Bucerius Law School (BLS): Hamburg, Germany

a. General Information

Founded in 2000 by the ZEIT‐Stiftung, one of Germany’s largest, private, non‐profit foundations, Bucerius Law School was Germany’s first privately‐operated law school. Its founders had the goal of offering prospective law students an alternative to the standard legal education provided at German state universities: their main objective was to create an academically accomplished, practice-oriented and bilingual legal education with a focus on international business law.

Already hailed as one of the top law faculties in Germany, one of Bucerius’ strengths is its internationalism. All undergraduate students pursuing the LL.B. degree are required to spend a semester at one of Bucerius’ 90+ partner institutions worldwide. Students gain further insight into the legal practice through mandatory internships. Bucerius’ faculty includes several practicing legal professionals, so students learn from both scholars and practitioners. The Bucerius curriculum boasts of foreign legal language courses in French and Spanish; lectures in business administration; courses in national and international business law; and a diverse, obligatory general studies program.

Bucerius Law School is located in a beautiful historic building that is complemented by a modern auditorium building. The Hengeler Mueller Library is open to students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Almost all Bucerius Law School facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

b. The Exchange Program

The program is specially designed for law students from Bucerius’ impressive network of more than 101 partner universities in over 37 countries and is geared towards students wishing to deepen their understanding of the forces shaping international business law. Students gain insight into the day‐to‐day practice of international commercial law from experienced professionals working in the field and explore the more theoretical side of international business law with guest professors from around the world. The program offers a unique opportunity for participants to expand their knowledge of German, European and international law. Courses are taught solely in English. In countries (such as the United States) where law is studied at a graduate level, applicants must have completed at least one year of legal studies at the time the program begins. In countries (such as Germany) where law is studied at an undergraduate level, applicants must have completed at least two years of their legal education before beginning the program.

The program usually takes place from September to December and is divided into two sessions; each session lasts six weeks and is followed by a one‐week exam period. Participants study alongside some 100 other students from around the world, who are also spending the fall semester at Bucerius. The program’s diverse student body and faculty provide the ideal setting for the exchange of legal and cultural perspectives from different countries.

Academic studies at Bucerius are balanced by a selection of interesting extracurricular activities that better acquaint students with their new surroundings. The activities offered include guided tours in and around Hamburg, visits to museums, lectures about the German political system, day excursions to Lübeck and Lüneburg, and several social events with Bucerius students.

As of 2013, Bucerius offers the unique opportunity to earn a “Certificate in Management and Leadership for Lawyers”, which students can enroll in as an optional module during their semester at Bucerius. Certificate courses are offered in cooperation with the Bucerius Center on the Legal Profession, which was founded in 2010 to observe current developments in the legal services market and to provide lawyers with technical knowledge that extends beyond a mere understanding of law. Course topics cover areas such as negotiation, business skills for lawyers, mediation and lawyering in a globalized world.

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c. Academic Calendar

Important Dates

  • Semester Dates:
    • September 4–December 22, 2023
  • Exam Sessions
    • Session I: October 23-27, 2023
    • Session II: December 18-22, 2023
  • Study Break
    • October 30–November 3, 2023

d. Language Instruction

English Students whose knowledge of German allows may also take a limited number of regular law courses for German students if space is available.

For further information, please contact Ms. Kasia Kwietniewska, Director of the International Office: kasia.kwietniewska@law-school.de.

e. English-language Courses

Bucerius offers an array of English-language courses intended for exchange students. A list of courses offered during the 2022-2023 academic year is available here.

f. Academic Requirement for Admissions Exchange Program

Prior to the start of the program, students are required to have completed at least two years of legal studies when law is studied at an undergraduate level and at least one year of legal studies when law is studied at a graduate level.

g. Standard Course Loads

The International Exchange Program is split into two six‐week sessions with an exam week following each session. Some courses only last for one session, whereas others are spread out over both sessions. Most courses are worth 2 ABA credits.

Students may select as many courses as they want, but are required to take a minimum of 4 ABA credits per session (thus 8 ABA credits during the International Exchange Program).

