Visiting Exchange Students Program Info

Table of Contents

General Information

At Stanford Law School, excellence is a given. Our community — engaged faculty and students, influential alumni, dedicated staff — is united in its belief that the education offered at Stanford Law School is a powerful tool for change. Our curriculum, programs, and academic centers cultivate professional skills and values, inspire new ideas, and engage leaders in developing solutions. And our resources — from cutting-edge facilities to the diverse advantages of Stanford University — make the Stanford Law campus an ideal environment for exploring and mastering the law.

Excellence, innovation, and a commitment to the future — these are Stanford Law School’s legacy to each new generation of law students and lawyers. We invite prospective students, partners, and supporters to inspire, innovate, and lead with us.

The Exchange Program

Each year, Stanford Law School welcomes a select number of highly qualified law students from its partner institutions abroad to enroll at Stanford Law School for up to two quarters as non-matriculated students. Currently, our partner institutions are the Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany; Esade Law School in Barcelona, Spain; the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel; Institut d’etudes Politiques de Paris in Paris, France; the National University of Singapore; Peking University Law School in Beijing, China; the University of Vienna Law School in Vienna, Austria; and Waseda University Law School in Tokyo, Japan. The program is designed to broaden visiting students’ understanding of the American legal system and legal culture. Students in this program are ordinarily eligible to enroll in upper division (second and third-year) Law School courses under the same conditions as Stanford Law School students.

Instruction in Stanford Law School courses is in English, and students must demonstrate the required level of proficiency in English to participate in the program. Students who wish to participate in this program at Stanford must first apply at their home law school. They must separately apply for admission to the Stanford Law School exchange program, once approved by their home school.

Application Deadline

For academic year 2024-2025 applications from prospective visiting exchange students who wish to study at Stanford Law School is due April 19, 2024.  See the “Application Procedure” section below on how to apply.

Language of Instruction

All instruction is in English. Non-native speakers of English seeking to attend SLS must have earned a minimum TOEFL score of 100 (Internet-based test), or may otherwise demonstrate equivalent proficiency in English with a TOEFL waiver request.  Applicants seeking a waiver should furnish a formal letter requesting such an exemption, as well as evidence of their linguistic competence. The TOEFL waiver request must be submitted with your application.

Eligible Courses

Students from foreign law schools attending Stanford Law School as part of its student exchange program are subject to the following limitations on course selection:

  • Exchange students may not ordinarily take more than 14 quarter units in a single quarter while enrolled at Stanford Law School. Although exchange students may in exceptional cases seek by petition to take a heavier load, Stanford Law School will be reluctant to permit students to take more than 15 quarter units in a single quarter, and in no circumstances may a student take more than 17 quarter units. All units taken at Stanford Law School or Stanford University count toward this total.
  • Exchange students may not take any courses that are required as part of the first term of the first year of the JD curriculum and must petition for permission to take any courses that are required as part of any ensuing term of the first year of the JD curriculum.
  • Exchange students may not ordinarily take courses at Stanford University outside the Law School, although students may in exceptional cases be permitted to do so. Exchange students may in no circumstances take more than 6 quarter units worth of courses elsewhere in the University and may not take any foreign or English language courses. Apart from the Law School’s policies and procedures, exchange students should be aware that there may be separate requirements for admission to any class set by the school or department offering it. In addition, the student remains responsible for checking with his or her home institution to ensure that it is prepared to grant credit towards the home school’s degree for any classes outside the Law School.

Academic Requirements for Admission to the Exchange Program

Exchange students applying from a program where law is taught as a graduate or advanced degree must have completed one full year at their home school and must be in good standing. For students attending a school where law is taught as a first/undergraduate degree, students must be in at least their third year of studies. Non-native speakers of English seeking to attend Stanford must have earned a TOEFL score of 260 (computer-based test), 620 (paper-based test), or 100 (Internet-based test), or may otherwise demonstrate equivalent proficiency in English with a TOEFL waiver request. Applicants seeking a waiver should furnish a formal letter requesting such an exemption, as well as evidence of their linguistic competence. The TOEFL waiver request must be submitted with your application. Students must present an exceptional academic record at their home school.

