Harvard or Cambridge or Columbia?


Louis Litt
Thank you very much! Your comments are very helpful. My goal is to work for an international organization or the German government in the future. My plan is to select classes in general PIL, international humanitarian law and human rights, on the one side, and classes in international economic law/WTO law and international dispute settlement, on the other side.


So you are a generalist and has no specific focus. I think that I this case you should pay more attention to the prestige, both international and local (especially taking into account and you plan to work for government). If money is not an issue (Cambridge will be significantly cheaper than any top US school), I would recommend to limit your choice to the US law schools. Why? Cambridge has 7 international law courses, and you will have to choose only 4 (also there is no course on dispute resolution and general PIL):
(1) International Criminal Law;
(2) International Human Rights Law;
(3) International Investment Law;
(4) International Law of Global Governance;
(5) International Intellectual Property Law;
(6) Law of Armed Conflict, Use of Force and Peacekeeping;
(7) The Law of the World Trade Organization.

But Harvard/Columbia/NYU will give you an opportunity to take a lot of courses. To choose between them you will have to prioritize you interests as all three schools have general PIL courses, but their offering of more specific ones is different.

NYU is good in international dispute resolution and trade law, but its human rights courses are mostly clinics or related to specific fields (health, business, environment, etc. I could not find any general HR course) and it lacks meaningful courses on IHL, except for the general one. In my opinion NYU seems to be more geared toward "commercial" international law. Also despite being named as the top law school for international law (this is USA national ranking and NYU may have different perception in other countries), NYU general ranking is not great (6th) and certainly short of Harvard or Columbia.

Columbia may be the best choice, as they have the most diverse offering among three schools (as classes on Brexit or Russia in global legal order). They have international dispute resolution, general PIL, law of war, WTO and many other diverse courses. Also they have UN externships (both office and filedwork) that may be a good opportunity for you. Columbia has better general reputation than NYU, equal reputation in the filed of international law and is part of Ivy League (although it is largely unimportant for law schools and especially for foreign students who will leave USA after graduation). It seems to have the most balanced course offering.
On the downside the total number of offering is not large, they list only 62 courses in its international law section, compared with 110 for NYU and 102 for Harvard, but all such courses are unique, while many (and I think roughly 30%) courses in NYU and in Harvard are just doubles (with different professor, time, JD/LLM, writing credit, etc). And of course it lacks the radiant splendor of Harvard general reputation.

Harvard has classes in all designated fields, except for WTO/trade law, and seems to be more geared toward general PIL\war\HR law\political, than NYU and Columbia. It also has some special hot issues courses like counterterrorism and civil war in international law. But its offering on economic international law is limited. And of course Harvard is Harvard. It possess unrivaled international reputation. On the downside it has never be named as top law school for international law and is usually placed on 2nd or 3rd place.

Yale has worst course offering for international law, and under current offering general PIL is available only in spring semester. It has a very small class and therefore it hard to be admitted, especially taking into account that they like current/future academics and do not like practitioners.

I would recommend you to browse through course offerings of these universities to determine what you are willing to scarifies (WTO law for more "political" international law courses in Harvard, or to concentrate more on "commercial side" in NYU, to have balance curriculum in Columbia, but without some hot topic classes), as no university presents all courses that you are willing to attend.
Moreover when reviewing faculty members pay attention whether they are actually teaching, as some renowned academics do not teach at all being busy with their scholarships.
Also pay attention to the timing of the courses, sometimes two courses may be in the same timeslot, and you will have to drop one of them (that will further limit the number of available interesting courses).

In the end I would recommend not to pay great attention to rankings, as in 5 years they will be different, but you will still, have the same university in your CV. Your choice always will be a compromise between general reputation (long term)/subject reputation (short term)/course offering. What tradeoff between them is acceptable? it is only up to you to decide.
[quote]Thank you very much! Your comments are very helpful. My goal is to work for an international organization or the German government in the future. My plan is to select classes in general PIL, international humanitarian law and human rights, on the one side, and classes in international economic law/WTO law and international dispute settlement, on the other side. [/quote]

So you are a generalist and has no specific focus. I think that I this case you should pay more attention to the prestige, both international and local (especially taking into account and you plan to work for government). If money is not an issue (Cambridge will be significantly cheaper than any top US school), I would recommend to limit your choice to the US law schools. Why? Cambridge has 7 international law courses, and you will have to choose only 4 (also there is no course on dispute resolution and general PIL):
(1) International Criminal Law;
(2) International Human Rights Law;
(3) International Investment Law;
(4) International Law of Global Governance;
(5) International Intellectual Property Law;
(6) Law of Armed Conflict, Use of Force and Peacekeeping;
(7) The Law of the World Trade Organization.

But Harvard/Columbia/NYU will give you an opportunity to take a lot of courses. To choose between them you will have to prioritize you interests as all three schools have general PIL courses, but their offering of more specific ones is different.