The Introduction to German Law course is the only mandatory course. Although credits can be earned with the Intro to German Law course, these credits do not count towards the minimum requirement of 8 ABA credits during the program.

Bucerius advises students to take an extra course in case they do not pass all of their exams.

h. Course Enrollment and Registration

After being accepted to the program, students will receive their log‐in and password to complete their course pre-registration online through Bucerius’ intranet. Once the program officially begins, you can add and drop courses according to certain deadlines, which are thoroughly explained during the mandatory Orientation Program.

i. Grading System

With rare exceptions, courses are graded based on students’ performance in the final exams. Exams are not graded on a curve.

Exams are first graded by Bucerius faculty in accordance with the Bucerius grading system – i.e. on a scale of A‐F, similar to that in the U.S. The lowest passing grade is a C.

j. Application Procedure

STEP 1: The home university needs to fill out an online nomination form confirming that a student has been selected to apply for the International Exchange Program at Bucerius. In this step, the home university should also submit their student’s transcript, including a description of the grading system. Partners will be able to access the nomination portal at the beginning of January.

STEP 2: After a nomination has been submitted, students automatically receive login credentials to Bucerius Law School’s online application system. There they will find the official application form to the International Exchange Program which they need to fill out and submit.

In addition to general information, students will be required to submit the following:

  1. A brief statement of purpose (approximately 1 – 2 pages explaining student’s areas of special interest, why s/he wishes to study at Bucerius, previous international experience, etc.)
  2. Proof of English proficiency (see above for details)
  3. One passport-sized photo to be used for a student directory and student id card.

k. Application Deadline

Nomination Deadline: April 1, 2023
Application Deadline: April 15, 2023

l. Housing Information

Bucerius Law School does not have on-campus housing, but it tries to secure rooms in two dormitories in Hamburg. Accepted students receive information on applying for dormitory housing in May.

Bucerius Law School provides assistance in finding suitable accommodation. Often German Bucerius students who will be studying abroad sublease their apartment or room to international students. Further housing options and relevant information are provided once students are accepted to the program.

m. Visa/Immigration Information

All non-EU citizens must obtain a student visa / residency permit for their stay in Germany.

Depending on their citizenship, some students will need to apply for an entry visa to Germany in their home country prior to their arrival, which they may later need to extend, once they are in Germany for their studies. Others will be able to enter Germany as a tourist and apply for a student residency permit once they are at Bucerius. Accepted students receive detailed immigration information as well as assistance with the process of extending or applying for a residency permit in Germany. Nonetheless, students are responsible for making any necessary inquiries at their local German Embassy or Consulate in a timely manner on their own after being accepted to the program.

n. Fees

Students will pay their normal tuition to Stanford for the quarter during which they study at Bucerius.

o. Estimated Cost of Living

On our website is an estimate of the cost of living in Hamburg for the exchange program. We estimate that students will need to budget approximately EUR 7000 for 4 months in Hamburg.

A detailed list of the individual amounts can be found on our website: http://buceri.us/finances.

p. Health Insurance Requirements

To obtain a German student visa / residency permit, students need to have health insurance covering them in Germany for at least EUR 30,000 for the duration of their stay. They can purchase health insurance plans through Bucerius Law School or turn in proof of their own insurance, provided it meets the minimum requirements set forth by the Hamburg Immigration Office.

q. Program Contacts/Advisors at Bucerius

Bucerius University Contacts/Inquiries:

Ms. Kasia Kwietniewska
Director of the International Office
Email: kasia.kwietniewska@law-school.de

Ms. Saskia Lindner
International Program Manager (Incoming Students: Admission & Student Services)
Email: saskia.lindner@law-school.de

Ms. Anna Liebelt
International Program Manager (Incoming Students: Academic Administration)
Email: anna.liebelt@law-school.de

Ms. Inga Diercks-Ferm
Assistant Director (Outgoing Students USA, Application & Admission Management Summer Programs)
Phone: +49 (0)40 30706 278
Email: inga.diercks-ferm@law-school.de

Ms. Lena Johannes (on maternity leave until summer 2023)
Program Manager
Phone: +49 (0)40 30706 264
Email: lena.johannes@law-school.de