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Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE): Mexico City, Mexico

CIDE, Mexico’s leading research and law school and one of Mexico’s most important centers for research and teaching in the social sciences, is recognized both nationally and internationally for its scholarship and professional achievement. CIDE welcomes NACLE exchange students’ applications for research fellowships as they study a semester at CIDE Law School.

CIDE Law School is an innovative leader in reforming research and teaching of law in Mexico. Its principal objective is to train future lawyers as competent problem-solvers and responsible leader in the professional community. To change the way normative law is taught, CIDE’s Law School, with support from Stanford University Law School and Diego Portales Law School at Chile, has developed new teaching materials and techniques.

CIDE is fully committed to contributing to the development of Mexico through its demanding academic programs, rigorous and relevant research projects, as well as groundbreaking educational initiatives, which includes the Public Interest Litigation Clinic and Center of Mediation and Conflict Resolution.

CIDE’s BA in Law (please note that, in Mexico, law is studied at the undergraduate BA level) is a one-of-a-kind academic program based on teaching through the analysis of judicial cases and problems. It is the only program in Mexico to have received the international prize Problem Solving in the Law School (CPR 2004, New York). The program features an interdisciplinary vision and emphasizes the development of abilities for critical argumentation and the use of quantitative and qualitative methods as analytic tools for juridical phenomena. The faculty is comprised of full time professor-researchers and professors who perform their activities in the public and private sectors, which guarantees an excellent balance between theory and practice. The students are professionally trained through classes, exercises, homework, research projects, professional practice, and continuous participation in workshops, seminars, and conferences.

CIDE’s exchange program for law students includes the opportunity to take courses at CIDE in either Fall or Spring semesters. CIDE also permits exchange students to study at CIDE for one academic year (two semesters). Exchange students can engage in research relevant to their academic interests, after obtaining the approval of a CIDE faculty member who will supervise the research agenda a student wishes to pursue. They can also join the Public Interest Litigation Clinic and Center of Mediation and Conflict Resolution, as a means to acquire first-hand experience on the practice of the legal profession in Mexico.

Specialties & Programs

The faculty of CIDE Law School is committed to pedagogical innovation in teaching law, and this dedication has had positive results.

“This is the only program in Mexico which has received an international award for its pedagogical innovation,” said Alejandro Posadas, Faculty Representative (“Problem-Solving in the Law School” CPR 2004, New York). It is the only school outside of the United States of America that has received this recognition. The reason? A program of study which gathers together the best methods for teaching law. The nine-semester undergraduate law program covers the following thematic blocks:

Legal Core: Designed to give students a solid background in positive law and to prepare students to work in diverse areas, this block includes courses in civil, commercial, criminal, constitutional, tax, labor, international, and administrative law and litigation.

Critical Reasoning and Argumentation: To help students develop skills in critical analysis, independent thinking, logic, and the elaboration of arguments, this block involves courses in the interpretation and argumentation of law, logic, and the analysis of norms.

Interdisciplinary Tools: To allow students to draw on the knowledge of related disciplines, and their methodologies, the program includes courses in areas such as sociology, economics, finance, and political science applied to legal problems.

Skills Development: Putting acquired knowledge into practice is a focus of all our courses, but the program also includes courses that focus directly on strengthening oral and written expression, negotiation, and mediation skills.

Public Interest and Professional Standards: The Law School at CIDE puts special emphasis on understanding Mexico’s social problems and working for the public interest. In addition to professional practices that introduce students to the day-to-day working world of law, CIDE sponsors collaborate with the public interest clinic and allows the students to litigate real cases in court under the supervision of a trained professor.

As part of the clinic program, when studying law at CIDE, students have the opportunity to complete internships in the Oficina de Defensoría de los Derechos de la Infancia, ODI A.C ., by doing research in support of the labor of the office. This organization takes cases of violation of children’s rights and provides victims with legal services. Its work helps to establish jurisprudence supporting children and youths to promote a culture in defense of human rights.

Research at CIDE, Opportunities for Students: CIDE is a leader in empirical and applied social science and law research center in Mexico. The CIDE Law Faculty is committed to a Law research agenda described generally as “Law in Action”. This means conducting a type of research focused on how legal institutions operate in reality and to produce knowledge and public policy proposals to improve the working of Mexican legal institutions. This is also an innovative legal research agenda as traditional research in the area has devoted mainly to the study of the legal system in paper and to doctrinal analysis of the Law. CIDE has conducted extensive research on the working of the criminal law system, the summary commercial judicial proceedings, and is now conducting research on the family law process and the alternative mediation for family legal conflicts. For example CIDE has produced the first documentary on the local Mexico City criminal justice system told by its actors and relying on empirical research produced mainly in CIDE about the system. Other research topics include corruption, transparency, international arbitration, judges, the writing and quality of arguments in judicial decisions, among others. There are ample opportunities to participate and discuss research with Faculty as a student at CIDE and we welcome NACLE exchange students’ applications for research fellowships as they study a semester at CIDE Law School.