NYU is good in international dispute resolution and trade law, but its human rights courses are mostly clinics or related to specific fields (health, business, environment, etc. I could not find any general HR course) and it lacks meaningful courses on IHL, except for the general one. In my opinion NYU seems to be more geared toward "commercial" international law. Also despite being named as the top law school for international law (this is USA national ranking and NYU may have different perception in other countries), NYU general ranking is not great (6th) and certainly short of Harvard or Columbia.

Columbia may be the best choice, as they have the most diverse offering among three schools (as classes on Brexit or Russia in global legal order). They have international dispute resolution, general PIL, law of war, WTO and many other diverse courses. Also they have UN externships (both office and filedwork) that may be a good opportunity for you. Columbia has better general reputation than NYU, equal reputation in the filed of international law and is part of Ivy League (although it is largely unimportant for law schools and especially for foreign students who will leave USA after graduation). It seems to have the most balanced course offering.
On the downside the total number of offering is not large, they list only 62 courses in its international law section, compared with 110 for NYU and 102 for Harvard, but all such courses are unique, while many (and I think roughly 30%) courses in NYU and in Harvard are just doubles (with different professor, time, JD/LLM, writing credit, etc). And of course it lacks the radiant splendor of Harvard general reputation.

Harvard has classes in all designated fields, except for WTO/trade law, and seems to be more geared toward general PIL\war\HR law\political, than NYU and Columbia. It also has some special hot issues courses like counterterrorism and civil war in international law. But its offering on economic international law is limited. And of course Harvard is Harvard. It possess unrivaled international reputation. On the downside it has never be named as top law school for international law and is usually placed on 2nd or 3rd place.

Yale has worst course offering for international law, and under current offering general PIL is available only in spring semester. It has a very small class and therefore it hard to be admitted, especially taking into account that they like current/future academics and do not like practitioners.

I would recommend you to browse through course offerings of these universities to determine what you are willing to scarifies (WTO law for more "political" international law courses in Harvard, or to concentrate more on "commercial side" in NYU, to have balance curriculum in Columbia, but without some hot topic classes), as no university presents all courses that you are willing to attend.
Moreover when reviewing faculty members pay attention whether they are actually teaching, as some renowned academics do not teach at all being busy with their scholarships.
Also pay attention to the timing of the courses, sometimes two courses may be in the same timeslot, and you will have to drop one of them (that will further limit the number of available interesting courses).

In the end I would recommend not to pay great attention to rankings, as in 5 years they will be different, but you will still, have the same university in your CV. Your choice always will be a compromise between general reputation (long term)/subject reputation (short term)/course offering. What tradeoff between them is acceptable? it is only up to you to decide.
quote
Have you heard from Cambridge yet?
Have you heard from Cambridge yet?
quote
Harvey Spe...
Great summary. As a current Harvard LLM I can confirm the Harvard part.

Thank you very much! Your comments are very helpful. My goal is to work for an international organization or the German government in the future. My plan is to select classes in general PIL, international humanitarian law and human rights, on the one side, and classes in international economic law/WTO law and international dispute settlement, on the other side.


So you are a generalist and has no specific focus. I think that I this case you should pay more attention to the prestige, both international and local (especially taking into account and you plan to work for government). If money is not an issue (Cambridge will be significantly cheaper than any top US school), I would recommend to limit your choice to the US law schools. Why? Cambridge has 7 international law courses, and you will have to choose only 4 (also there is no course on dispute resolution and general PIL):
(1) International Criminal Law;
(2) International Human Rights Law;
(3) International Investment Law;
(4) International Law of Global Governance;
(5) International Intellectual Property Law;
(6) Law of Armed Conflict, Use of Force and Peacekeeping;
(7) The Law of the World Trade Organization.

But Harvard/Columbia/NYU will give you an opportunity to take a lot of courses. To choose between them you will have to prioritize you interests as all three schools have general PIL courses, but their offering of more specific ones is different.

NYU is good in international dispute resolution and trade law, but its human rights courses are mostly clinics or related to specific fields (health, business, environment, etc. I could not find any general HR course) and it lacks meaningful courses on IHL, except for the general one. In my opinion NYU seems to be more geared toward "commercial" international law. Also despite being named as the top law school for international law (this is USA national ranking and NYU may have different perception in other countries), NYU general ranking is not great (6th) and certainly short of Harvard or Columbia.

Columbia may be the best choice, as they have the most diverse offering among three schools (as classes on Brexit or Russia in global legal order). They have international dispute resolution, general PIL, law of war, WTO and many other diverse courses. Also they have UN externships (both office and filedwork) that may be a good opportunity for you. Columbia has better general reputation than NYU, equal reputation in the filed of international law and is part of Ivy League (although it is largely unimportant for law schools and especially for foreign students who will leave USA after graduation). It seems to have the most balanced course offering.
On the downside the total number of offering is not large, they list only 62 courses in its international law section, compared with 110 for NYU and 102 for Harvard, but all such courses are unique, while many (and I think roughly 30%) courses in NYU and in Harvard are just doubles (with different professor, time, JD/LLM, writing credit, etc). And of course it lacks the radiant splendor of Harvard general reputation.

