Visiting Researcher Program

The Institute for Global Law and Policy accommodates a small number of Visiting Researchers and Visiting Scholars each academic year, funded by outside resources. Visiting Researchers and Scholars apply to do research at the Law School for three months to one year. In making selections, the Committee at the Institute considers the applicant’s background, field of interest, scholarly achievements, availability of Harvard Law School faculty for consultation in the proposed research area, and English language proficiency. Applicants should have completed their basic legal studies with high academic standing.

Applicants at a relatively senior stage of their professional career may be designated Visiting Scholars. This designation is made on the basis of the nature of the applicant’s proposal, the expected duration of their research and prior academic experience. Visiting Scholar applicants are also required to be affiliated with a university, research institute or governmental program in their home country.


Applicants are responsible for assembling and submitting all required documents through the online application form by the deadline, April 15, for scholars wishing to begin their residency in August or September. Applications for scholars wishing to begin at other times are accepted on a rolling basis. The application must include:

  • A cover letter indicating proposed length of stay, source/s and amount of funds available to cover expenses (financial aid is not available for Visiting Researchers/Scholars), and a summary of research plans.
  • A resume/CV that clearly shows degrees received and current position, as well as your current academic affiliation
  • A 2-3 page research proposal
  • Official transcripts, and/or grading sheets (Faculty members at other universities who are applying to the IGLP need not include these)
  • Two letters of recommendation, including a letter of support from your doctoral or other academic supervisor, if appropriate. (Faculty members who are applying to the IGLP need not include these)
  • TOEFL score (see below)
  • Application fee (check payable to Harvard Law School for U.S. $75.00)

English Language Requirements
English language proficiency is essential for Visitors to ensure the most beneficial and efficient use of time at the IGLP at Harvard Law School. All applicants from non-English-speaking countries who did not do their basic legal education entirely in the English language must take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) within two years prior to submitting their applications. Normally, we require a minimum total score of 100 (with a score of at least 25 for each of the 4 subsections) on the Internet-based test (IBT), or a score of 600 or better on the paper-based test (PBT) (with a minimum score of 60 for each of the three subsections and a score of at least 5.0 on the TWE). To ensure that your TOEFL score reaches the Harvard Law School Graduate Program Admissions Office, please use the following reporting code – Institution code: 3457; Department code: Graduate Law.

Applicants with at least two consecutive years of full-time university education conducted entirely in English may request a waiver of the TOEFL when submitting an online application. Such waivers are not automatic and are granted at the sole discretion of the IGLP.

Application Fee
Please note that the $75 application fee is non-refundable. Applicants experiencing extreme financial difficulties may request a waiver of the fee. To request a waiver, a letter stating financial need must be submitted along with official documentation revealing personal income. All requests should be addressed to the Institute for Global Law and Policy.

If the application fee will be paid by a sponsoring organization (IIE, government sponsorship, etc.), a notation should be included with the application. Time allowance for disbursement of the fee from sponsoring organizations will be considered in processing the applications.

More Details

Visiting Researchers/Scholars have access to the Law School’s Libraries as well as other libraries at the University. With the permission of the teaching faculty member, Visiting Researches/Scholars may audit Law School courses on a non-credit basis. There is no additional tuition charge for auditing courses. Visiting Researchers/Scholars do not have faculty status.

Subject to availability, Visiting Researchers/Scholars may have use of an open study carrel in the Law School’s Langdell Library. Carrels are generally available at the beginning of the academic year. Visiting Researchers/Scholars arriving mid-year may find it more difficult to obtain a carrel. The carrel shelf application can be found here.

Secretarial services are not provided. Visiting Researchers and Scholars not eligible for office space.

Fees & Expenses
Visiting Researchers at the IGLP pay two fees:

  • A $300 monthly HLS Program fee*. In some cases, the Visiting Researcher may be reimbursed for this fee from the funding source for the VR’s study (grants, etc). This fee must be paid before registration and before an ID can be issued.
  • A $2,000 IGLP Program fee. This amount will not be pro-rated for periods of less than one year. In the past, many VR’s have been able to recover this fee from their funding institutions. 

*This fee is subject to change on a yearly basis.

Living Expenses
A single person can expect to incur living expenses of at least $15,000 for a 10-month period, exclusive of the fees described above. A married couple can expect living expenses of at least $22,000 for a 10-month period, exclusive of the residence fee.

Visiting Researchers and Scholars are not eligible for University housing. Visiting Researchers/Scholars may use the University Housing office which maintains lists of privately owned housing available for rent in the Cambridge area. This list may be consulted at the Housing Office after a visitor’s arrival in Cambridge. You can visit the International Housing Office’s web page for more information and assistance.

Because of the large student population in Cambridge and limited amount of housing, it can be challenging to locate housing after the school year begins. The best time to look for housing is in mid-August. Most Visiting Researchers and Scholars who have families come to Cambridge in advance of their families to look for housing. Landlords often require that a 10- or 12-month lease be signed by the tenant, thus making it difficult to rent a house or apartment for less than 10 to 12 months.

English Language Instruction
Harvard University offers English language courses for a tuition fee. For more information, contact the Harvard Summer School Program.

IGLP-RCC Applicants


Applicants from Spain who wish to apply in conjunction with the Real Colegio Complutense are required to submit their application online and follow the same policies and procedures indicated above. Consideration for admission to the IGLP-RCC Visiting Researcher/Scholar Program occurs once a year. The deadline for applications is April 15 for applicants wishing to commence research for the Fall and Spring semesters of the upcoming academic year.

Note: The IGLP program fee is waived for scholars sponsored by the Real Colegio Complutense (RCC).