The faculty of law at Leiden University in the Netherlands conducts the Leiden Law Courses (LLC) for law students from other European countries and the United States. The curriculum is designed and taught by the Leiden faculty as an integral part of its enterprise. Most of the faculty come from the School of Law, but members of the political science and economics faculties also teach in the program.
The foreign students program is administered as a subdepartment of the School of Law. The courses are cross-listed with the program taken by students in the University’s regular law program. Dutch students, students from other European countries, and American students take the classes together, with English as the language of instruction. Participants in the program thus are, in effect, students at Leiden University for their term of enrollment.
The LLC’s offerings center on international law, comparative law, legal history, the law of the European Union, and law and economics in the international context. Accordingly, the program should be of particular interest to students who look toward practice in international business transaction, international trade regulation, and public international law.
Admission, Course of Study, Calendar, and Degree Credit
The law school seeks to enroll between two and five students per year in the Leiden Law Program. Selection decisions are made by a committee that includes the Leiden Program Director. Students who wish to apply should submit a letter. This letter should explain their interest in the Leiden Law Program, provide a detailed and specific statement of their educational objectives, and include a listing of the classes they wish to take. A current resume, law school transcript and a letter of recommendation from a faculty member will also be required. Interviews may be conducted at the committee’s discretion. Application materials should be submitted to Nicky Fornarotto, program administrator.
Rutgers students are eligible for classes held in the spring semester. The Leiden semester is broken up into two terms; the first term usually runs from early February through the end of March and the second term runs from April through early June. Students are required to take classes in both terms. The number of class meeting hours varies from course to course. Reading loads vary from 400 to 1,200 pages. Depending on the student’s course selection, the term can end at any time from the beginning of May to the end of June.
The Spring 2014 course schedule can be found on Leiden’s website. The mode of instruction at Leiden differs from the practice in American law schools. It contemplates a greater proportion of student time spent on outside reading and writing and a lesser proportion spent sitting in class than is the case with legal education here.
The Leiden Program Director will have final say in approving a program that justifies 11 semester credits for work done in Leiden. As a practical matter, Rutgers students will usually take four substantial LLC courses to earn 11 credits. In addition, in order to make up for the shortened instructional period caused by the change in academic calendar, students must enroll in at least one Independent Research credit here at Rutgers and produce a paper on a topic approved by the Leiden academic adviser. Students are also required to visit at least two legal institutions in The Netherlands as part of their academic program.
Students will register here for a Leiden semester and then depart for Leiden and register again there for a course of study approved in advance at Rutgers. Degree credit will be awarded only for courses taken with prior approval here. Programs and credit loads are worked out on an individual basis by each participating student and the Leiden Program Director.
Leiden grades students on a scale of one to 10, with six being the lowest passing grade. This is a tough grading system, but Rutgers students have done very well. Indeed, the Leiden faculty generally has been pleased with the quality of the work done by American students. But there have been some failures. Their system, however, allows for second chances through re-examination. Our rule respecting degree credit and Leiden grades is as follows: Students must attain an average of 6.5 or better in their Leiden coursework to receive credit for the semester.
Tuition, Expenses, and Housing
Students pay Leiden costs in euros. Students attending Leiden in the Spring of 2014 will be charged 6,450 euros for tuition and fees. Other costs for housing, food, transportation, etc., will vary according to accomodations, but usually range from 850-950 euros/month. Airfare will be an additional expense.
Students must also enroll in at least one unscheduled credit at Rutgers, which may be journal credits, independent research, etc., for which they must pay the applicable per credit tuition rate to the University. Related Rutgers student fees will be assessed as well.
Foreign students studying at Leiden are required to apply for a residence permit; the fee for applying for such a permit is approximately 600 euros. Medical insurance is also required and is arranged here through the University. The policy costs about $150 and pays medical expenses up to $100,000 with no deductible.
Expenses have not been a problem for Rutgers students at Leiden. Past experience shows that Rutgers students can go to school at Leiden for roughly what it costs to go to school here and still have some money left over for travel in Europe.