GLOBAL ALLIANCE PROGRAMS
International Criminal Law
University of Amsterdam Law School
The University of Amsterdam Law School international criminal law program is unique: It is among the Global Alliance Programs and, while not formally an international joint degree* program, it allows J.D. students to earn an LL.M. degree in international criminal law from the University of Amsterdam after spending only a single semester studying abroad.
The program highlights the hybrid nature of the field, drawing from both common law and civil law traditions. The program combines students from Columbia Law School and Amsterdam into a single cohort, with all students studying at Amsterdam for the fall semester followed by a spring semester at Columbia. Columbia Law School students earn both a J.D. degree from the Law School and the LL.M. from the University of Amsterdam within the three-year time frame required to complete the J.D. program.
*Unlike our other international joint degree programs, the award of the J.D. by Columbia is not contingent on the award of the LL.M. by the University of Amsterdam.
Amsterdam, Netherlands (fall semester) and Columbia Law School (spring semester).
Language of Instruction:
Interested students may take an intensive course in Dutch prior to the start of the semester and/or during the semester. Columbia Law School, however, only awards credit for law courses.
Pre- or co-requisites:
L6269 International Law; or L6183 The U.S. and the International Legal System
The Amsterdam Global Alliance program is a specialized, one-year program, in which students spend the fall in the Netherlands, but continue to follow a guided curriculum after returning to New York in the spring.
Students apply in the spring semester of the academic year prior to the semester when they wish to study abroad. During their Alliance year, students spend the fall semester in Amsterdam and the spring semester at Columbia. The semester abroad in Amsterdam generally runs from late August through mid-December. Preference is given to students seeking to participate in the program during their 3L year.
Tuition and Fees:
Students who participate in a study abroad program will continue to pay Columbia tuition, although in certain programs, health insurance and health service fees can be waived with proof of adequate alternative coverage for the entire year. All other student fees are waived. Consult the Office of International Programs for more information.
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. For more information visit the Office of International Programs to learn more about the costs of living in Amsterdam.
Health Insurance Requirements:
All students at the University of Amsterdam are required, by law, to have appropriate health insurance for the duration of their stay in the Netherlands. If students do not have appropriate coverage, they may purchase insurance through University of Amsterdam at a cost of about 500 euros per semester. Students who are able to provide proof of appropriate alternative insurance will not need to purchase this insurance from University of Amsterdam.
Non-EEA/EU students requesting a residence permit through the University of Amsterdam will also need to purchase liability insurance.
Columbia Law Students may be required to continue paying health insurance fees and health service fees at Columbia if appropriate alternative coverage for the entire academic year is not obtained.
The academic portion of the program centers on a prescribed core curriculum as well as a program-specific menu of specialized elective offerings, enabling students to customize their course schedules. (Some of the many electives recently offered at Columbia Law School include The Law of Genocide, Terror and Consent, and United Nations Peacekeeping.) Together with access to lectures by numerous renowned international academics and practitioners, the program enables a more interactive and collaborative environment than is most often found in a traditional law school setting. Moreover, the program offers students numerous additional benefits and unique opportunities; some of these include participation in a Workshop on International Criminal Tribunals (those addressing prosecutions in the former Yugoslavia and in Lebanon, for example), as well as the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. Participants may observe proceedings and confer with practitioners leading efforts at these venues. Several of the program’s Amsterdam faculty are defense attorneys involved in these important tribunals. Finally, the program also offers the possibility for participants to pursue coveted externships in the field of international criminal law.
Students admitted into the J.D./LL.M. program are immersed in a course of study focusing on international criminal law. During the program’s fall semester at Amsterdam Law School, students study international criminal law and procedure and are introduced to the field's civil law systems and traditions. They can also select another elective course or externship. While in Amsterdam, students are also afforded many experiential learning opportunities at leading courts and tribunals, such as the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The result is an education grounded in topical world issues in the field. Students create an outline for their LL.M. thesis during the fall semester.
In the spring semester, when the program shifts back to Columbia Law School, students are enrolled in the centerpiece colloquium on international criminal law, where access to a broad range of expert speakers and special events augment the classroom experience with firsthand accounts of real world situations. Participants choose additional classes from a menu of electives related to the study of international criminal law. They also register for and write a three-credit supervised research paper, which will count toward the 12 credits that are required to be earned from the program’s menu of approved courses.
Completion of the LL.M. requirements does not guarantee that the student has met all of the J.D. degree conferral requirements of Columbia Law School. To receive the J.D., students must still fulfill all of the standard degree requirements, such as earning a minimum of 83 credits—with 12 points awarded for the semester at the University of Amsterdam—and complete a class in Professional Responsibility. Additionally, students must complete all of the required pro bono hours and the major and minor writing requirements.
To receive Columbia Law School credit for courses taken in Amsterdam, a student must score a six or higher (on a scale of one to 10).
Students will receive transcripts from Amsterdam Law School. The grades earned abroad will not be listed on students’ Columbia transcripts; the Columbia transcript will only indicate the number of credits earned while participating in an international study abroad program.
Externships and Site Visits:
The program includes externship opportunities and visits to sites of professional interest such as The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and the International Criminal Court.
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.
Columbia Law School Application Requirements:
- 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).
Application materials required by the University of Amsterdam:
- Application form (available from the Columbia Law School Office of International Programs).
Important Notice Regarding Housing:
Student housing in Amsterdam, as in New York, can be difficult to find and expensive. Most Columbia Law School participants in this program have been very satisfied with third-party rental housing arranged independently or under the auspices of the University of Amsterdam. Others have found the distance of their accommodations from the city center to be inconvenient. The University of Amsterdam occasionally has access to special housing opportunities in more central areas, but these accommodations may be limited, be available only to self-organized groups of Columbia Law School students, and require an early and nonrefundable deposit.
It is important that Columbia Law School students consult with the Office of International Programs to understand and accept these challenges before committing to this program.
University of Amsterdam Online
Information Page on the University of Amsterdam website
Additional information about the application process for University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam Law School (homepage)
University of Amsterdam (homepage)
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 International and Comparative Law Programs, Columbia Law School
Office: William and June Warren Hall, Room 605