The Berkeley Exchange Program was designed for the purpose of enhancing the educational opportunities available to law students at both Harvard and Berkeley by providing them with exposure to a different faculty and student body. Each year, the program allows up to five Harvard Law School students to spend their third year studying at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. In return, up to five students from Berkeley can spend their third year here at Harvard.
Under the rules adopted by HLS and Berkeley for this program, all students who are selected will:
- continue to pay tuition to and apply for financial aid from their home law school,
- pay medical fees to the host law school,
- receive their degree from their home law school, and
- have access to both host and home placement offices.
For additional Financial Aid information about the program, please visit the Berkeley Exchange page of the Student Financial Services site.
General policies for participating HLS students
- The written work requirement and the international and comparative course requirement must be completed at HLS. The written work requirement must still be met under the supervision of an HLS faculty member. The international and comparative course requirement must be completed with one of the approved 3+ credit HLS international and comparative courses.
- The Professional Responsibility and Experiential Learning requirements must still be met. If you are planning to apply to the Berkeley Exchange Program, you should strongly consider taking a course in professional responsibility and completing the required 6 experiential learning credits in your second year while at HLS.
- The HLS Registrar must approve of the course of study to be taken at Berkeley.
- Participation in Berkeley’s Clinical Semester Away Program is not permitted.
- The application deadline for the program is the second Friday in February of the student’s 2L year.
Applying to the Berkeley Exchange Program
HLS students who wish to be considered for the Exchange Program should submit an application to the Administrative Board via the Dean of Students. The application should be in the form of a letter indicating why you wish to participate in the program. Special attention will be given to academic reasons for wishing to go to Berkeley such as a desire to work with a particular faculty member there or to take courses not available at Harvard. In any event, the application should include a proposed course of study at Berkeley. Courses at Boalt Hall are listed on their website. We recommend following up with Registrar’s Office before submitting your application and finalizing your 2L spring schedule to review your degree audit and confirm you are on track to attend Berkeley in the fall if approved.
Every effort will be made to let students know by the beginning of April who has been chosen to go to Berkeley next year. Once a student is notified of acceptance into the program, the student will have two weeks to advise HLS whether he or she will participate. If the student gives an affirmative response, he or she will not be permitted to pre-register. The consequences of this will be if a student accepts a place in the Exchange Program but later withdraws and returns here for the third year, the student will have the lowest priority with respect to course and seminar selection here. Accordingly, you should give careful consideration now whether you wish to participate in the Program. Any questions about the Program may be raised with the Dean of Students Office.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will my transcript look like?
On your transcript there will be a one-line entry for each term called “Harvard-Berkeley Exchange Program.” The number of credits earned will be listed with a grade of “CR.” You must order a separate transcript from Berkeley to receive your grades.
How are grades calculated?
Grades are calculated by Berkeley and not included on your Harvard transcript or in the honors calculation. When ordering transcripts, please be sure to order one from Harvard Law School and one from Berkeley.
Will my financial aid budget be adjusted to account for cost of living?
Please refer to the Student Financial Services page for further information about cost of living adjustment.
How long is the program? Can I participate for one semester?
The length of the program runs for the entire 3L year.
How does participating in the Berkeley Exchange affect registration? How do I register for classes?
You must register for classes with Berkeley by making a registration appointment. Be sure to register as quickly as possible since the year only begins in the fall.
How long should the application essay be?
There is no required length although a two-page essay should be sufficient. The application should be in the form of a letter indicating why you wish to participate in the program. Special attention will be given to academic reasons for wishing to go to Berkeley such as a desire to work with a particular faculty member there, or to take courses not available at Harvard.
Even though the application does not require letters of recommendation, should I get some?
It is helpful to include letters of recommendation at least two paragraphs in length.
How many applicants are admitted?
Five applicants will be admitted to the Berkeley Exchange.
What sort of correspondence occurs between HLS and Berkeley during the admissions process?
HLS and Berkeley will discuss who has been approved from each school.
Should I mention any personal considerations in my essay?
You may mention considerations but only if they are academic in nature or accommodations needs. You must be able to assert these concerns in your essay.