad. These costs include travel to and from the foreign country, housing expenses, food, utilities, entertainment, and all other costs associated with study abroad. Please consult with the Office of International Programs to learn more about the cost of living in Paris.
The Sorbonne does not have on-site housing facilities. However, students will be assisted in their housing search, and the school can sometimes arrange for accommodations in a student residence, which can be reserved in advance. Students accepted into the program will be given additional information.
All students must be covered by the French National Student Health Insurance (Sécurité sociale) in order to qualify for full-time student status in France. Students under the age of 28 are required to purchase this insurance (approximately 215 euros for a year). This insurance is not offered through the university, but is a national health care service and there is no option for a waiver of this requirement.
Students over the age of 28 are not eligible for this student health coverage. They must either purchase mandatory health coverage at a slightly higher rate or prove that their existing insurance satisfies certain conditions. The Columbia insurance plan does satisfy these conditions and proof of this can be obtained and submitted with the original visa application. Columbia Law students may be required to pay health insurance fees and health service fees at Columbia if appropriate alternative coverage is not obtained.
Important note for international students (i.e., F1 visa holders):
Please be sure to speak with ISSO about the implications of an international joint degree program for your F1 visa status and OPT. As a general rule, if you spend your entire 3L year abroad and do not receive your degree in May of that year, your F1 status will end upon completion of your 2L year. Specific challenges and strategies may vary depending on nationality.
Columbia Law Students are required to maintain a full-time course load while studying abroad. Students who are accepted into the Paris 1/Sorbonne program will be given more specific information about course schedules, and the number of classes required to maintain a full-time schedule.
At Columbia Law School:
Students are expected to take all required Foundation courses in their first year. In the second year, students must take 31 credits of U.S. law.
At the Sorbonne
In the first year in Paris, students take the courses taught to French students in the first and second years of law school. The curriculum at Paris focuses on private law courses, and has been organized to provide students with a solid grounding in French law and the majority of subjects covered in the Paris bar.
Paris 1/Sorbonne uses the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) to determine credits. A full-time course load consists of at least 30 ECTS per semester.
Students are evaluated through formal written examinations and oral exams. Students receive numeric grades between zero and 20 for individual courses, which are then averaged together at the end of each year for a final grade. To receive a passing grade, and credit from Columbia Law School, students must score a 10 or higher. Students who fail to receive a passing grade (10) are allowed to retake exams in September.
French honors or mention are given as follows for final grades:
17 or higher
Students who participate in one of the joint degree programs will receive transcripts from the partner school they attend. The grades earned abroad will not be listed on students’ Columbia transcripts. The Columbia transcript will indicate the number of credits earned while participating in an international study abroad program.
It may be possible, while studying abroad, to arrange work with a local nongovernmental organization that would qualify towards the fulfillment of the pro bono requirement. Please consult with Social Justice Initiatives for further information.
Online applications for all international study abroad programs are open during the month of February each year. Students who wish to enroll in one of the international joint degree programs should plan to apply in the spring semester of their 1L year in order to go abroad during their 3L (and in this case 4L) year. In early April, applicants will be informed if they have passed the initial screening. Follow-up interviews for selected students will also be conducted in French by a fluent French speaker in the Columbia community.
Columbia Law School Requires the following:
- Columbia Law School Study Abroad Application, including a Personal Statement.
- Curriculum Vitae.
- The name of a Columbia Law School faculty member who can submit a brief recommendation.
- Official transcript (i.e., configure LawNet/Apply for Study Abroad/My Services to allow OIP access to your transcript).
Paris 1/Sorbonne requires the following from Nominated Students:
For up-to-date information, please consult with Columbia Law School's Office of International Programs.
Paris 1/Sorbonne Law School Online
École de droit de la Sorbonne
For more information
Visit the Office of International Programs in William and June Warren Hall, 6th Floor. There, you can view any additional information on file from our partner schools, as well as any relevant program evaluations that have been submitted by students who have participated in this and other study abroad programs.
Studying abroad has been very beneficial for many students who are considering a public interest career, but that the timing of overseas study may also present scheduling conflicts with regard to public interest hiring calendars. Please consult with Social Justice Initiatives to learn more.
Director of International Student Exchange and Joint Degree Programs
Office of Internatinal and Comparative Law Programs, Columbia Law School
Office: William and June Warren Hall, Room 605
Phne 212 854-8170