Innovative Study

Certificate Program in International and Comparative Law

The complexity of transnational business and the growing significance of international organizations underscore the need for lawyers to be well versed in international and comparative law. Willamette's Certificate Program in International and Comparative Law was designed to prepare students to meet the challenges of legal careers in an increasingly global profession.

The program offers a rich blend of coursework and practical training for law students interested in the intricate and exacting study of international and comparative law.

The Certificate Program in International and Comparative Law requires 16 hours of specialized study as part of the 90 hours required to earn the J.D.

The Certificate Program in International and Comparative Law provides students with a rigorous and comprehensive introduction to the fundamentals of international law and dispute resolution, comparative law, and private international law. Students also are given an opportunity to study specialty subjects ranging from international business transactions, admiralty law and comparative constitutional law to immigration law. The Certificate Committee recommends that students select international business transactions to round out their program. Skills training is provided through editorial work on the school's international law journal and international law moot court competition. Off-campus study programs in China, Ecuador and Germany offer invaluable experiences abroad. The certificate program is further enhanced by access to courses in the Atkinson Graduate School of Management in such subjects as international management and foreign investment.

First-year students interested in admission to the program should enroll in the introductory international law course offered in the spring semester. In addition to the introductory course, the program requires four other courses and a seminar.

Program Requirements

There is no formal application requirement. Rather, if you are interested in earning a Certificate, please notify Reyna Meyers at 503-370-6046 or rmeyers@willamette.edu to register for the program. As you are closer to your graduation date, please confirm with Reyna that you in fact have satisfied the three requirements described below:

  1. Have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher at the time of registration in the Program.
  2. Complete a total of sixteen hours in certificate program courses listed below with a cumulative program GPA of 2.8 or higher in the graded courses.
  3. Graduate with a cumulative College of Law GPA of 2.5 or higher.¹

1L/2L/3L Introductory Required Course (3 hours)

  • 117 or 316: International Law and Dispute Resolution  OR
  • 118 or 320 Comparative Law

2L/3L Other Required Courses (2-3 hours)

In addition to the Introductory Required Course, take the omitted introductory course: 

  • 316: International Law and Dispute Resolution OR 
  • 320: Comparative Law
Plus any one of these courses:
  • 318: International Business Transactions²
  • 372: International Arbitration and Litigation Law

2L/3L International or Comparative Law Seminar Writing Requirement (2-3 hours)

  • 359: Selected Problems in International Law OR
  • Other international or comparative law seminar requiring a research paper, or, with the Certificate director's approval, a paper in another seminar on an international or comparative law topic

2L/3L Elective Course

  • Any course listed in Other Required Courses (above) that you are not using for that requirement
  • 210: Admiralty Law
  • 361: Advanced Topics in Conflict and Dispute Resolution
  • 378: Bucerius Law School (Germany Program) courses, with approval of the certificate program director
  • 526: Chinese Law and Legal Institutions (China Program)
  • 358: Comparative Constitutional Law
  • 383: European Union Law
  • 6252: Global Entrepreneurship: Launching & Managing International Ventures
  • 6218: Global Human Resource Management (GSM)³
  • 373: Human Rights Law
  • 470: Independent Research, with approval of the Certificate director
  • 350: Immigration Law
  • 393: International Children's Rights
  • 3001: International Criminal and Humanitarian Law
  • 6258: International Finance  (GSM)³
  • 618-09: International Human Rights Clinic
  • 415X or 416X: International Law Moot Court
  • 420X: International Law Journal
  • 245: International Tax
  • 3008:  Introduction to International Human Rights and Refugee Law
  • 365: Latin American Law and Legal Institutions (Ecuador Program)
  • 313: Private International Law
  • 359: Selected Problems in International Law (if not used for seminar requirement)

Certain courses are approved, but only offered occasionally:

  • 363: International Environmental Law and Policy
  • 518: Ocean Resources Law

Program Faculty

View program faculty


1: Students should have the practical ability to take and complete all courses required for the Certificate in International and Comparative law prior to graduation. If, for any reason, a Certificate candidate is unable to complete all courses prior to graduation, the student shall either opt to graduate on time without the Certificate or graduate on time and continue at the College of Law for such additional period as is necessary to complete the Certificate requirements.

2: This course is normally offered in alternate years. Thus it will only be offered once during your second and third year of law school and it is recommended that you enroll at the time offered.

3: Courses in the Atkinson Graduate School of Management (AGSM) are subject to approval for admission to the course by the Atkinson School and to College of Law limits on Atkinson courses described in the Student Handbook. Please note GSM-6258 International Finance requires previous coursework in finance and accounting.

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“Willamette’s Certificate Program in International and Comparative Law provides graduates with the edge needed for their first law job and beyond.”

Professor David S. Clark
Director of the Certificate Program in International and Comparative Law

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“As a student of comparative and international law, I understood how the laws of different nations diverge and intersect. Having gone through the certificate program, I can now analyze how and why this happens. My skills in international law give me a unique opportunity to specialize in something so broad that it affects the majority of the world's population. With this certificate, I feel confident to practice law anywhere.”

Judith A. Parker
Class of 2006