Frequently Asked Questions for IBL&DR

1.Why has Pitt Law decided to offer this Certificate program?

Building on its existing strength in the international area, exemplified by the Center for International Legal Education (CILE), Pitt Law saw a need for an online program for busy professionals to gain knowledge and experience in cross-border transactions and disputes.

2.Who should enroll in this Certificate program?

Anyone who wants to gain knowledge about cross-border transactions and international disputes will benefit from it, but the target audiences are:

  • Foreign-qualified lawyers looking for an online credential from a US law school that is relevant to their practice in the international space.
  • Non-lawyers, both in the US and abroad, who work closely with lawyers on cross-border matters.  This would include paralegals, legal assistants and legal support professionals with law firms, as well as those who work in sales, procurement, insurance and risk management for multinational corporations.
  • US lawyers looking to get useful, practical information on cross-border transactions and disputes that is usually only available in on-the-job practice.
    If you are an international student currently residing in the United States, please contact the Office of International Services to make sure you are eligible to apply to this program.  

3.How long does the Certificate program take?

IBL&DR is a 40-week online program, consisting of five courses (4 core courses and a closing seminar, each 8 weeks long).  The program will begin in the spring 2022 semester, containing the first two courses, covering the January-April period.  The third course will be taken in the May to June summer semester, and the fourth and fifth courses will be offered in the fall semester, from August until mid-December.

4.How much does the Certificate program cost?

IBL&DR provides 15 graduate-level credits for $11,500, plus $100/semester in fees, and the cost of any books or course materials.  Payment of the entire tuition fee is not required at the beginning of the program, but will be billed each semester.  Students should check with their employers to see if they offer tuition assistance or reimbursement for the  IBL&DR Certificate program.

5. What are the requirements for admission? 

Applicants must have earned a baccalaureate degree at an accredited institution. Admissions decisions will be made based on professional experience, academic credentials, and a personal statement. In some instances, an interview (online or phone) may be requested. 

6.What resources will be available to me as a student?

You will have full access to the University of Pittsburgh library system, the Writing Center, and a host of other support services. To learn more, visit Pitt Online.

7.How technologically savvy do I need to be?  What kind of computer equipment will I need?

While you needn’t be a technology expert to take an online class, you should have some proficiency with a computer, e-mail, downloading, saving and writing electronic documents, and navigating the Internet. Additionally, your computer will need to meet our minimum technology standards in order to access online course content. Make sure to check our technology requirements on our Support page.

As a Pitt Online student, you will have access to our online Student Orientation course, tutorials and the student handbook. Additionally, you’ll have access to our 24/7 technical resources to support any questions about the online course system and materials.

8.     How much should I expect to pay for books in this program?

Faculty will make every effort to keep the costs down, as there is no single textbook for most of the courses.  There are often book rental programs through providers like Amazon. 

9.     Is financial aid available?

Unfortunately, financial aid for this program is not available through the University of Pittsburgh nor through federal loans.  However, many employers provide financial incentives for their employees to participate in programs such as this. Information regarding private educational loans can be found here.  (If you are a University of Pittsburgh or UPMC employee, please contact your human resources office for information about your employment-based tuition benefits.  If you are a University of Pittsburgh employee, you may pay your share of tuition on a payment plan.)

10.  How much work should I expect?

There is a significant amount of work in the program because of the intensive and accelerated nature of the program. Students should plan on 10-12 hours per week for course work. However, because most of the work is self-paced, you choose when and where you do your work.

11.  Do I have to be online at a specific time to complete the course work? 

No. All course materials can be accessed at any time and students can work on their own schedules to complete assignments by course deadlines. However, courses will have online discussions that are interactive, and some may have group projects that will require coordination among your online team members. 

12.  How will my work be evaluated?

Students should expect to complete weekly assessments. Faculty provide feedback on their progress toward learning goals. Assessments can take multiple forms, such as discussion board participation, case studies, quizzes, and individual and group projects.

13.  What final grade point average (GPA) is needed to successfully earn the certificate?

To earn the certificate, a cumulative GPA of B (3.0) is required.  Credits earned in the certificate program with a grade less than B cannot be counted toward the MSL degree.

14.  Do the credits earned in the IBL&DR Certificate transfer to other University graduate programs?

Yes.  Students earn 3 graduate credits from Pitt Law for each course successfully completed in the IBL&DR program. In general, these credits will be usable to pursue Pitt Law’s Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree program, or towards its LLM program for foreign legal graduates.  Other universities may also accept these as transfer credits applicable to their graduate programs. 

Please note that (1) Certificate credits can only be applied to the first semester of the LLM program, so you must first take the Certificate;  (2) Under current regulations, an LLM consisting of Certificate credits plus the second semester of LLM work will not enable the graduate to sit for the New York or most other state bar exams, and we make no other representations about the use of certificate credits for bar exam purposes as these matters are outside of our control; and (3) Certificate credits cannot be used towards an advanced-standing status if a student is later admitted to  Pitt Law’s JD program.