What the program has to offer
The International Exchange Program is designed to support law students wishing to broaden their understanding of the forces shaping international business law.
Program participants work closely with academics and experienced practitioners to gain insight into legal practice and explore current topics within German, European and transnational frameworks.
Academic rigor is paired with a wide range of extracurricular offerings and an optional trip to Berlin to ensure that the term abroad supports growth and exploration both in and outside of the classroom. A benefit of life in Germany’s second-largest city, participants have a wealth of excursions, lectures and special receptions to round out their stay.
All courses are taught in English and carefully selected to promote the program's focus on international and comparative business law. A course catalogue with course descriptions will be published in March.
Download Course List (pdf)
- Courses are taught by Bucerius professors, visiting international lecturers and legal practitioners. Instruction follows the Socratic Method, meaning that course meetings rely upon active student participation, rather than formal lecturing. This interactive environment enables students and lecturers from around the world to explore current issues in international and comparative law from different legal and cultural perspectives. Download the course catalogue above to browse full descriptions and lecturers biographies. Questions regarding academic advising should be directed to the program's academic director, Dean Katharina Boele-Woelki.
- Provided sufficient German language skills, exchange students may audit or follow German-taught LL.B. courses for credit. The fall trimester at Bucerius begins in late September; exchange students will be able to view a listing of German-taught courses after arrival to Hamburg and discuss this opportunity during the orientation program. Master of Law and Business courses are not available to exchange program participants.
For law students nearing the end of their study programs, the Bucerius International Exchange curriculum provides numerous professional development opportunities and a range of services to support a transition into the workforce:
- Within the classroom, the program focuses on international and comparative business law and brings together lecturers and participants from diverse academic and legal backgrounds; in doing this, it seeks to promote discussion and encourage comparative review of theory to prepare individuals for international careers and employment necessitating global competencies.
- Linking theory to practice, several courses are taught by practitioners (e.g. Corporate Governance, International Mergers & Acquisitions, Business Mediation). Participants seeking an additional challenge can opt to pursue a Certificate in Leadership and Management (see below) with the Bucerius Center on the Legal Profession.
- The program includes networking events with practitioners from leading companies and law firms to discuss opportunities for global engagement in legal practice. The Director of International Career Services offers one-on-one counseling (including review and critique of application materials) to support individuals considering employment in Germany.
- Exchange students will receive networking opportunities with MLB/LLM program participants, many of whom have gone on to found successful international start-ups.
Employers today expect law school graduates to possess skillsets that extend beyond textbook knowledge.
Exchange program participants can opt to enroll in a module of specialized courses intertwining law, economics and management to earn a Certificate in Management and Leadership for Lawyers from the Bucerius Center on the Legal Profession.
In order to earn the Certificate, students must sucessfully participate in courses such as Business Mediation & Conflict Resolution, Business Skills, Negotiation, Law Firms of Tomorrow or Transactional Drafting.
- The method for calculating credits is based upon American Bar Association (ABA) guidelines; transcripts are issued to reflect both European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) points and the equivalent number of ABA credits. Courses are worth either 2 or 4 ECTS points, equivalent to 1 or 2 ABA credits. (1 ABA credit = 700 minutes of classroom time)
- All students will be enrolled in the course "Introduction to German Law" and must follow this course for credit; this is the only mandatory course in the exchange program.
- In addition to the "Introduction to German Law" course, students must pursue a minimum of 8 ECTS points per session (equivalent to 4 ABA credits). Additional coursework may be undertaken as an auditor or for credit to support a student's interests or home university requirements. There is no maximum number of credits; baring schedule overlaps, exchange students may enroll in as many courses as they are interested in following.
- Prior to undertaking an exchange at Bucerius, all students are encouraged to speak with their home university regarding credit transfer policies. A student's home university will determine how many and which credits and/or grades may be transferred based upon status and degree program.
Courses are generally evaluated based upon performance on exams, final projects and/or presentations. Exams are graded anonymously and not on a curve.
Regular attendance and active participation is required in all courses.
The exchange semester is divided into two sessions with a one-week break between them. Each session is comprised of a six-week lecture period that is followed immediately by a one-week exam period.
During lecture periods, courses are held five days a week, usually between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. A tentative schedule will be published in July before the course registration window opens.
A handful of courses will meet over both the first and second lecture periods with exams held in December, at the end of the exchange term. Most courses will be condensed into a three- or four-week block of time during one of the two lecture periods.
As several topics are taught by visiting professors who are in Hamburg only for a brief stay, courses tend to be staggered over multiple days, rather than meeting at regular intervals, e.g. "Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m."
To offer a break from coursework and time spent in the library, sign up for a range of activities that are offered at no cost during the fall trimester.
In the first weeks, take advantage of late summer sunshine and warm evenings to explore the city – a curated walk around the warehouse district and waterfront, private bus tour and boat trip around the lake and canals will provide a perfect introduction to your new surroundings.
Once settled, get a taste of Northern Germany with guided outings to the Hanseatic cities of Lübeck and Lüneburg. As the leaves change color and crisp autumn days arrive, explore Hamburg’s gallery and museum scene with guided tours and enjoy cinema evenings with German films screened with English subtitles.
Late November brings the opening of Christmas Markets and an opportunity to take part in a very German tradition with your Bucerius buddy family: Sip hot cider or spiced wine and snack on ginger cookies and roasted almonds while strolling around the historic downtown illuminated by countless Christmas lights!
Receptions, guest lectures and celebrations organized by German student groups round out programming.
Discover Germany's capital together with your international classmates and take part in an excursion to Berlin that's organized by the International Office; the trip begins on Saturday morning after the first exam week and runs until Monday evening so you have the option to return to Hamburg on Monday night or extend travel for a week of sightseeing on your own during the weeklong break between the two sessions!
The cost to take part is fixed at € 170 and includes travel to and from the cities, transports to excursion sites while there, accommodation in a centrally located hostel (shared rooms with other Bucerius students and a private bath), admission costs and guided tours of museums and memorial sites.
“This program has been a real eye-opener for me. Coming from a common law system, I find it very interesting to discover how students from a civil law system think. I would definitely recommend students to come to Bucerius because this program is amazing – full stop.”
Lihi, Tel Aviv University, Exchange Student 2014
“With engaged students from many different jurisdictions, it has been a stimulating experience teaching in the International Exchange Program. The Program, with its international and comparative focus, provides a valuable learning environment for participating students. In today’s global legal environment, the varied perspectives from different legal systems are invaluable to all aspiring legal professionals.”
Prof. TAN Cheng Han, S.C., National University of Singapore, Visiting Lecturer