Stanford Global Studies


Practicing law in the 21st century is increasingly multinational, requiring a sophisticated understanding of regional trade and finance, environmental issues, governance, and human rights. Lawyers with a deep knowledge of important regions of the world are better equipped for legal practice, business, and government–benefiting from insights relevant to fundamental issues of justice, equality, and growth within nation states.

To prepare lawyers for the challenges of a global arena, Stanford Global Studies (SGS) offers specialist training in the governance, economics, cultures, and societies of the world. Students participate in an interdisciplinary curriculum exploring any of three areas:

  • East Asia
  • Latin America
  • Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia

With humanities and science departments and affiliated research institutes dedicated to these regions of the world, Stanford offers significant advantages to students seeking expertise in these areas. With Asia and Latin America both accessible to Stanford, students exploring these regions have opportunities to travel frequently while studying.

SGS offer four JD/MA joint degree centers:

The Center For East Asian Studies

The Center For East Asian Studies offers faculty in a dozen departments that teach and carry out research on East Asia. Students may pursue advanced degrees with a concentration on China, Japan, or Korea through a vast range of Stanford courses with East Asia content. The center also sponsors activities that facilitate exchange of knowledge across disciplines and inspire collaborative projects among faculty and students, and it sponsors a wide variety of programs that link the university’s East Asia resources with civic groups, secondary schools, local colleges, and the public.

The Center For Latin American Studies

The Center For Latin American Studies offers academic programs for students with distinguished faculty with multidisciplinary experience and a long history of research expertise in Latin America. The Center also coordinates a range of academic conferences and lectures that span varied geographic regions and diverse academic disciplines, regularly hosting eminent scholars, noted public figures, and internationally prominent policy makers.

The Center For Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES)

The Center For Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES) promotes and supports interdisciplinary study of the nations and peoples of the former Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. CREEES is designated one of 19 US Department of Education-sponsored National Resource Centers for Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. CREEES runs interdisciplinary MA and undergraduate minor programs; sponsors more than one hundred public programs each year (including lecture series, seminars, conferences); hosts distinguished visitors and visiting scholars; organizes teacher education workshops and resources; provides research travel support for Stanford faculty and graduate student researchers; and coordinates teaching and research at Stanford relating to this part of the world.

Stanford also offers a general program in International Policy Studies that operates under the SGS banner. This program differs substantially from the regional programs and is discussed separately, at Law/SGS joint degree recipients are equipped for both U.S.-based and region-based careers across a broad spectrum: legal practice, banking, business, government, and nongovernmental organizations.

Course Requirements

Each SGS program has a language requirement intended to ensure that joint degree graduates have the language skills necessary to work in their region.

  • East Asia: Prior language training in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean is required, with the desired proficiency level determined based on the student’s goals upon entering the program.
  • Latin America: Prior working knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese at the university third-year level, and prior experience working, living, or studying in Latin America or Iberia are required.
  • Russia, Eastern Europe, Eurasia: At least three years of college-level study of Russian or another area language (or the equivalent) are required, as well as significant prior course work in basic disciplines for the area, especially history, politics, and literature.

Joint degree programs also require students to take a series of core courses and some overseas immersion is recommended.

In the case of a one-year SGS program, as many as 45 quarter units of approved courses may be counted toward both degrees. In the case of an SGS program that is longer than one year, as many as 54 quarter units of approved courses may be counted toward both degrees. In either case, no more than 31 quarter units of courses that originate outside the law school may count toward the law degree.

Requirements differ slightly between SGS departments, so interested students should confer with both the law school and the SGS department to determine course requirements for their area of interest.

Note to applicants: The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program awards full funding to Stanford graduate students from all disciplines, with additional opportunities for leadership training and collaboration across fields. Joint Degree applicants are encouraged to apply to the KnightHennessy Scholars Program.  Please be aware that the Knight-Hennessy Scholars applications are due in early Autumn one year prior to enrollment. View dates and deadlines:


Jenny S. Martinez 2

Jenny S. Martinez

  • Provost
  • Professor of Law
  • Frederick Emmons Terman Professorship
  • Senior Fellow, by courtesy, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Alan Sykes

Alan O. Sykes

  • Professor of Law and Warren Christopher Professor in the Practice of International Law and Diplomacy
  • Senior Fellow, SIEPR
Allen S. Weiner

Allen S. Weiner

  • Senior Lecturer in Law
  • Director, Stanford Program in International and Comparative Law
  • Director, Stanford Humanitarian Program
  • Director, Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation