EALS Visiting Scholar program
  HLS shield, East Asian Legal Studies, Harvard Law School

EALS Visiting Scholar Program


Each academic year, the East Asian Legal Studies program hosts a number of Visiting Scholars who come to EALS from academe, government, or law practice to pursue their own research and write on a range of subjects. We strive to invite a diverse group of visitors who represent a variety of home institutions, jurisdictions, and legal fields.

Contingent on public health guidance, our Visiting Scholars may seek permission to audit one or two Law School classes per semester and are provided access to all of the Harvard libraries, including the incomparable collections of the Law School library. The intellectual richness of the Visiting Scholar experience is deepened through required participation in “roundtable” discussions, at which each Scholar shares works-in-progress and seeks feedback from the other Scholars.

Selection Criteria

Visiting Scholars are admitted on the basis of a formal application. In selecting applicants, consideration is made of each applicant’s background, field of interest, and achievements in scholarship and/or practice. Particular weight will be given to the applicant’s research proposal and level of English language proficiency. It has been our experience that Visiting Scholars who arrive at Harvard already highly proficient in English benefit much more from their experience and contribute much more to the institution.


The EALS program offers appointments of maximum one year. Applications for research visits of only one semester (or any period less than twelve months) will also be considered. Ideally, appointments should be concomitant with the Harvard academic year (late August to late May), and will start, at the latest, September 1 (or January 15 for the spring semester). With reasonable exceptions for brief trips consistent with visa and other legal requirements, Visiting Scholars are expected to remain in the Cambridge area during the term of their appointment.

Visiting Scholar Fee and Funding

The EALS Visiting Scholar fee is $700 per month of appointment. EALS has limited financial aid funding, which is awarded on a need basis.

All applicants (whether seeking financial aid or not) are required to submit a complete and accurate listing of their sources of funding to support their visit – which is subject to verification. Inaccurate statements may lead to denial of one’s application or even revocation of an acceptance. In addition, before Harvard University can issue a J-1 visa sponsorship document, we are required by the U.S. Government to verify that each incoming Visiting Scholar has adequate funding -- the minimum financial resources an individual must have available during the time here is $2,917 per month ($35,000 per year), not including the Visiting Scholar fee. An additional $542 per month ($6,500 per year) must be available for each accompanying family member.


The Law School is not able to provide offices or housing for affiliates who are not candidates for a degree. Visiting Scholars are responsible for securing their own housing, and we suggest that Scholars start looking online a few months before they arrive. Useful information may be found at the HIO housing site and the Harvard housing site.


The application deadline is March 1 for the full following academic year or any part thereof. On occasion, we will consider applications at other times – if you would like to apply but will not be able to meet the March 1 deadline, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss possible options.

Click here to download the application (Word document) (which includes the email address to which to send your documents, and instructions on how to pay the fee online): EALS VS Application.

Required application materials (please see the EALS Visiting Scholar Application Form for details):

During the application review process, we may contact you for an interview. Interviews are conducted using Zoom. If there is a reason that Zoom will not work for you, we will work with you to find an alternative.

Acceptance Decisions

Decisions pursuant to our regular academic cycle will be communicated by April 1. While we will consider exigent circumstances, applicants should understand that for reasons of fairness to our entire applicant pool, we are unlikely to be able to communicate decisions prior to April 1.


The foregoing is contingent on public health guidance and accordingly is subject to alteration should circumstances warrant.

Please note: scholars interested in affiliation with another research program at the Law School (such as at the HLS Graduate Program, the Islamic Legal Studies Program, the HLS Human Rights Program, or the Harvard Law School Project on Disability) should contact that program directly for information about their Visiting Fellow programs. Opportunities are also available elsewhere at Harvard for conducting research on East Asian-related topics other than law at a number of research centers, including the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, and the Korea Institute.