The Center for International Law invites students with a strong interest in international law to apply for membership in its Harlan Scholars and International Associates programs. Developments across the world in various fields such as criminal, environmental, human rights, immigration, securities, and tax laws have direct and indirect implications on legal practice even in the United States. To understand these cross-border developments, the Law School offers a wide variety of courses addressing the business and public dimensions of international law. Membership in the Harlan Scholars and International Associates programs will help students structure their curricula and related activities in one of the most dynamic and evolving areas of law.

Students who affiliate with the Center for International Law either as Harlan Scholars or International Associates must fulfill the following three requirements. (Students who have a broad interest in international law but don’t want to join the Center can use the requirements below to help structure their course schedules.)

The deadline for completing all of your requirements is the last day of your last semester of law school.

The Center for International Law does NOT determine which international law courses the Law School will offer during a particular academic year. Rather, the Faculty and the Office of Academic Affairs schedule courses for the Law School. Whether a particular international law course will even be offered during a certain semester depends on various factors, including instructor availability and sufficient course enrollment. If you are interested in taking a certain course, please contact the faculty member who is teaching that course.


Requirement 1: One “core” course in international law

All students who affiliate with the Center must take (and pass) at least one of the following core courses in international or comparative law:

Comparative Law seeks to uncover both similarities and significant differences in the underlying assumptions with which different legal traditions operate in regard to legal institutions and processes, individual justice, efficiency, and modes of interpretation.

International Business Transactions is a broad-based course in international business transactions, covering the topics specified in its title, the resolution of international commercial disputes, and other aspects of international business law.

International Law: An Introduction and The Law of International Organizations courses introduce students to the complex subject of treaty formation and implementation, and to global and regional regimes for law-making in such diverse areas as trade, human rights, and criminal law.

Requirement 2: One advanced course or seminar in international law

All students who affiliate with the Center must also take (and pass) one advanced course or seminar in international or comparative law. An advanced course or seminar is any other of the Law School’s international or comparative law offerings which do not include the core courses listed above. Below is a list of many of these courses. (The course must be 2 credits or more.) Because not all courses are offered every year, and also because the Law School offers new courses periodically, a student should check the most current list of courses. If you are not sure whether a certain course fulfills Requirement 2, please contact Michael Rhee.

Requirement 3: One “capstone” requirement

All students who affiliate with the Center must complete one “capstone” experience. Ideally, this experience should provide students with an opportunity to engage meaningfully and rigorously with the intellectual debates central to an area of international or comparative law; additional writing experience and an opportunity to work closely with faculty or other mentors and receive feedback on their writing; and the chance to develop the professional skills critical to their long-term professional development.

How a student completes the capstone requirement depends on whether s/he is a Harlan Scholar or an International Associate. To see how to complete the capstone, READ THE OPTIONS BELOW.


Because of the academic focus of the Harlan Scholars Program, Harlan Scholars (i.e., Law Review students) associated with the Center must fulfill the capstone requirement by researching and writing a “substantial piece of scholarship,” which is a paper that is the equivalent of a law review article or note or a chapter in a book. For written work to constitute “scholarship,” the analysis of the topic must be of sufficient intellectual rigor. It must, for example, survey and contribute to the existing academic literature on the topic, contend with and balance opposing ideas, develop and test conclusions, and, where appropriate, propose innovations in law or legal theory.

The capstone requirement for Harlan Scholars may be met through any one of the options below. (If you use a course to fulfill the capstone, it must be 2 credits or more.)

In all of these options to fulfill the capstone for the Harlan Scholars program, a writing component must meet the standard of a “substantial piece of scholarship” described above.

A Harlan Scholar may also fulfill the capstone requirement through Requirement 2, but only if Requirement 2 involves the successful completion of a writing component that meets the standard of a “substantial piece of scholarship” described above.


Members of the Center who are not Harlan Scholars may join as International Associates and fulfill the capstone requirement by engaging in at least one professional experience in the field of international or comparative law. A professional experience is one that exposes the student to the kinds of activities in which lawyers engage in the fields of international and comparative law. This requirement could be met by any one of the following activities below. (If you use a course to fulfill the capstone, it must be 2 credits or more.)

  • taking a project-based learning course with an international or comparative law component;
  • taking an advanced international or comparative law course or seminar that has a writing requirement (i.e., a research paper), and then actually completing that research paper (Final exams do not count as research papers);
  • enrolling in independent study to write a research paper on an international or comparative law topic (for the independent study form itself, click here);
  • taking an advanced international or comparative law course or seminar that requires students to participate in professional activities beyond class discussion;
  • taking the International Human Rights Law Seminar / Workshop;
  • completing a “capstone” or “tech law” project with an international or comparative law component through the Impact Center for Public Interest Law or the Innovation Center for Law and Technology;
  • participating in and completing the Willem C. Vis or Philip C. Jessup or ICC International Commercial Mediation moot court competitions;
  • completing an externship, summer or term-time internship, job, or volunteer work with an international or comparative law component; or
  • working on international or comparative law issues as a research assistant for a professor.

An International Associate may also fulfill the capstone requirement through Requirement 2. For example, if (under Requirement 2) you successfully complete an advanced course or seminar which requires a research paper, then you will also have completed Requirement 3. (One of the ways to complete Requirement 3 is by “taking an advanced international or comparative law course or seminar that has a writing requirement.”)


Every year, the Center for International Law selects a new class of Harlan Scholars and International Associates through a competitive application process which is coordinated entirely by the Office of Academic Affairs. The Harlan Scholars program is limited to students who have performed at the top of their law school class. On the other hand, the International Associates program welcomes all students to apply.

By mid-March of every year, you will find a “Common Application” for ALL of the Law School’s Harlans Scholars and Associates programs on the Portal. (Every center has its own Harlans Scholars and Associate programs, each with its own requirements.) Please follow the directions on the Portal. DO NOT submit an application directly to the Center for International Law. Also make sure to meet the deadline.

The application requires the following items only:

  • A statement (not exceeding one paragraph) describing your interest in international law or comparative law and why you would like to become a Harlan Scholar or International Associate.
  • A one-page résumé.

The Center for International Law will then notify applicants of its decisions by late March or early April.

For more information about the Center for International Law, speak to the Associate Director, Michael Rhee, in E-903 or send a message to