Visiting Scholars, Jurists & Researchers Program


Scholars from around the globe come to UCLA Law to conduct independent research in our innovative and welcoming academic community.

Located in Los Angeles in beautiful Southern California, UCLA School of Law is the youngest top-tier law school in the United States. We have an elite faculty, innovative curriculum, and inclusive community. UCLA School of Law is home to a variety of academic Centers and Programs that enrich the life of the school. The Visiting Scholars, Jurists and Researchers Program (VSJRP) invites outstanding scholars, researchers, and jurists from around the globe to come to Los Angeles to engage in independent research. Our visitors become part of our community for the duration of their time with us.

Benefits of being a Visitor at UCLA School of Law

  • Our visitors participate in the rich academic environment available at UCLA Law and may attend all public talks, workshops, and conferences hosted at the law school to engage with our guest speakers, faculty, and students.
  • Our visitors may audit individual law school courses with the consent of the instructor. Please note that this is not a pedagogical program and does not offer course credit or lead to a degree.
  • We hold monthly lunches and/or coffee meetings for our community of visitors to engage with one another on research and life in Los Angeles.
  • Our visitors may have the opportunity to workshop their research projects with other visitors and UCLA Law faculty.
  • Our visitors have access to our world-class Hugh and Hazel Darling Law Library, other campus libraries, and the law school computer network.
  • Our visitors work on self-directed, independent research, without the supervision of any UCLA Law faculty members.

Virtual Tour

Program Information

  • Visitor Categories

    UCLA School of Law welcomes three different categories of visitors to the VSJRP.

    • Visiting Scholars are legal scholars who spend time at UCLA School of Law in order to conduct specific independent research or to learn about U.S. law in a particular field related to their work.
    • Visiting Jurists are practicing lawyers, judges, and other members of the legal profession from other countries who spend time at UCLA School of Law in order to conduct specific independent research or learn about U.S. law in a particular field related to their work.
    • Visiting Graduate Researchers are graduate-level law students currently enrolled in a PhD or other advanced degree program who spend time at UCLA School of Law in order to work on their dissertations or conduct specific independent research.
  • Visit Duration

    We accept visitors into the program from two to twelve months.  To benefit the most from our academic community, we strongly recommend visitors plan their visit to coincide with the UCLA Law academic calendar.  We generally welcome visitors to start their visiting period between August 15-September 30 (for the Fall semester) or January 15-Feburary 28 (for the Spring semester) each year.  We will consider start dates outside these on an exceptional basis.

  • Application Process

    The UCLA Law Visiting Scholars, Jurists & Researchers Program attracts the best candidates from around the world and is highly competitive. To request an application form, please complete this form.

    Applicants must provide the following materials for consideration:

    • Application Form
    • Brief Description of Research Project
    • Current Resume or Curriculum Vitae
    • TOEFL/IELTS Score Certificate or other proof of English language proficiency

    Visitors are encouraged to apply during one of two application windows each year:

    • February 1 – March 15
    • August 1 – September 15

    Applicants should apply at least six months in advance of their proposed start date.  We will consider applications made outside of these dates on an exceptional basis.

    Once we have received all your documents, please allow us 2-4 weeks to review your application.  If you are admitted to the program, VSJRP will work with you on applying for a visa to come to the United States, if necessary.

  • Fees & Costs

    Program Fees

    Visitors are assessed program fees by the law school and the university based on the length of the visit.

    • Visiting Scholars and Visiting Jurists are required to pay a fee of $1,250 per month, or $12,500 per year.
    • Visiting Graduate Researchers (VGR) are required to pay a fee of $750 per month, or $7,500 per year.  In addition, under the UCLA Graduate Division's Visiting Graduate Researcher policy, all Visiting Graduate Researchers are required to pay one-time and quarterly fees based on the University's quarter schedule.  As quarterly fees are not prorated, we encourage VGRs to plan the dates of their visit based around this schedule.

    The required fees cover campus costs and provide visitors with access to law school services, resources, and facilities. All visitors who require visas must also pay a visa processing fee of $340.  The law school cannot provide visitors with any financial aid or funding to assist with fees and/or living expenses.  In exceptional circumstances, the law school fees may be partially waived with evidence of hardship, extenuating circumstances, or other compelling reasons.

    Living Costs

    Los Angeles is a very expensive city to live in.  UCLA estimates that visitors will spend approximately $2,240 per month on living expenses, although this figure varies considerably from person to person depending on expenditures on housing, food, etc.  Visiting scholars, jurists and researchers are not entitled to on-campus university housing or off-campus university housing during their stay and must arrange for their own housing while residing in Los Angeles.

    Health Insurance

    All visitors are required to demonstrate proof of adequate medical insurance that will provide coverage during their stay in the United States.  All visitors who plan to come to UCLA on the J-1 visa will be required to purchase mandatory health care coverage through the UCLA Visiting Scholar Benefits Plan (VSPB).  Visitors may opt out of this plan only if they can provide proof of comparable health insurance through an alternative provider that is approved by Garnett-Powers & Associates, Inc.

    Proof of Sufficient Funds

    All visitors are required to demonstrate proof of adequate financial support to cover the entire cost of the visit (fees and living expenses).  For those requiring a visa to travel to the United States, 51% of required funds must come from non-personal sources (e.g. scholarships, grants), to be eligible for the J-1 visa for non-degree students.  If accepted into the program, visitors will be required to supply financial documentation (bank statements, scholarship letters, etc.) in order to begin the process of applying for their J-1 visa.

  • English Language Proficiency

    Applicants for the Visiting Scholars, Jurists & Researchers Program must submit a satisfactory TOEFL or IELTS score or provide other evidence of English language proficiency. Strong candidates will have earned a TOEFL score of 600 on the paper-based test, 250 on the computer-based test, or 100 on the internet-based test. The minimum IELTS score is 7.0. An outstanding applicant with a slightly lower test score will still be eligible for consideration.

    TOEFL and IELTS scores will be considered valid for two years. Native English speakers are exempt from the TOEFL or IELTS requirement. Completion of a law degree at an institution at which English is the primary language of instruction may serve as sufficient alternate proof of English language proficiency.

  • Visa Process

    If you accept UCLA Law’s offer of admission to the Visiting Scholars, Jurists & Researchers Program, the UCLA Dashew Center for International Students & Scholars will email you instructions for applying for a DS-2019 form for your J-1 visa.  You will be asked to submit the following information:

    • Biographical information for you and your dependents (spouse and/or children).
    • Copy of the picture page of the passport for you and each dependent, if applicable.
    • Documentary evidence of financial support in English.  51% of required funds must come from non-personal sources for J-1 non-degree student categories.
    • A copy of your resume/CV.
    • Proof of English language proficiency.
    • Copies of previous DS-2019 forms if you have participated in a J-1 program within the past 2 years.

    After receiving these items, the Dashew Center will process your application and issue your DS-2019 form within 20 business days.  The DS-2019 form will be sent to you via FedEx.  After receiving the form, you must apply for a J-1 visa through the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of residence in order to obtain authorization to enter the United States.  Please apply for your visa well in advance of the date of your intended travel to the United States, as some embassies and consulates take several weeks (or even months) to process visa requests.

    Upon arriving in the United States, you must check in with the Dashew Center within 25 days.

    If you have questions about the visa process, you should direct those to the Dashew Center. You can find different ways to contact the Dashew Center here.

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