Academic Offerings: International and Comparative Law

Sample Courses of Study

International Trade:

Student A hopes to work in international trade. Beyond the Law School’s offerings in trade, she might, inter alia, consider selecting from among classes on public international law, international finance, international intellectual property, law and development, globalization, administrative law (considering the importance of ad law to the securing of trade remedies in the US), the European Union (both because of its prominence in the WTO and for the example it provides of a cross border economic entity), Chinese law, Japanese law, and the internationally focused legal research class. Student A may also want to consider courses offered at HKS, HBS, and Fletcher, the semester abroad program in Geneva, a summer or winter term placement with a pertinent international organization, governmental agency or NGO.

Human Rights: 

Student B intends to work in human rights. In addition to specialized courses in human rights (including our rich array of clinical offerings), one could imagine such a student selecting from a broad range of other courses, depending upon his/her specific interests. At the Law School, these might include public international law (to understand the background within which international human rights agreements are situated), trade (given proposals that trade sanctions be used to promote greater compliance with international human rights), the law of foreign relations, immigration law, multi-culturalism, comparative constitutional law, or international criminal justice, not for profit organizations, an area specific course, such as Chinese, European or Islamic law (to understand how rights are viewed and enforced in different national settings) and the internationally focused legal research class. He might also consider taking a course at the Kennedy School, FAS Department of Government, or the Fletcher School. Student B might also want to involve himself with the Law School’s active Human Rights Program, spend a summer with a fellowship (preferably after having done some pertinent coursework) or a semester abroad (studying human rights) and work with a pertinent student organization or journal.

International Corporate Practice: 

Student C envisions a career in international corporate practice, situated principally in the US. In addition to taking classes in corporate law, taxation, and international finance, she might well consider taking classes regarding the EU, Japan, China or comparative law more generally (to better understand different models of corporate governance and potential cross border issues), international tax, conflicts, international litigation/arbitration (if for no other reason than to understand problems to be avoided), law and development (given the increasing presence of developing nations in major capital markets), and the internationally focused legal research class. Such a student might also consider taking course offerings at HBS, a summer work experience outside the US, and the HLS-Cambridge University joint degree program (which would expose her to European thinking about corporate law and be an avenue for earning a graduate degree in law from a non-US institution of distinction).

International Development: 

Student D aspires to a career in international development, and is debating whether she wants to be based in the US or abroad.  Development is a capacious term and one could imagine a variety of different emphases, some more thematically focused (be it on institutional design, core rights, or economic growth) and others more geographically focused or some blend thereof.  Student D might consider using her spring 1L semester to get an early start, satisfying our international legal studies requirement with a course that  addresses development  issues (such as Law and the International Economy or Why Law? Lessons from China?) and perhaps even choosing her elective from among pertinent upper year courses. There is an array of upper year courses from which to choose, depending on Student D’s particular interests, but she may be well advised to choose a broad cross section of classes from among, but not limited to, the following:  Law and Development; Global Governance; Law and Economics; Community Action for Social and Economic Rights; Crisis, Globalization and Economics, International Finance; International Trade; The Legal Architecture of Globalization: The History and Institutional Development of Money and Finance;  The International Law Workshop; Gender in Post Colonial Legal Orders; and Poverty, Rights and Development. During her 2L and 3L year, Student D might want to take advantage of HLS’ flexible cross-registration policy by choosing courses at HKS,  FAS, Harvard Business School, or the Fletcher School. Cross-registration would offer her an opportunity to expand her professional network and deepen her understanding of the non-legal aspects of development in her chosen area of geographic or topical (e.g. finance, public health, or global governance) specialization. In addition, Student D might think of applying for HLS travel funding to do clinical work, internships and research projects abroad during winter terms and/or the summers.  Student D might familiarize herself with pertinent research programs, join the Law & International Development Society, where she could join (or even lead) teams of students consulting with leading NGOs on international development topics during the academic year and she might well want to take advantage of the fact that our students come from more than 75 nations and our graduates (including many who work in development) span the globe.


Harvard Law School

Recommended Courses

Course Evaluations

Harvard Kennedy School

Possibly of Interest

Course Catalog

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Possibly of Interest

Course Catalog

Course Evaluations

Fletcher School at Tufts

Possibly of Interest

Course Catalog


Possibly of Interest

Course Catalog

Joint Degree Programs and Semesters Abroad

JD/ LLM Program with Cambridge University, UK

Semester abroad program for JD Candidates

Winter Term Program

JD/MBA with Harvard Business School

JD/MPP or MPA-ID with Harvard Kennedy School

JD/MPH with Harvard School of Public Health

JD/MUP with the Graduate School of Design

JD/PhD with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences


International Law Workshop (Professors Alford and Blum, for credit)

Byse Workshop (SJD students, not for credit)

Harvard University Course Catalog 

Cross-Registration Information

Last modified: February 27, 2015

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