Study Abroad: Chinese Law Program

May 15-June 13, 2015 or May 15-May 30, 2015

Price TBD

  • Participants are eligible for the 2014 International Forum! More...
  • Participants may arrange internships at leading Chinese law firms! More...

Prof. Lloyd Wilson, Director

Please see the link to the one-hundred photograph album of program activities:

Program Overview

The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law offers a 4 week/5 credit or 2 week/2 credit summer study program in Beijing, China. The Program provides an overview of the Chinese legal system and focuses on the evolution of Chinese domestic law within the country's socialist market economy. The Program also provides insight into areas of law of contemporary importance, such as labor and environmental law. The Program is hosted by Renmin University of China Law School, generally recognized as China's premier law school. Classes are taught in English by Chinese faculty who are experts in their fields.

Classes meet in the mornings, which leaves the afternoons and weekends free for study, sightseeing, or language instruction. In addition to classroom instruction, students will visit numerous government offices and agencies, such as the National People’s Congress, the Supreme People’s Court or the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, a People's Basic Court, an international arbitration agency, and a major Chinese law firm. The Program also includes sightseeing trips to major cultural attractions in and around Beijing, such as the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, and the Great Wall. Transportation to field trip sites and cost of admission are included in the Program Fee.

Any interested law student  is invited to apply. Applications from graduate students in areas other than law and from community participants, such as government officials, business leaders, and teachers in other disciplines, are also welcome.

Indiana University - A Tradition of Summer Law Study in China

The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law pioneered summer law study programs in China. In 1987 the Law School launched a summer program in Shanghai, which operated annually for ten years. In 1998 the Law School began a new summer program in Beijing - China's ancient capital and its political and cultural center. The host institution is Renmin University of China Law School. The Chinese Law Summer Program is the premier course of study in Beijing that focuses on the legal aspects of China's socialist market economy, opportunities for trade and investment, and the development of the rule of law in China. U.S. law schools formally affiliated with the program are Boston College Law School, University of Minnesota Law School, University of Oklahoma College of Law, and University of Tennessee College of Law.  Students come to the Program from all across the U.S.  Since the Program’s inception, participants have come from over 100 American law schools.  In just the past few years, students have also come from law schools in seven foreign countries.

Renmin University of China
Renmin University campus

Renmin University

Renmin University of China was established in 1950, the year following the founding of the People's Republic of China, making it the first university in the New China. Its tree-lined campus is located in the university sector of Beijing. Approximately 1,000 students are enrolled in Renmin University's Law School, which confers both undergraduate and graduate law degrees and which has established academic exchange and other cooperative programs with more than 50 law schools in over 20 countries. The Law School (pictured at left) is a modern, air-conditioned and technologically sophisticated facility.

Curriculum and Field Trips

McKinney School of Law students in China

Summer 2013 Study Abroad Students

In addition to its focus on the legal aspects of China's socialist market economy, the curriculum introduces students to the Chinese legal system, to its dispute resolution mechanisms, and to the lawyering system of China. To convey the formal structure of China's political system, the course of study also includes instruction on China's constitutional law. Since 2013, the curriculum includes classes on Chinese environmental law.

In 2014, the curriculum is expected to include the following subjects:

  • Overview of the Chinese Legal System
  • Lawyering System of China and Criminal Procedure Law
  • Constitutional Law of China
  • Intellectual Property Law of China
  • Environmental Law of China
  • Foreign Investment and Joint Ventures in China
  • Labor Law in China
  • Company Law of China
  • Contract Law of China
  • Arbitrating Disputes with Chinese Entities

In addition to classroom lectures and discussions, each student’s learning experience is enriched through a series of field trips to such destinations as:

  • National People's Congress
  • Supreme People's Court or Supreme People's Procuratorate
  • A People's Basic Court
  • Ministry of Commerce
  • Chinese International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission  or Beijing Arbitration Commission
  • A Prominent Chinese Law Firm

Instruction is in English and the course is graded. Most lectures are delivered on weekday mornings. Law-related field trips occur on one or two weekday afternoons per week. Cultural field trips occur on Saturdays. A final examination is administered and evaluated by the Indiana University Resident Professor at the end of the Program. Evaluation of student performance and the awarding of academic credit are the responsibility of Indiana University.  Course topics, sequence of courses, and field trip destinations are subject to final determination by Renmin University.

Sightseeing and Cultural Activities

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden (Imperial) City

The program includes memorable sightseeing excursions. Students will travel beyond Beijing for a day trip to the Great Wall of China. In Beijing students will visit Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world and the site of the Heroes Memorial and the Mao Zedong Mausoleum. Tiananmen Square is flanked on the east by the National Museum of History and on the west by the Great Hall of the People. To the north of the Square stands the main gate to the sprawling Forbidden (Imperial) City, where students will tour the classical buildings that were home to a succession of imperial dynasties. The sightseeing itinerary also includes the impressive grounds of the emperors' Summer Palace and the famous Temple of Heaven.

