Visiting Scholars

The Visiting Scholars Program offers academic visitors from around the world the chance to pursue a specific research project at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Interested candidates should carefully consider
the following materials:

The International Visiting Scholar Program welcomes academic visitors from around the world. The program is designed to give established legal scholars as well as those just beginning their scholarly careers access to the Law School's academic resources for the completion of a specific academic research project. Interested candidates should carefully review the program specifics and requirements before submitting an application. The Law School does not provide financial support to visiting scholars or aid visiting scholars in finding research funds.


Participation in the Visiting Scholars Program is awarded by committee on the basis of an application submitted by interested candidates. The committee takes into consideration your background, proposed plan of research, and dates of proposed residence, as well as the capacity of the Law School faculty and library to meet your research needs. You must be associated with an academic institution in your home country (or country of current residence) and have a specific research proposal for your proposed residence.

You are not required to have a formal faculty sponsorship, though if you have already established contacts with a Law School faculty member, you should indicate this on the application form. You are encouraged, however, to develop contacts and professional relationships with Law School faculty interested in your proposed area of research while in residence.


An interested candidate should download an application form or contact the Center for International Legal Education (CILE) for a copy by post. A candidate will be considered only after submitting a complete application. All application materials must be completed in English and should be typed. A completed application includes:

  • Completed Application Form
  • Current CV or Resume
  • Executed University Visitor Participation Agreement
  • 2 Letters of Reference or Recommendation
  • Brief statement of proposed research project
  • Recent (not older than 2 years) TOEFL or IELTS score (a videoconference interview in English may be substituted in extraordinary cases)
  • Intended dates of residence
  • Demonstration of available funding

Completed Application Form: You must complete the application form in its entirety. Application forms with incomplete sections will not be considered by the committee.

Current CV or Resume: You must submit a current CV or resume detailing your educational background, academic qualifications, publications, and relevant awards or honors.

Letters of Reference or Recommendation: You must submit two letters of reference or recommendation. At least one letter must be from a faculty member or colleague who is familiar with your work and academic achievements.

Brief Statement of Proposed Research Project: You must include a statement outlining your proposed research project for the intended stay at the Law School. The proposed research project is one of the most important application items, as it gives the committee an opportunity to evaluate the compatibility of the proposed research with the Law School's strengths and the interests of its faculty. The statement should be no more than 500 words (two pages) and should include the planned use of the proposed research.

TOEFL Score or Other Indicator of English Language Ability: You will need a high level of English language ability to benefit from this academic experience. If your native language is not English, you should submit a TOEFL score of 100 or higher on the Internet-based test, or an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher. Application without a TOEFL or IELTS score may be considered, but strong English language ability is necessary and must be proven through a videoconference interview with CILE staff.

Intended Dates of Residence: You should clearly state the dates during which you intend to be in residence at the Law School. The Visiting Scholar Program requires a minimum of six weeks and a maximum of one year of residence. The standard residence period begins at the start of the academic year (August), however, you may begin your residency at any time.

Demonstration of Available Funding: The Law School does not have funding to support visiting scholars. Nor does it have sufficient staff to aid you in finding outside funding. Visiting scholars are not eligible to be hired as research assistants or visiting professors. Therefore, you must demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while in residence at the Law School. Living expenses in Pittsburgh are estimated at $1,100 per month. You should add at least $400 per month for each dependent living with you in Pittsburgh. Demonstration of funding may be in the form of a bank statement (in USD or with a bank certified notation of the value in USD) or a letter from a funding organization detailing the amount of funds set aside for your research.

Application Deadlines: Due to visa requirements, you are strongly encouraged to apply at least six months prior to your intended starting date. There are no official application deadlines, but the committee will not consider applications that arrive within thirty days of the proposed starting date.


The Law School does not provide housing to visiting scholars. Accepted scholars are strongly encouraged to contact the CILE office to work with staff to identify possible housing options. However, CILE staff will only provide assistance in identifying housing and will not obtain or reserve housing for scholars.


Visiting scholars have access to a wealth of information at the Law School Library. Visiting Scholars may use the Library’s resources on-site during regular Library hours. 

You are strongly encouraged to engage with the faculty and student body, including the international students of the LLM and SJD classes. Scholars are invited to faculty workshops to hear presentations by Law School faculty and guests, and are occasionally asked to give a presentation to a student society or in a professor's class that touches on the scholar's research.

Applicants should be aware of the following:

  • Due to space restrictions, the Law School does not and cannot provide Visiting Scholars with office space or reserved library carrels.
  • Visiting Scholars do not have borrowing privileges at any University library, and are not provided with access to paid internet databases.
  • Except in extraordinary circumstances and with the prior permission of both the Dean of the Law School and the applicable professor, Visiting Scholars may not audit classes at the Law School or in other University units.  If you wish to take advantage of the world-class instruction available to our students, you should instead consider applying to Pitt Law’s LLM or SJD programs.
  • You are strongly encouraged to bring your own laptop, as the number of public computers in the Law Library is limited. Scholars are given full access to the Law School's wireless network while in residence.


An accepted visiting scholar will be required to apply for and obtain a United States Department of State J-1 Exchange Visitor (Scholar) visa. CILE has the necessary forms online, but you need not complete these forms until you have been notified of your acceptance into the Visiting Scholar Program. Upon your acceptance, you should complete the J-1 Exchange Visitor (Scholar) On-Line Department Request Form (DRF) Supplemental information and the J-1 Exchange Visitor Health Insurance Requirement Acknowledgment and Pledge Form. There is a $225 visa processing fee.

Under U.S. immigration regulations, you are required to maintain health insurance for the duration of your residence in the United States. The University of Pittsburgh has information for international visitors about obtaining health insurance, but does not provide health insurance and will not procure health insurance on behalf of any visitor. You should contact the CILE office with any questions concerning health insurance options.


There are two fees associated with the visiting scholar program at Pitt Law.  The first fee is a $225 Visa Processing Fee which is implemented by the Office of International Services. The admission letter will indicate the due date for this fee.  Secondly, there is a CILE Visiting Scholar Administration fee of $100 for each month of stay. This fee is due in full upon arrival at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  All fees are non-refundable and must be submitted to the CILE office. Payments may be made through an international money order, an international draft, or a check in U.S. Dollars made payable to the "University of Pittsburgh."  Please write the name of visiting scholar on the check or money order.