Admission to the program is in two cycles per year. Visiting Scholars and Visiting Researchers (“Visitors”) may be appointed for one semester or two consecutive semesters; extensions beyond the second semester are rarely granted and only with the explicit support of the faculty sponsor.
Fall semester begins in September and ends in January; the Spring semester begins in February and ends in June. While there is no Visitor program in July and August, Visitors who are admitted for two semesters beginning in the Spring may remain at Harvard to work on independent research during the summer months (July and August).
If you are interested in gaining access to the Harvard Law School Libraries for a period shorter than one semester, please consult the library’s website or contact Library Access at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application Deadlines are as follows:
- April 15, 2021 for applicants wishing to commence research beginning in September 2021*
- September 15, 2021 for applicants wishing to commence research beginning in February 2022
*While we are working remotely due to COVID-19 we do not anticipate being able to administer the application process for the non-degree VS/VR Program for Spring 2021.
Admission Decisions are typically released on the following timelines:
- June 2021 for applicants wishing to commence research beginning in September 2021
- November 2021 for applicants wishing to commence research beginning in February 2022
- Admission decisions will be communicated electronically. Once the decisions have been reached, you will be notified promptly. To protect the confidentiality of applications, we do not release any information on an application decision to anyone other than the applicant.
To apply to the Visitor Program, you must carefully complete and submit the online Application for Admission.
Applicants must provide information about themselves and the specific research project they propose to pursue at Harvard, letters of recommendation from professors and others who know their work, and transcripts from each university they have attended. In addition, each applicant must submit a letter from a Harvard Law School faculty member indicating the faculty member’s willingness to supervise the proposed research project.
Checklist of application materials
- Online Application for Admission
- Résumé or C.V.
- Cover letter
- Research proposal
- Letter of Harvard Law School faculty support
- Two letters of recommendation**
- Official TOEFL report (if applicable)
- Application fee of US $85
* Applicants to the Visitor program who are currently enrolled in the Harvard Law School LL.M. or S.J.D. program, or who received their degrees from Harvard Law School within the previous three years, need only submit their Harvard Law School transcript.
** Applicants to the Visitor program who are currently enrolled in the Harvard Law School LL.M. or S.J.D. program, or who received their degrees from Harvard Law School within the previous three years, are not required to submit the two letters of recommendation. They only need to provide a letter of faculty support.
English language proficiency is essential for Visitors to ensure the most beneficial and efficient use of time 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. The Graduate Program requires 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). To ensure that your TOEFL score reaches the Harvard Law School Graduate Program Admissions Office, please use the following reporting code – Institution code: 3457. We do not accept MyBest™ TOEFL score reports.
Applicants with at least two consecutive years of full-time university education conducted entirely in English may request a waiver of the TOEFL requirement; however, such waivers are very rarely granted and subject to the sole discretion of the Committee on Graduate Studies, whose decision is final.
The TOEFL is offered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) at locations around the world. For more information, please visit the ETS website.