Standard Course Loads

The minimum course load for Stanford Law School students to meet residency requirements is currently 9 quarter units. The standard course load for Stanford Law Students is 11-12 quarter units.

Course Enrollment and Registration

Stanford Law School uses AXESS, the University’s online registration system, for preregistering and for adding and dropping classes. Instructors can open their courses to all interested students (open enrollment) or limit the enrollment of their courses in one of two ways: (1) by lottery or (2) by consent of the instructor. Course descriptions will be posted under the “Course Descriptions and Schedules” tab on the Law School’s Office of the Registrar website. In July, pre-registration instructions for autumn courses will be sent to incoming exchange students. Pre-registration deadlines for winter and spring quarter courses will be announced autumn quarter.

All students have approximately two weeks after the start of each quarter to add and drop courses and to finalize their schedule. Specific deadlines will be announced in advance by the Office of the Registrar.

The Law School’s grading system has four grades:

H Honors (representing excellent work)
P Pass (representing good or satisfactory work)
R Restricted credit (representing work that is plainly unsatisfactory)
F Fail (representing work that does not show adequate mastery of the material)

Some classes, primarily skills classes such as Negotiation, have a slightly different grading scheme to reflect the mandatory nature of the passing grade, i.e., that Honors is not a possible grade. In those courses, the grades will be as follows:

MP Mandatory Pass (representing good or satisfactory work)
R Restricted credit (representing work that is plainly unsatisfactory)
F Fail (representing work that does not show adequate mastery of the material)

The Application Procedure

The application is available here.

Along with their completed applications, students applying to attend Stanford through the Visiting Exchange Students Program must submit the following materials:

  1. Confirmation from their home law school that they have been nominated for the student exchange program;
  2. A resume or curriculum vitae;
  3. A personal statement of no more than two pages describing the student’s reasons for wishing to study at Stanford and any of the student’s important qualities he or she would like us to know about;
  4. A TOEFL score report; and
  5. An official transcript from their home law school (include a certified English translation if applicable).

EXCEPT FOR THE OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT, PDF versions should be submitted by the student with their online application form. IMPORTANT: Students must arrange to have official transcripts from their home law school sent directly by mail to the Office of Admissions at the following address:

Visiting Exchange Students Program
Office of Admissions
Stanford Law School
Crown Quadrangle
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610

The application deadline for incoming exchange students who wish to attend Stanford Law School during the 2024-2025 academic year is April 19, 2024. Students will be notified of their enrollment status in May 2024.

Housing Information

Exchange students are considered “non–matriculated graduate students”, and non–matriculated students find housing through other means and live off–campus. The following links provide information about applying for housing on campus as well as links to off campus housing options. Please carefully review your housing options as well as cost concerns

Visa/Immigration Information

Stanford Law School will forward visa information to accepted students and coordinate their visa application process with the Bechtel International Center. During the visa process, Stanford will confirm with students the earliest date that they will be allowed to enter the U.S. for their program. Students should not make travel or housing arrangements before confirming the arrival date with Stanford.

Details about immigration procedures and requirements for international students is available from the Bechtel International Center (I-Center) and may be found here.

Bechtel International Center
584 Capistrano Way
Stanford, California 94305
Open Weekdays 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.


Students visiting from law schools with which Stanford has a student exchange agreement will pay the tuition and fees they ordinarily pay to their home school for the period they are enrolled at Stanford. Visiting students will not be charged tuition and fees by Stanford. They will, however, be responsible for the costs of accommodation, travel, books, equipment, personal expenses (including the cost of any required health insurance), and all other expenses associated with exchange program.

Estimated Cost of Living per Quarter

Below are estimates of expenses that are incurred during an exchange student’s quarter at Stanford Law School for the 2023-2024 year.


Off-Campus Housing: $6,595
Food: $2,360
Personal Expenses: $2,810
Books & Supplies: $510
Student Services Fee: $450
Local Transportation: $1,293
Total: $14,018

Health Insurance


Stanford requires all registered students to have medical insurance that meets certain minimum coverage requirements. Because exchange students are ineligible for coverage through Stanford, you must obtain health insurance through your home institution or through a private plan.

