Study Abroad Opportunities

Law Center students have the option of studying abroad and earning credit that counts toward their law degree. There are many professional benefits in a study abroad experience.

There are three general approaches available to Law Center students to study abroad.

Credits earned abroad may be used to meet graduation requirements, provided that certain criteria are met.  Students must earn at least a “C” grade or its equivalent in the study abroad program to receive credit. After completion of the first full year of law studies (thirty semester units), Law Center students interested in study abroad under the first or third approach listed above must request permission from the Associate Dean for Student Affairs to take courses at another law school.  Required courses (i.e., all first year courses, Professional Responsibility and the senior writing requirement) must be taken in residence at the Law Center.  A student must be in good standing in order to study abroad under the first or third approach.

LL.M. students may also study abroad and receive up to 6 credits towards their LL.M. Degree.

Students desiring to study abroad during a semester, under any of the approaches, should consider the additional planning ramifications necessary to be away during the semester as opposed to merely a summer-abroad program. Starting the preparations early helps in all cases, but is particularly useful for a semester abroad.

Approach One:  Participating in a UHLC Exchange Program

For NACLE schools and some of the Other Exchange Agreement schools, Law Center students pay the same tuition and fees to the University of Houston that they would pay for a semester at the Law Center, but attend foreign law schools or programs. Student will need to verify tuition rates with the school they are interested in attending. Some of the foreign programs are taught in English. Some, however, require proficiency in another language.

Currently, the Law Center has established exchange opportunities with the following schools.

University of Houston Law Center and University of Calgary Faculty of Law International Energy Lawyers Program (IELP) Dual Degree JD Program

* The UH Law Center and The University of Calgary offer an International Energy Lawyers Program which allows students to earn both American and Canadian law degrees in four years. Students will spend two years at each school and take courses that will enable them to apply for admission to bars in the United States and Canada. The driving force behind the program is a shared commitment to natural resource, energy and environmental law.

Complete Program Description

Degree Plan

 

North American Consortium on Legal Education (NACLE)

NACLE comprises about a dozen participating law schools in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Law Center students have the opportunity to spend a semester at a member institute in Canada or Mexico.

Canada Campuses

  • McGill University in Montreal, Quebec
  • The University of Dalhousie in Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C.
  • The University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Ontario

Mexico Campuses

  • ITESM, Monterrey Tech in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon
  • Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City
  • Instituto de Investigaciones Juridicas, UNAM in Mexico City
  • Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico City

Other Exchange Agreement Schools

Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon – The Universidade Católica Portuguesa has several campuses in Portugal. Our exchange agreement is with the Faculty of Law on the Lisbon campus. The curriculum has an important European and international focus and includes courses on several areas of European Union Law, Comparative Law, Business Law and Criminal Law.

Wonkwang University College of Law, KoreaCourses in this program are offered in Korean and English. You may select from the following departments: the Departments of Law, the Department of Police, and the School of Law Administration. Students pay Wonkwang tuition.

Fundacao Getulio Vargas, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilCourses in this program are primarily offered Portuguese, although there are several courses taught in English by visiting scholars from around the world. The fall semester runs from August through December, while the spring semester begins in February and ends in June.

Yeditepe University Law Faculty, Istanbul – The emphasis of this program is aimed at teaching students to compete in a competitive and complex global environment. Courses are primarily taught in Turkish; however, there are a host of courses offered in English and German, in addition to several other languages.

Application procedure for Other Exchange Agreement Schools

Course descriptions for courses to be taken at the Other Exchange Agreement School, and a Law Center petition, must be submitted for approval to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in advance of the semester in question.  A student must earn a minimum of a “C” in a course at a visiting institution in order to receive credit toward their Law Center degree.  Grades earned at another institution will not be calculated into the student’s Law Center cumulative grade point average. 

Approach Two:  Foreign Study Programs Offered by Other U.S. Law Schools

Our students also may participate in law programs offered by other American Bar Association-approved law schools around the world. Students must be admitted by the programs and are subject to the tuition and fees charged by the programs.

A list of the ABA-approved semester-abroad programs may be found at the following web-page: http://www.abanet.org/legaled/studyabroad/semester.html.

A list of summer-only study abroad programs is available at: http://www.abanet.org/legaled/studyabroad/foreign.html.

Approach Three:  Creating an Independent Study-Abroad Program

The American Bar Association permits law students to earn credit toward their J.D. degree through independent study-abroad programs. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs is pleased to assist students who want to construct an individual study-abroad plan, although the responsibility for creating such a plan rests largely with the individual student.  Law Center students interested in pursuing this option should start by researching the admissions process (as a non-permanent student) at the foreign school, as well as any applicable deadlines and the potential law courses available. The next step is to schedule an appointment to speak with Associate Dean for Student Affairs to discuss your foreign study plan.

Preparing To Study Abroad

Here is a list of items to consider when preparing for a semester abroad. This list is intended only as a “starting point” for a process that is necessarily tailored to each individual student.

Law School Requirements

  • Submit General Petition (for Approaches One and Three) – Request to receive credit for the courses; identify the course(s) you would like to take, and include a copy of the course description(s). 
  • Assess Financial Aid Needs – The Law Center’s Financial Aid office may recommend adjustments to financial aid to cover expenses that extend beyond the host institution's tuition, fees and related costs, including travel and living expenses. 
  • Office of  International Studies & Programs – Visit the Office of  International Studies & Programs website at http://www.uh.edu/academics/intlstu/index.htm for helpful information.

Personal Checklist

  • Obtain U.S. Passport – Necessary for all students studying and traveling abroad.
  • Obtain Visa, if Required – A Visa may be necessary. Information about Visas is available through the consulate of the country of destination.
  • Check on Necessary Inoculations and Immunizations – Countries may require proof of certain inoculations and/or immunizations, or health status before permitting entry. Visit http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/ for more information.
  • Update Health Information – Having a complete list of allergies or special health conditions and getting prescriptions filled before travel can prevent unnecessary medical emergencies abroad.
  • Appoint Power of Attorney – A person with temporary Power of Attorney may be needed to assist with banking transactions, financial aid, loans and financial emergencies.
  • Assess Banking Needs – Check whether banks or credit unions offer special services to accommodate banking needs while the student is out of the country, get information about exchange rates for American dollars and purchase travelers' checks, if advisable.
  • Purchase Airline Tickets –Early planning and purchase of airline tickets and early hotel reservations (if applicable) can reduce costs.
  • Consider Purchase of International Student I.D. Card – May be good for securing discounts on travel, museum or other out-of-pocket costs.
  • Make List of Emergency Contacts –To keep on you at all times, and to provide to people in the United States and at your host institution.
  • Locate List of English Speaking Doctors Abroad –Information is available from the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers directory at www.iamat.org.
  • Make Photocopies of Important Documents – Extra copies of the passport, visa, other forms of identification, and important phone numbers and e-mail addresses can be very helpful in emergencies.
  • Learn About the Electrical Voltage System for the Host Country – This determines whether adapters are needed for small electrical appliances.
  • Purchase Appropriate Gifts – Following the international custom of providing hosts with a small gift can help ensure a warm welcome as you begin your new studies.
  • Leaving your current living arrangements – consider whether you want to sublet your apartment and/or store or sell belongings, such as a car or furniture.
  • Finding foreign living arrangements – This is often the most important item to arrange with care.  Among the many web sites and resources available to start the process of discovering arrangements, one is:  http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/study/index.shtml.