University of Buenos Aires Semester Exchange Program
Since 1997, Columbia Law School has had a program with the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) under which up to five Columbia Law students fluent in Spanish may spend their second- or third-year fall or spring semester in Buenos Aires.
Students may choose from a broad array of courses in a multitude of disciplines, including civil law, comparative law, human rights law, economic and commercial law, labor law, philosophy of law, and international private and public law, among other topics. The program director is Professor Monica Pinto, Secretary of the Law School and a professor of public law and human rights law.
The program is conducted at the University of Buenos Aires. The university is the largest in Latin America, having a total of 183,000 students, 23,000 of whom are studying law. There are over 900 officers of instruction and approximately 1000 courses offered each year. While the number of students is large, the average lecture size is 52 students, with most upper-level courses having under 20 students.
The semesters at University of Buenos Aires are 16 weeks long, with the fall (Northern Hemisphere) semester commencing the first Monday in August until the end of November, and the spring (Northern Hemisphere) semester commencing the first Monday in March and ending in late June or early July.
Eligibility & Application Procedure
Written applications are accepted from first and second year Columbia Law students and will be reviewed by International Programs and Professor Alejandro Garro. Students must be fluent in Spanish in order to apply. The online application opens in early February and ends in early March. As part of the application, students must submit a resume, transcript, and a statement describing their educational objectives and reasons for wishing to participate in the program. In addition, interviews to determine Spanish fluency and appropriateness for the program are arranged. Selections are made based upon the strength of the statement, academic record at Columbia, faculty commendations and Spanish fluency.
Description of Courses & Credit Hours
One UBA credit is equal to one Columbia credit. Therefore, students must take a minimum of 12 credit hours in Buenos Aires in order to receive 12 credits at Columbia Law School. Generally courses meet twice a week for one and one half hours per meeting. Certain courses are not offered for the full 16-week period. For example, courses running from August to November are 4 credit hours, from August to October are 3 credit hours, and from October to November are 2 credit hours. Copies of the UBA course offerings are available online at the University of Buenos Aires’ website. All course schedules must be approved by Columbia Law School.
Internship at the Federal Court of Appeals
Up to two students participating in the exchange program with the UBA may apply for a clerkship at the Federal Court of Appeals of Buenos Aires. This court deals primarily with cases involving maritime and intellectual property law. This is an unpaid clerkship, but provides a wonderful opportunity for firsthand contact with the Argentine legal system.
Requirements for Student Performance & Grading Methods
Classes are conducted as either lectures or seminars. Generally the upper-class offerings are seminar-style with a good deal of interaction between the instructor and students. Classroom attendance is taken in most courses at UBA. Because of the large number of courses offered, courses are held from very early in the morning to late at night on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (there are no classes on Wednesdays). Students may be required to submit papers, weekly assignments and/or take exams (generally a mid-term and final). The Argentine grading system employs a scale of 0 to 10, 10 being the highest and 4 a passing grade. Term papers may be graded according to this system. Students must submit written reports on their course work to Columbia every four weeks. Students who fail to comply will not receive credit regardless of their grades at Buenos Aires. Whenever possible, students' written work in examinations and papers also is reviewed by Columbia Law School after it has been graded in Argentina. Acceptance of any credit or grade for any course taken in the program is subject to determination by Columbia Law School. Students receive grades from the University of Buenos Aires, but the Columbia transcripts reflect only credit for courses passed.
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, etc).
Students continue to pay Columbia tuition, health insurance, and health service fees. Other Columbia student activity fees are waived. Tuition fees at Buenos Aires are waived.
The University of Buenos Aires reserves 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 Argentina, 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 West 116th Street
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.
Professor Alejandro Garro
Tel: (212) 854-2692