Top International Law Programs: List of Top Schools

See which top-ranked law schools offer instruction in international law. Find out more about degree programs and options for three schools. Get details about what makes these schools stand out.

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  • 0:05 International Law
  • 0:20 School Overviews
  • 0:39 Harvard University in…
  • 1:34 Georgetown University in DC
  • 2:27 Columbia University in…
  • 3:23 Top International Law Programs

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International Law

Many law schools offer international law as a concentration within programs leading to a Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M.), or another law degree. Students can also take advantage of joint degrees in law and international studies.

School Overviews

Georgetown University in Washington, DC; Harvard University in Cambridge, MA; and Columbia University in New York, NY were recognized for their international law programs by U.S. News & World Report for 2017 and they all offer extensive study abroad opportunities.

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

Harvard University is home to the largest academic law library in the world. In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Harvard as the second-best U.S. university. The magazine also listed Harvard Law School as #3 in its ranking of the best international law programs in 2017. After their first year in the J.D. program, students structure their coursework to suit their desired areas of concentration. The international and comparative law program includes courses in public international law, international human rights, and comparative constitutional law. Harvard and Cambridge University in Great Britain offer a joint J.D. and LL.M program that may be completed at both campuses within three and half years. Students can also participate in one of the law school's semester abroad programs in Switzerland, Australia, China, Japan, Brazil, Chile, or South Africa.

Georgetown University in DC

At Georgetown University, Georgetown Law School was the first Jesuit law school in the country. In 2017, Georgetown was fourth in U.S. News & World Report's ranking of the best U.S. schools for international law. The school was also ranked among the best Northeastern schools in The Princeton Review's 2017 edition of 'The Best 381 Colleges.' Students in Georgetown's J.D. program can focus on areas involving international and comparative legal studies, as well as international and national security law. Applicants to the law school may also apply to the Global Law Scholars program, which is composed of eight international studies courses in addition to the regular J.D. curriculum. The Georgetown Law Center and the School of Foreign Service offer a four-year joint degree program leading to a J.D. and a Master of Science in Foreign Service.

Columbia University in New York, NY

In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Columbia University #2 in the nation among schools offering international law programs. Columbia offers a wide range of educational opportunities in international law. At the graduate level, LL.M. and Doctor of Juridical Science students can focus their studies in the field. J.D. students can choose from three different study abroad options. The most basic option is the single semester abroad in Europe, Latin America, or Asia, which is available to second- and third-year students. Another option is an international dual degree in which third year students spend the entire year earning an additional law degree in the UK, France, or Germany. Columbia also offers a global alliance in conjunction with law schools in Amsterdam, Paris, and Oxford, in which students spend a semester abroad focusing on international law, law and finance, or global business law and governance.

Top International Law Programs

Outstanding international law programs can also be found at these universities:

School Name Distinction Location
George Washington University About 150 of George Washington University Law School's living alumni are currently judges Washington, DC
New York University Students can get practical experience working with international organizations through year-long and semester-long clinics New York, NY
Temple University The university offers a Global Scholars Program for its international law students; the program offers opportunities for immersive study around the world Philadelphia, PA
University of California - Berkeley Ranked #10 on U.S. News & World Report's list of 2017 best international law schools Berkeley, CA
University of California - Los Angeles Law school offers programs in both international law and international human rights Los Angeles, CA
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Boasts that it is the first law school to require students to study transnational law Ann Arbor, MI
University of Texas at Austin Ranked # 15 by U.S. News & World Report for 2017; its international law program was ranked #18 Austin, TX
University of Virginia Is home to the Center for National Security Law and the Center for Oceans Law and Policy Charlottesville, VA

Law students who want to focus on international law can choose the subject as a specialization within degree programs and they can take advantage of study abroad opportunities. Programs found at top schools around the U.S. include J.D. and LL.M. options.

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