Students will have ample time during afternoons, evenings and weekends to explore Beijing, walk its streets, shop in its small markets and modern stores, and experience its active night life. Students may choose to travel to other cities in China or to other countries in the region.  Beijing’s modern subway system and the new, world-class Beijing South Railway Station make it easy to connect with other parts of China via high-speed trains.

Academic and CLE Credit

This program is fully accredited by the American Bar Association. Students can earn either two or five credit hours for successfully completing the program. Students should consult with their home law schools about transferability of credits.

Accommodations and Meals

food in China

Fried Starfish... yum

Accommodation is included in the Program Fee, explained below. Renmin University provides housing in a nearby hotel of at least 3-star quality. Each of the air conditioned rooms has a private bathroom and shower, a television, and a telephone. The rooms also have internet access.

Restaurants, a post office, convenience stores, athletic fields, basketball courts, and other amenities are located within the campus gates. There are also a large number of restaurants and shops around the Renmin University campus. Students can take meals at campus restaurants or sample local cuisine at neighborhood restaurants, which offer a wide variety of dishes in every price range. Additionally, western "fast food" restaurants can be found within easy walking distance of the university.

Program Fees/Cost

sightseeing in China

Climbing the Great Wall

Program fees for 2015 are TBD for the four week program or TBD for the two week program (plus any tuition charged by the student’s home school).

The Program Fee includes classroom instruction by Renmin University faculty, textbooks, health insurance, housing (double occupancy), field trips, and scheduled sightseeing activities.

Students are responsible for transportation to Beijing and for the cost of a visa. Single occupancy for housing is available for an additional charge. Tuition costs, if any, are determined by your academic institution.


Breakfast (traditional Chinese fare) is included in the Program Fee. Other meals are not included. Meals at local restaurants can be purchased for a few dollars per meal. The cost of meals obviously varies from student to student, depending on preferences.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Travel expenses outside organized events and miscellaneous expenses (such as laundry, telephone calls, gifts, and entertainment) are not included in the Program Fee.

Financial Aid

Students may choose to finance all or part of their expenses with student loans obtained through the financial aid offices of their home schools. Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law will provide supporting documents.

You may download an estimated Financial Aid Budget in PDF format and print it using Adobe® Reader®

Guest Travelers

Friends or family of participating students can apply to participate in program field trips at a rate of $25 per person/per event (subject to space on university busses). Hotel accommodations are available for guests at the same rate charged to participating students. The Program hotel requires two people to occupy a double occupancy room. It is not possible to share a single occupancy room. Contact the Program Coordinator for additional details.

Submit an Application

Applications are due by March 1st.

You may download an application in PDF format and print it using Adobe® Reader®. You should fill in the blanks on the application and submit to the Program Coordinator by e-mail.

Please submit applications to:

Richard Griffin 
Chinese Law Summer Program Coordinator
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
phone: 317-274-8008

March 1, 2014, is the application deadline. Each application must be accompanied by a $300 deposit and a letter from the Registrar or similar administrator at the applicant's law school certifying that the student is currently in good academic standing. These requirements apply equally to applicants for the four-week program and for the two-week program. The Program Coordinator will verify good standing for students who attend the IU McKinney School of Law. Non-law students should provide similar evidence of good academic standing with their school or department. Community participants should contact the Program Coordinator for further information. The application fee will be applied toward the Program Fee and is non-refundable unless the applicant is not accepted or the Program is cancelled. See Cancellation Policy below for more details.

Payment Procedure: Friday, May 9, 2014 is the deadline for full payment of the Program Fee.  Payment for both the deposit and the balance must be made by personal check. Please set-up an account at the link below. You must copy and paste the link in the URL Bar.

Check payments should be made out to, "Indiana University, IUPUI-14-18" and sent (along with a copy of the IU conferences registration confirmation) to:

Indiana University
IU Conferences
PO Box 6212
Indianapolis, IN 46206-6212 

In the memo section of your check write Chinese Law Summer Program

Due to the protocol involved in visiting high-level government offices, enrollment is limited. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Early application is advised.

Travel and Preparation

  • Travel and visa assistance is available from the Program Director, Professor Lloyd Wilson, and from the Program Coordinator, Richard Griffin, However, program participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements and for obtaining their own visas. The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law will provide participants with documents from Renmin University that will facilitate visa procurement.
  • Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the conclusion of your scheduled stay in China.
  • Participants may arrive at Renmin University as early as May 14, 2014 and may stay at the program hotel through check-out time on June 16 (June 2 for students in the two-week program). Accommodations during this period are included in the program fee.
  • Participants are encouraged to consult travel guides and/or other sources to inform themselves about life and culture in contemporary China.
  • Each participant should consider consulting with a physician well in advance of departure to determine whether immunizations or medications are recommended. Some immunizations must be begun many weeks before your departure date.

Neither Indiana University nor Renmin University will be responsible for personal injury, illness, or property damage or loss. Participants may wish to consider purchasing additional health insurance, insurance for lost or damaged luggage, and trip cancellation insurance.

