American University Washington College of Law

Washington College of Law (WCL) is the law school of American University. It was established in 1896 by Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma Gillett in response to a lack of legal educational opportunities for women. Its guiding values are equality, diversity and intellectual rigour.

Academic highlights

WCL is highly rated and well known for its programs in experiential learning (clinics and externships), international law, law and government, intellectual property, business, and gender. It is also renowned for its strength in human rights and public interest law.


Students at the WCL study in Washington DC, the city at the heart of American law and politics. It is located in a six-storey building on Massachusetts Avenue in the Spring Valley neighbourhood in Washington DC’s north-west.

Did you know?

WCL was the first law school in the United States founded by women, to graduate an all-female class and to employ a female dean. It has always been co-educational but was specifically open to women.

Monash students enrolled in JD or Masters programs have the option of spending one semester at WCL, and may study in any of their residential LL.M. programs. Semester exchange students are automatically enrolled in the International Legal Studies Program.

You can select units from either the International Legal Studies curriculum or the curriculum of their other residential LLM programs.


As an exchange student, you cannot enrol in online units, clinical units and certain first year law units.

Disciplines available

Legal studies
  • The listed disciplines are not necessarily exhaustive and other fields of study might also be available at the university.
  • Approval to study particular subjects at any institution is always at the discretion of the departmental/discipline and faculty advisers in your managing faculty(ies) and subject to available places at the host campus

See the WCL's unit catalogue here.

If you cannot find any unit guides after having done your own research, you can follow the process as outlined here.

Exchange students usually take between 8-13 credits which is 3-5 courses.

Exchange students are required to register for a minimum of 8 credits and a maximum of 15 credits during their semester at WCL. A normal course load is usually 12 credits (about 4 classes).

Full time equivalents

  Semester Year
  Minimum 18 Monash Points Maximum 24 Monash points Minimum 36 Monash points Maximum 48 Monash points
Standard 8 WCL credits 12 WCL credits 16 WCL credits 24 WCL credits

Exchange program terms

WCL 'Spring' Semester (Monash semester 1): early January – early May 
WCL 'Fall' Semester (Monash semester 2): mid-August – mid-December

See WCL's academic calendar here.


American University does not provide housing to graduate students, but the program offers many resources to help find housing, including a housing guide and an admitted student discussion board to find housing with roommates. The international office will send out thorough housing information in their pre-arrival and orientation packet to assist you in your housing search.

WCL offers advice on accommodation here.


International exchange students studying in the U.S. must obtain the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s visa before you leave your home country. The application process requires a personal interview at the Consulate.

Monash Abroad can only provide general information - always check with the relevant consular/Embassy and consider advice that is right for you.

For more information on visas, please refer to the the U.S. Embassy & Consulates here

WCL also provide some advice on visas, which can be found here.

Health and insurance

When travelling on a Monash Abroad approved program, you are automatically covered under the Monash University Student Travel Insurance policy.

Orientation and extra-curricular 

The WCL Office of Student Affairs offers comprehensive support for the law student community and provides the first stop for students with any questions or concerns. Find out more here.


Tuition fees for this program are waived by the host institution. While on exchange you remain enrolled at Monash and continue to pay fees to Monash University. Find out more here.

Cost of living

One semester abroad will generally cost you approximately AUD$10,000 – $15,000, however this varies depending on destination and your individual living standards.

Monash funding

Find out about Monash Abroad Travel Scholarships here.

Find out about Monash University Travel and Placement Scholarships here.

Australian government funding

Find out about the Overseas Higher Education Loan Program (OS-HELP) here.

Have you been to WCL and want to share your experience? 
Let us know about your exchange via this survey form and your testimonial could be shown here!

American University Washington College of Law

  • Program type: Semester exchange
  • Location:
    • Washington, DC
  • Program periods: Semester 1, Semester 2
  • Study level: Undergraduate and Postgraduate

Find out more