Planning a Study Abroad Program
Selecting a Program
Peruse the ABA lists of study abroad opportunities. Note that ABA-approved study abroad programs are generally conducted by U.S. law faculty working in cooperation with foreign law schools. Consider topic as well as location. Tuition costs are typically comparable to the cost of one semester at the Pitt law school.
Applying to programs involves keeping a careful calendar
Mark in your daily calendar the due dates for all forms and records that you have to submit and also note a reminder on your calendar at least a week before the item is due. Here is the link to the registrar's transcript order site. If you are applying for an LL.M. or non-ABA approved law courses abroad, confirm that you do not have to have already completed a JD to be eligible for courses there.
Arranging for credit at Pitt
Schedule a meeting with Associate Dean Burkoff to obtain a letter of good standing and/or a permission to take summer courses form. This letter is usually required with the application for a study abroad program.
If you are planning to develop your own program of study abroad, i.e., not participating in a program already approved by the ABA, you should schedule a meeting with CILE's Executive Director, Richard Thorpe, at least 3 months prior to the beginning of the intended term to obtain necessary forms and discuss the process for obtaining Pitt credit and ABA approval for individual study abroad. You will subsequently need to meet with Professor Brand about your plans.
After acceptance to a program, schedule a meeting with the University's Study Abroad office (Leslie Smedley 412-648-7413) to obtain a Study Abroad Contract (for ABA approved programs adminstered by a U.S. Institution) or to obtain a Waiver & Release Agreement (for independent enrollment directly to a foreign institution). Prior to going to that meeting you will have to complete a detailed form to identify yourself, your emergency contact information, and your study abroad program. When you go to your meeting with the Study Abroad Office, please bring complete contact information for the chosen program and administering school AND a photocopy of your acceptance letter and/or nomination letter that the Study Abroad Office can keep on file.
- Bring the contract from the Study Abroad Office to the Law School for the following signatures and submit a copy to CILE. If you sign the Waiver and Release Agreement, please submit a copy to CILE.
Associate Dean Nancy Burkoff, 216 Law School, 412-648-1401
Beth Liberatore, Registrar, 208 Law School, 412-648-1409
Meme Jeffries, Financial Aid, 204 Law School, 412-648-1415
- If you are planning to use any financial aid for your study abroad program, you must contact Meme Jeffries, the law school's financial Aid officer . A minimum course load of five (5) credits is required to obtain a student loan for summer study. Be sure to know precisely how your financial aid is going to be processed, payment made, and refund sent well before you leave the country. Also, be aware that you will be charged by the University of Pittsburgh for the Computer/Network Service Fee for each term you are planning to study abroad.
- When you return from your trip and before graduation, obtain an official transcript with your course grades from the sponsoring university, which is then submitted to Beth Liberatore, School of Law Registrar to verify the study abroad credits (contract) or complete the transfer of credits (waiver & release form).
Please familiarize yourself with the University's guidelines about funding for and travel to foreign destinations.
According to these guidelines, students traveling to "heightened risk" destinations must read the State Department's warning about their destination and then "must sign a release, acknowledging the existence of the travel warning and his/her decision to continue with the planned activity despite that warning, and releasing the University from liability for injuries or losses suffered by the student while participating in the activity." source
When the State Department travel warning "forbids, restricts, or otherwise urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to a certain country," students cannot travel there under University of Pittsburgh auspices and they cannot receive University of Pittsburgh funding for their trips. source