Special Note: This program descriptions is currently being revised. Please be sure to check back soon! (September 2015)
Humboldt University Semester Exchange Program
Columbia Law School has established a semester exchange program with Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin ("Humboldt") under which up to two Columbia Law students fluent in German may spend their spring semester in Berlin, acquiring up to 13 credits toward the J.D. degree.
Humboldt University is Berlin's oldest institution of higher learning. It was established in 1880 in the palace of Prince Friedrich Heinrich Ludwig of Prussia, a building that dates back to 1765. Today it comprises approximately 2,500 students. This is a German language program providing an excellent basis for comparative legal studies and the treatment of international legal matters.
Humboldt is located in the center of Berlin on the historic Unter den Linden Avenue.
The program is available to 2Ls and 3Ls in the spring semester only, from mid-April to July. It may be preferrable to go in the spring of the 2L year, as the semester will not end in time to allow 3Ls to take the Bar in July.
Eligibility and Application
Students must be fluent in German in order to apply, and interviews to determine German fluency, as well as suitability for the program, are arranged for all applicants. Applications from full-time Columbia students are accepted online from early February through early March for the following academic year. As part of the application, students must submit a resume, Columbia transcript, and a statement describing their educational objectives and reasons for participating in the program. Selections are made based upon the strength of the statement, academic record at Columbia, and faculty recommendations.
Description of Courses & Credit Hours
At Humboldt, Columbia students take part in the program of Basic Knowledge of German Law ("Grundkenntnisse"). Students must take civil law, public law or criminal law, as well as an EU law course, plus a seminar of their choosing. 3L students who successfully complete the program are awarded a University Certificate on Basic Knowledge of German Law. Course descriptions and a schedule of classes are available from the Office of International Programs as well as at the Humboldt website: www.rewi.hu-berlin.de As with all of the Law School's foreign programs, students earn credit only for those courses offered through the Faculty of Law.
Requirements for Student Performance & Grading Methods
Students are graded on a numeric scale by Humboldt and evaluated by oral or written exam on each course. In the seminars, students are required to write a paper and to give an oral presentation. Acceptance of any grade for any course taken in the program is subject to determination by Columbia Law School. In addition, students must submit written reports on their course work every four weeks, to be reviewed by the CLS faculty sponsor. Students who fail to comply with this requirement do not receive credit regardless of their grades at Humboldt. Transcripts are provided by Humboldt to Columbia. However, students' Columbia transcripts reflect only credit for classes passed.
Every semester Humboldt offers free German language courses for Erasmus students at three levels: beginning, intermediate, and advanced. Students may wish to enroll in these classes; however, they will not receive credit for any non-law courses.
Please note: participation in an exchange program or semester study abroad program does not exempt students from any requirements for the J.D. degree (i.e. pro bono service, writing credits etc.). Columbia students continue to pay Columbia tuition, health insurance and health service fees. Other Columbia student fees are waived. Students may waive health insurance and health service fees at Columbia if alternative coverage is obtained.
Humboldt has reserved the right to cancel any course for reasons of insufficient student registration. If changes are announced prior to a student's departure from the U.S., and the student is unable to identify satisfactory substitute courses, the student may choose to withdraw from the program. If cancellation occurs after the student has arrived in Germany, substitute courses must be selected and submitted for approval to the Office of International Programs of Columbia Law School.
Parker School Recognition
Students participating in a semester study abroad program are eligible to receive up to 7 of the 10 academic points in international, foreign or comparative law required for Parker School recognition. Students should contact the Parker School upon completion of the program to ascertain how many credits will be awarded for their foreign study.
Contact Individuals & Application
Office of International Programs
Tel: (212) 854-8170; fax: (212) 851-7691
Columbia Law School
435 W. 116th St
New York, NY 10027
Columbia Law School's Office of International Programs is located at:
William and June Warren Hall (WJ)
1125 Amsterdam Avenue, 6th Floor.
Unter den Linden 6 10099 Berlin