Academic Scholars Program

The Academic Scholars Program identifies and provides academic and financial support for J.D. candidates with strong potential and ambition to become law professors.

PI/PS Fellows sit a long table at event featuring guest James Comey.

About the Program

Columbia Law School Academic Scholars are able to take advantage of both academic and financial support offered through the Program. Academic support includes mentorship by a member of the faculty and support in entering Ph.D. studies, if that will advance the Scholar’s career. The financial award includes research support and, for two Scholars each year, tuition support. The Program welcomes applications from admitted students as well as from current J.D. candidates. Students can be admitted after accepting an offer of admission and at any time during their J.D. studies. Up to ten Scholars will be part of the Program at any given time. Consistent with the Law School's commitment to diversity, equity, and anti-racism, the Program will strive to support the academic careers of students from a wide array of backgrounds, including students from traditionally underrepresented groups.

Academic Support

Upon admission to the Program, each Scholar will be assigned a faculty mentor. The mentor will help prepare the Scholar for an academic career. The mentor will also work with the Columbians in Teaching Committee to (a) determine whether the Scholar should be encouraged to pursue a Ph.D. program and, if so, (b) work with the relevant Columbia unit to facilitate admission to its Ph.D. program. Students who have already earned a Ph.D., or are in the process of completing one, are encouraged to apply. 

During 2L and 3L years, Scholars will:

  • Participate in a year-long seminar focused on producing a research portfolio.
  • Be allowed to take up to 6 credits of supervised research per year (not more than 3 per semester)

Financial Support

Every Scholar will receive a $2,000 award for each year in the Program. Additionally, up to two incoming 1L Academic Scholars per year will receive merit scholarships in an amount that, when added to the recipient’s aggregate grants, if any, totals the annual half tuition. In addition, the recipient will receive loans up to the full cost of attendance, which, subject to certain requirements, may be eligible for forgiveness.

How to Apply

The Program accepts applications from admitted students as well as currently-enrolled J.D. candidates. Students may apply to the Program at any point during their J.D. studies and may apply multiple times. Students should submit their application materials to Zoë Attridge, Attn: Academic Scholars Program Application. 

Application materials should include:

  • Undergraduate transcript and, if applicable, law school transcript
  • Resume
  • Copies of any publications
  • Personal statement describing research interests
  • Names of potential faculty mentors at Columbia Law School

Applications should be sent to: Zoë Attridge at [email protected], Attn: Academic Scholars Program Application

Application Deadlines

  • Admitted Students: April 9, 2022
  • Current Students: August 16, 2021—DEADLINE EXTENDED to August 27, 2021

Decision Notification

  • Admitted Students: Rolling Notices, beginning on or before April 19, 2022
  • Current Students: Beginning of September 2021

Acceptance Deadlines

  • Admitted Students: No later than 72 hours following the notice*
  • Current Students: No later than 72 hours following notice

*Admitted students must enroll at Columbia by submitting a deposit at the time they accept the offer.