University of Neuchâtel Semester Exchange Program
Columbia University School of Law has established a program with the University of Neuchâtel (Neuchâtel) under which up to two Columbia Law students fluent in French may spend their second- or third-year spring semester in Switzerland while earning up to 12 credits toward their J.D.
Students may choose from a number of basic and specialized law courses in a variety of fields. This program is well-suited for students who are interested in either private or public international law. The University of Neuchâtel has strengths in constitutional and civil law. In addition, Columbia Law students may find two of Neuchâtel's specialized institutes of particular interest: the Health Law Institute, as well as the International Centre for Sports Studies.
The Program is conducted at the University of Neuchâtel, located approximately an hour by train from Geneva and an hour from Bern. Neuchâtel is situated on Lac de Neuchâtel and is surrounded by mountains. The population of Neuchâtel is approximately 40,000. The law faculty has approximately 420 students and approximately 27 full-time faculty members.
Because the fall semester at Neuchâtel begins in early October and ends in late January, the spring semester is the ideal semester for Columbia students. The spring semester begins in early March and ends in late June.
Eligibility and Application
Applications are accepted online from early February through early March in the spring semester prior to the year students wish to study abroad (e.g. 1Ls apply in the spring of their first year to go in the spring of their second year). As part of the application, students must submit a résumé, transcript and a statement describing their educational objectives and reasons for wishing to participate in the program. In addition, interviews to determine fluency and appropriateness for the program will be arranged. Selections will be made upon the strength of the statement, academic record at Columbia, faculty recommendations, and French fluency.
Description of Courses & Credit Hours
Students must take 5 courses of four hours a week (average load for Swiss students) to equal 12 credits at CLS. The course listing is available at the Neuchâtel website. Students may take both undergraduate (bachelor) and graduate (master) courses. All courses are conducted in French. Tutorial sessions (travaux dirigés) are often held in conjunction with the larger lectures.
Requirements & Grading Methods
Classes are conducted as both lectures and seminars. Classroom attendance is crucial for successful completion of courses and may be mandatory for some courses and seminars. Neuchâtel employs a numeric grading system from 1-6 with half-point intervals; 4 and above are passing grades. While students will receive grades from Neuchâtel, the Columbia transcript will reflect credit awarded for foreign study abroad.
According to ABA rules, students must be registered for a minimum of 11 credits in order to satisfy residency requirements. 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 the grades received at Neuchâtel.
Participation in an exchange program or semester study abroad program does not exempt students from any requirements for the J.D. degree (i.e. professional ethics offering, pro bono service, etc).
Students will continue to pay Columbia tuition, health insurance and health service fees. Other Columbia Student Activity Fees will be waived.
Neuchâtel reserves the right to cancel any course for reasons of insufficient student registration. Students will receive due notice to that effect. If changes are announced prior to a student’s departure 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 at Neuchâtel, substitute courses must be selected and submitted for approval to the Dean of Comparative and 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 required academic points in international, foreign, or comparative law. Students should contact the Parker School upon completion of the program to ascertain how many credits will be awarded for their foreign study.
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