Department of State regulations require all J-1 visa holders and their J-2 dependents to be covered by medical insurance at all times. The Bechtel International Center is obligated, by federal law, to cancel the J-1 visa of any student who willfully neglects to obtain medical insurance for themselves or family members.

Individual Health Insurance Plans

Information and applications for individual health insurance plans are available at This company offers many medically underwritten, leading health insurance plans in California. Visiting exchange students can consult this site for information about cost and coverage for health insurance. Students may have a health insurance plan in their home country which will cover them in the United States, but should confirm this and obtain a statement from their insurer confirming this coverage. Upon arrival, students will be asked to show proof of insurance coverage for the duration of their studies in the United States.

Vaden Health Services

Vaden Health Services is located at 866 Campus Drive. Visiting students attending Stanford Law School are eligible to access certain health care benefits at Vaden on a fee-for-service basis.

Program Contacts/Advisors Stanford and SLS

Allen Weiner
Senior Lecturer in Law
650 724.5892

John Dalton
Associate Dean of Student Affairs

Office of Admissions
Vanessa Cordova
650 723.4985

School of Law, Student Affairs

The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) at Stanford Law School acts as a resource to help law students achieve their academic and extracurricular goals.

Graduate Life Office

The Graduate Life Office (GLO) at Stanford University works closely with students (both on and off campus) and with student groups, including Community Associates (student residence staff), the Graduate Student Programming Board, and the Graduate Student Council, to create an inclusive environment through a variety of welcoming and ongoing programs within the residences and campus-wide. The GLO staff also works with individual students who need information and support or who may be experiencing personal difficulties.
Phone: 650 736.7078

SLS Library

The Robert Crown Law Library houses a print and online collection of over 500,000 volumes, searchable through the Stanford University library catalog. Students will also enjoy access to dozens of legal databases, including LexisNexis, Westlaw, HeinOnline, and Bureau of National Affairs. Students working on interdisciplinary and empirical research may also take advantage of the incredible array of databases available through Stanford University Libraries at

The law library is situated on four floors, with wireless internet access throughout. The first floor includes a beautiful, sunny reading room, with large tables, carrels, and easy chairs along with computers and seven study rooms equipped with teleconferencing equipment and LCD screens. The second floor offers students 24-hour access, a large reading room, an electronic information center, and a teaming area for collaborative projects. The third floor provides study carrels and houses the U.S. legal collection. Periodicals, mircoforms, and foreign and international materials are located in the basement. Students may access printers, scanners, and photocopiers on the first and second floors.

Professional librarians will work closely with students to answer a variety of research questions as well as help to identify and retrieve the legal and interdisciplinary materials. Items not available at Stanford may be requested via the inter-library loan service. The library loan desk maintains copies of course reserve items, and also loans laptops, digital cameras, noise-cancelling headsets, table lamps, power supplies, and bicycles.

Other Information

Stanford Law School typically offers a course called Introduction to American Law for international graduate students in the Fall quarter, prior to the start of the regular school year. It ordinarily starts in early September. In the years this course is offered, it is open to incoming exchange students attending Stanford Law School, but it is not required. Because exchange students may not take courses taught during the first term of the first year of the JD curriculum, as noted in “Eligible Courses”, the Introduction to American Law course provides an excellent opportunity for exchange students to gain exposure to foundational American law subjects. Incoming exchange students who will be attending Stanford Law School should let us know whether they plan to participate in the Introduction to American Law course.

If you plan to participate in the Introduction to American Law course, we encourage you to plan to arrive at Stanford in late August, though the earliest allowed arrival date will be specified in your visa materials. You will be able to take advantage of Law School orientation activities for international students, which are scheduled to start in late August. These will include a visa orientation meeting at the Bechtel International Center, a library tour, as well as instruction on laptop configuration and an information technology orientation.

For students who choose not to avail themselves of the opportunity to participate in the Introduction to American Law course, the regular class schedule for exchange students will begin in late September. Stanford’s Bechtel International Center offers a week-long orientation schedule for new international graduate students in September. When the orientation schedule has been finalized, information about the orientation programs will be posted on the Bechtel International Center’s website.