Harvard has classes in all designated fields, except for WTO/trade law, and seems to be more geared toward general PIL\war\HR law\political, than NYU and Columbia. It also has some special hot issues courses like counterterrorism and civil war in international law. But its offering on economic international law is limited. And of course Harvard is Harvard. It possess unrivaled international reputation. On the downside it has never be named as top law school for international law and is usually placed on 2nd or 3rd place.

Yale has worst course offering for international law, and under current offering general PIL is available only in spring semester. It has a very small class and therefore it hard to be admitted, especially taking into account that they like current/future academics and do not like practitioners.

I would recommend you to browse through course offerings of these universities to determine what you are willing to scarifies (WTO law for more "political" international law courses in Harvard, or to concentrate more on "commercial side" in NYU, to have balance curriculum in Columbia, but without some hot topic classes), as no university presents all courses that you are willing to attend.
Moreover when reviewing faculty members pay attention whether they are actually teaching, as some renowned academics do not teach at all being busy with their scholarships.
Also pay attention to the timing of the courses, sometimes two courses may be in the same timeslot, and you will have to drop one of them (that will further limit the number of available interesting courses).

In the end I would recommend not to pay great attention to rankings, as in 5 years they will be different, but you will still, have the same university in your CV. Your choice always will be a compromise between general reputation (long term)/subject reputation (short term)/course offering. What tradeoff between them is acceptable? it is only up to you to decide.
Great summary. As a current Harvard LLM I can confirm the Harvard part.

[quote][quote]Thank you very much! Your comments are very helpful. My goal is to work for an international organization or the German government in the future. My plan is to select classes in general PIL, international humanitarian law and human rights, on the one side, and classes in international economic law/WTO law and international dispute settlement, on the other side. [/quote]

So you are a generalist and has no specific focus. I think that I this case you should pay more attention to the prestige, both international and local (especially taking into account and you plan to work for government). If money is not an issue (Cambridge will be significantly cheaper than any top US school), I would recommend to limit your choice to the US law schools. Why? Cambridge has 7 international law courses, and you will have to choose only 4 (also there is no course on dispute resolution and general PIL):
(1) International Criminal Law;
(2) International Human Rights Law;
(3) International Investment Law;
(4) International Law of Global Governance;
(5) International Intellectual Property Law;
(6) Law of Armed Conflict, Use of Force and Peacekeeping;
(7) The Law of the World Trade Organization.

But Harvard/Columbia/NYU will give you an opportunity to take a lot of courses. To choose between them you will have to prioritize you interests as all three schools have general PIL courses, but their offering of more specific ones is different.

NYU is good in international dispute resolution and trade law, but its human rights courses are mostly clinics or related to specific fields (health, business, environment, etc. I could not find any general HR course) and it lacks meaningful courses on IHL, except for the general one. In my opinion NYU seems to be more geared toward "commercial" international law. Also despite being named as the top law school for international law (this is USA national ranking and NYU may have different perception in other countries), NYU general ranking is not great (6th) and certainly short of Harvard or Columbia.

Columbia may be the best choice, as they have the most diverse offering among three schools (as classes on Brexit or Russia in global legal order). They have international dispute resolution, general PIL, law of war, WTO and many other diverse courses. Also they have UN externships (both office and filedwork) that may be a good opportunity for you. Columbia has better general reputation than NYU, equal reputation in the filed of international law and is part of Ivy League (although it is largely unimportant for law schools and especially for foreign students who will leave USA after graduation). It seems to have the most balanced course offering.
On the downside the total number of offering is not large, they list only 62 courses in its international law section, compared with 110 for NYU and 102 for Harvard, but all such courses are unique, while many (and I think roughly 30%) courses in NYU and in Harvard are just doubles (with different professor, time, JD/LLM, writing credit, etc). And of course it lacks the radiant splendor of Harvard general reputation.

Harvard has classes in all designated fields, except for WTO/trade law, and seems to be more geared toward general PIL\war\HR law\political, than NYU and Columbia. It also has some special hot issues courses like counterterrorism and civil war in international law. But its offering on economic international law is limited. And of course Harvard is Harvard. It possess unrivaled international reputation. On the downside it has never be named as top law school for international law and is usually placed on 2nd or 3rd place.

Yale has worst course offering for international law, and under current offering general PIL is available only in spring semester. It has a very small class and therefore it hard to be admitted, especially taking into account that they like current/future academics and do not like practitioners.

I would recommend you to browse through course offerings of these universities to determine what you are willing to scarifies (WTO law for more "political" international law courses in Harvard, or to concentrate more on "commercial side" in NYU, to have balance curriculum in Columbia, but without some hot topic classes), as no university presents all courses that you are willing to attend.
Moreover when reviewing faculty members pay attention whether they are actually teaching, as some renowned academics do not teach at all being busy with their scholarships.
Also pay attention to the timing of the courses, sometimes two courses may be in the same timeslot, and you will have to drop one of them (that will further limit the number of available interesting courses).

In the end I would recommend not to pay great attention to rankings, as in 5 years they will be different, but you will still, have the same university in your CV. Your choice always will be a compromise between general reputation (long term)/subject reputation (short term)/course offering. What tradeoff between them is acceptable? it is only up to you to decide. [/quote]
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