Semester Abroad in China

Fudan University Law School, Shanghai


Founded in 1929, Fudan University Law School has emerged as one of the most elite law faculties in China. Fudan Law’s research and curriculum cover a broad range of legal topics, including constitutional law, administrative law, civil and criminal law, environmental law, international law, and economic law. The school has a particularly strong reputation for research in international politics, political science and demography and also serves as a think tank for the Chinese government. Fudan Law’s distinguished faculty includes professors who have served as justices and vice-deans of the Supreme Court of Shanghai and the Supreme Court of Jiangsu Province, as well as a current member of the World Trade Organization’s panel. Visiting students may choose to join academic societies devoted to international politics, world economics, or international finance, or one of Fudan’s many artistic or athletic organizations. Fudan also houses a number of research institutes focusing on a broad range of topics, such as intellectual property, justice and the legal system, financial law, environmental and energy law, comparative law, and civil and commercial law.

Location

Just off of China’s Pacific east coast, Fudan University is located in the dynamic metropolis of Shanghai. As the thriving economic hub of China, Shanghai attracts many law firms and is an ideal place for students to become fully immersed in the Chinese legal and business worlds. Fudan is within a short walking distance of two other major universities (Tong Jing University and Shanghai Finance and Economics University), and the area is known for its vibrant student life and stimulating intellectual atmosphere. The Fudan campus is easily accessible by public transportation.

Course Offerings and Credits

Fudan Law offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The course listings are not available online, but the HLS International Legal Studies staff can provide an electronic or paper copy.

Generally, classes meet once per week. One Fudan credit is 45 minutes of class time, and most courses offered are two or three credits. Many classes are lecture-based, but professors may also incorporate case discussion where appropriate. Students are graded according to a percentage system, with 90-100 signifying an A, 85-89 an A-, 82-84 a B+, 78-81 a B, 75-77 a B-, 71-74 a C+, 66-70 a C, 62-65 a C-, 60-61 a D, a D- for passing a make-up exam, and finally, an F for a 59 or below. Some practical courses and academic activities may also be graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

Course loads will vary from student to student, though exchange students at Fudan typically take around four courses. HLS students may receive a total of 10 to 12 ungraded classroom credits in relation to work done through the semester abroad program. Please see the HLS semester abroad webpage for more information about course requirements and how semester abroad credits are calculated.

Language Proficiency

Nearly all courses offered at Fudan Law are in Chinese, although some courses are taught in English or bilingually. Although many Fudan professors and students speak English, HLS students interested in spending a semester at Fudan are expected to have a level of Chinese fluency that will enable them to perform well in class and on exams. Prior to study abroad, HLS students may improve their language proficiency and receive credit for foreign language courses at Harvard College in accordance with the HLS cross registration policy. Students may also find it helpful to arrive in China early for language acclimation and/or to take a language training course before law classes begin. Fudan generally offers a short orientation program for incoming exchange students as well as a beginner-level Chinese language course.

Academic Calendar

The academic year at Fudan Law is divided into two semesters. Typically fall semester runs from September through January, and spring semester runs from March through early July. 

Application Process and Timeline

Students interested in the Fudan Law exchange program should follow the semester abroad application process described on the HLS semester abroad webpage.

The HLS International Legal Studies staff will inform approved students if there are any additional application materials to complete.

The exchange agreement stipulates that Fudan Law reserve at least one spot for an HLS JD student each year. HLS may recommend more than one candidate but ultimately selection of the student will be made by Fudan.

Housing

The Administrative Department in Fudan’s Foreign Students Office provides assistance with finding accommodations, both on- and off-campus. Contact information for staff members who assist with this process is available on the Foreign Students Office website.

Contact Information

For further information, please contact either Sara Zucker at (617) 495-9030 / szucker@law.harvard.edu or Alicia Clemente at (617) 496-8732 / aclemente@law.harvard.edu. Students can also contact the Fudan International Students Office at iso@fudan.edu.cn.

Last modified: April 22, 2014

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