For assistance, direct questions to:

Richard Griffin 
Chinese Law Summer Program Coordinator
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
phone: 317-274-8008

Cancellation or Alteration

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law may cancel or alter the program should circumstances warrant, including lack of sufficient enrollment. In the event of cancellation or significant alteration of the program, all fees and deposits will be refunded within 20 days, and applicants will be provided with information on other summer programs that may be of interest to the student. The director will use his best efforts to make arrangements for students to attend a similar program.

If an applicant cancels after the application has been accepted and the registration fee has been paid, no refunds of any payments will be made, except in cases of certifiable personal medical emergency or other extraordinary circumstances that make it unduly burdensome for the student to attend the program or if the U.S. State Department issues certain types of travel warnings.


International Forum Presentation Opportunities Available

Students participating in the 2014 Chinese Law Summer Program can apply to make a presentation at the 5th International Forum for Law Students.  The purpose of the Forum is to give law students an opportunity to investigate and engage a topic relating to legal education or the legal profession. In 2013, the theme of the conference was Law and Legal Education in International Contexts. Under the umbrella of this topic, students made presentations on diverse topics, including law student involvement in UN shadow reports, mental health and legal responsibility in the U.S. and China, law school clinics focused on international business incubators and transitional environmental issues, and domestic regulation of the practice of law by international lawyers. The theme for the 2014 Forum will be announced soon.

A significant expansion of the Forum began in 2013 and will continue in 2014.  In addition to students enrolled in the Program and Chinese students, the 4th Forum included law students from Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, and Taiwan.

» International Forum Application

Law Firm Internship Opportunities Available

Participants in the 2014 Chinese Law Summer Program can arrange for short-term internships with Chinese law firms. In 2013, internships were available at firms in Beijing, Qingdao, Nanjing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Internships last two weeks and begin immediately after the conclusion of the four-week program. The anticipated dates for 2014 are Monday, June 16, to Friday, June 27. These dates allow participants to complete an internship and still return to the U.S. in time to hold  jobs or clerkships during July and August. The internships are separate from the Program and are unpaid.  Students are responsible for living expenses associated with an internship. Host law firms located outside Beijing will provide suggestions for affordable and conveniently located housing. Due to scheduling and administrative issues, these internships  are available only for participants in the four-week program. The two-week program was created to meet the needs of students who cannot be away from family or a job longer than two weeks.

Knowledge of Chinese language is not required to obtain an internship. However, if an applicant has some knowledge of Chinese, that fact may open up additional opportunities. The great majority of interns in prior years spoke no Chinese.

If you are interested in an internship, please complete and submit the Internship Expression of Interest Form to the Program Coordinator at

Note: Internships with Chinese law firms are not part of the Program. The Program Director is familiar with each of the participating law firms and knows partners at each firm, but the Program Director's involvement is limited to facilitating communication between students and law firms. Participation in an internship is a private endeavor by each student.

Environmental Law Added to Curriculum in 2013

The condition of China's land, water, and air is a matter of prime importance to its 1.3 billion citizens and an important responsibility of China's leaders. China's environment is also a matter of great international interest as local behaviors have global repercussions. In this new module in the Program's curriculum, students will learn about China's environmental laws and policies.

Snapshot of Participants

Schools represented in the 2013 Chinese Summer Program:

  • U.S. law schools represented:
    • Ave Maria School of Law
    • Indiana University Maurer School of Law
    • Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
    • University of Minnesota Law School
    • University of Oklahoma Law School
  • Non-U.S. law schools represented
    • University of Ottawa Law School, Canada
    • University of New Brunswick Law School, Canada
    • Faculdades Integradas Espirito Santenses, Brazil
    • Providence University, Taiwan

Schools represented in the 2012 Chinese Summer Program:

  • U.S. law schools represented:
    • Boston College Law School
    • Case Western Reserve University School of Law
    • Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
    • University of Minnesota Law School
    • University of Oklahoma Law School
    • University of Tennessee College of Law
    • University of Wisconsin Law School
    • Widener University School of Law
  • Non-U.S. law schools represented
    • Santo Tomas University Faculty of Civil Law, Manila, Philippines

Renmin University Professors

Renmin University of China Law School Professors Expected to Teach in the 2014 Chinese Law Summer Program:

Zhu Jingwen Overview of the Chinese Legal Systems
He Jiahong Lawyering System and Criminal Procedure Law in China
Zhu Jingwen Constitutional Law of China
Wang Chunyan Intellectual Property Law of China
Zhu Xiao Environmental Law of China
Zhao Xiuwen Foreign Investment and Joint Ventures in China
Lu Haina Labor Law in China
Liu Junhai Company Law of China
Zhu Yan Contract Law of China
Zhao Xiuwen Arbitrating Disputes with Chinese Entities

Other Information

Quotes from Previous Program Participants:

“The program was a fantastic success. The information presented was timely and well prepared. The level of proficiency in English demonstrated by the professors and staff was extraordinary.”

“The program was great. Not only did I learn a great deal, but I had a lot of fun.”

“The Program exceeded my expectations.”

“I would certainly recommend the Program to others. It has been a great and certainly valuable experience.”

General Information From and About China


China Studies

China (News)