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Visiting Scholar program

Each academic year the East Asian Legal Studies program hosts a number of Visiting Scholars. The men and women who come to EALS from throughout the world take time off from their posts in 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.

Our Visiting Scholars are provided access to all of the Harvard libraries, including the incomparable collections of the Law School library. Although the EALS program does not confer degrees, our visitors may audit one or two Law School courses per semester on a non-credit basis after they have received permission from the professor. The intellectual richness of the experience is deepened through participation in the frequent informal roundtable discussions in which work in progress is shared with other Visiting Scholars.

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, and particular weight will be given to the research proposal and demonstration of English language proficiency. It has been our experience that Visiting Scholars who arrive at Harvard already highly proficient in English benefit greatly from their experience and contribute much more to the institution, and for this reason we ask for a TOEFL score. Reference letters may be written in English, Chinese, or Japanese and may be sent separately. The application submitted must be the applicant's own work.

The EALS program is able to offer appointments of a maximum of one year. Applications for research visits of only one semester (or any period of less than twelve months) will also be considered, but we would prefer that research appointments coincide with the Harvard academic year (September through June). With reasonable exceptions for brief trips, our Visiting Scholars are expected to remain in residence during the term of their appointment.

Visiting Scholars are generally self-funded or sponsored extramurally. EALS charges an administrative fee of $650.00 for each month of an appointment. 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 to maintain a reasonable standard of living in the Boston area. The minimum in financial resources that an individual must have available is $30,000 per year ($2,500 per month). An additional $5,000 per year ($417 per month) must be declared for each accompanying family member. Please note that the EALS application asks for an accurate listing of the source(s) of funding.

Unfortunately, our available office space is severely limited. We will try to provide a desk in a shared office for each of our visitors, but we cannot guarantee this will always be possible. In addition, Harvard Law School is not able to provide apartments or residence hall rooms for affiliates who are not candidates for a degree. Our visitors are responsible for securing their own housing, preferably well before they arrive.

The two deadlines for submission of applications are October 15 and April 15. To apply, complete all sections of the application (linked below) and mail the fee of $50 (check or money order only, payable to "Harvard University") along with the application to East Asian Legal Studies, Harvard Law School, 1585 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge 02138 USA.

Click here for the EALS Visiting Scholar application:

VS App for EALS website docx

VS App for EALS website doc

VS App for EALS website pdf

VS App for EALS website rtf

Prospective applicants interested in a research affiliation with another research program at the Law School (e.g., the Graduate Program, the Islamic Legal Studies Program, the Human Rights Program) 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 Research, the Korea Center, and the Center for the Environment’s China Project.


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East Asian Legal Studies, Austin Hall 301, Harvard Law School, 1585 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 
Last modified March 3, 2014 by Emma Johnson. For more information contact EALS.
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