Academic Calendar

Semesters at CIDE are comprised of 16 weeks of classes and 2 weeks of final exams. Spring semester runs through early February to mid-June, with a one week break in March or April (the week before Easter). Fall semester runes through mid-August to mid-December.

Language of Instruction

All our courses are taught in Spanish. In order to be admitted, foreign students, whose native language is not Spanish, mush at least have a level of proficiency equivalent to B2 in the Common European Framework of Reference. It should be noted that some academic materials used in our courses -such as books, academic papers and journals, are in English.

Eligible Courses

Exchange students are eligible to enroll in all of the courses in our program in Law. It is also possible to take courses from other programs at CIDE, but this must be approved by the Office of the BA in Law. Students considering this option will be asked to submit their academic reasons for taking a course outside the Law program.

Academic requirements for admission to the exchange program

Postgraduate students must have completed one year of postgraduate studies; undergraduate students must have completed two years of undergraduate studies.

Standard course loads

Most of our courses involve 3 hours of class per week, usually divided into two 90-minute sessions that meet twice per the week. Exceptionally, some courses are taught in a single weekly session. Occasionally, courses involve 4 hours of class per week, or require one to two hours per week of laboratory for practice of the theoretical skills developed in class.

CIDE Law students are expected to take five or six courses per semester. Exchange students are expected to take four to five courses per semester, depending on the sending university’s requirements. However, they can register for more courses at the beginning of the term and make a final selection of their four or five courses after one week of classes.

Course enrollment and registration

Students will pre-register after their application has been accepted and confirmed by the Office of International Academic Affairs at CIDE. During the first week of classes, the students will be able to add or drop courses according to their interest. Registration will be considered definitive after one week of classes, subject to the approval of the number of courses taken, as explained above.

Grading system

In all of our courses, the student will receive a partial grade that will be announced by the mid-point of the academic semester. The final grade is assigned after final exams are taken and/or papers are submitted during the final exams period (two weeks after the last day of classes). The final grade is the exclusive responsibility of the professor(s) teaching the course. Grades are not assigned on a curve. CIDE’s grading system is 0-10, with a minimum passing grade of 6.0.

The application procedure

To apply, prospective exchange students must submit the following documents:

  • Application form
  • Letter of recommendation, written and signed or sealed by the International Exchange, International Affairs, or equivalent office at the sending university
  • Official report of Spanish language level (for non-native speakers)
  • Copy or electronic scan of the applicant’s passport
  • 2 passport size photographs

Once these documents are received by CIDE’s Office of International Academic Affairs, prospective exchange students must complete the immigration procedures required by the Government of Mexico (see Section n below).

Application deadlines

Fall semester applicants must send their application forms by May 15. Spring semester applicants must send their application forms by October 15.


Incoming exchange students will pay their normal tuition fees at their institution of origin, and will be exempt from any tuition fees at CIDE.

Life in Mexico City

Why Should You Study in Mexico City?

CIDE is in vibrant, lively Mexico City, also known as Distrito Federal, Mexico’s capital. Mexico City boasts many different backgrounds and lifestyles and many things to see and do. One hundred museums and 50 galleries call Mexico City home. Some of the most important include: the National Museum of Anthropology and History, the Museum of Modern Art, the Palace of Fine Arts, a combination of gallery and opera house, the National Museum of Art, and San Ildefonso College. Additionally, many archaeological ruins are in and around Mexico City including the Templo Mayor in the city’s downtown, and Teotihuacan, a short bus ride away. Mexico City is well communicated with the rest of the country and there are a number of interesting sites around to visit.

There are entertainment options for all tastes and budgets. Nightlife in the DF is definitely lively. There are many bars, discos, and concert venues where you can have a great time. The stars of the moment, both national and international, play at two of the cities most important concert venues: the Auditorio Nacional and the Foro Sol. There a number of areas, like Insurgentes Sur, Polanco, the Zona Rosa, Coyoacan and la Condesa where you’ll find a full range of places, from tranquil coffee shops to popular bars and discos, to relax with friends. There are also plant-filled oases of calm like Chapultepec park, Xochimilco, and the Viveros where you can take a quiet walk.

While you’ll find all the accoutrements of a modern city, you’ll also find many traditions. On Independence Day join in the celebrations, watch the fireworks, and try traditional foods like tostadas, tacos, tamales, or pozole. In the first days of November, Mexican families celebrate the Day of the Dead by preparing offerings for their dead relatives. These offerings, adorned with cempazuchitl flowers, Mexican food, the delicious Bread of the Dead and symbolic paper cutouts can be truly impressive. Holy Week, or Semana Santa, is another period in which those of the Catholic faith commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ in various ways, including by eating only white meat. In December, it is Mexican’s patron saint, the Virgin of Guadalupe, who is celebrated by the faithful — many of whom undertake long pilgrimages to the Basilica of Guadalupe to express their devotion. Each of these traditions –secular, religious, or syncretic– is filled with the contagious joy and celebration of the city’s inhabitants.

In addition to rigorous programs, CIDE offers different extracurricular activities like pilates, jazz, spinning, yoga, Tae Bo, chess, ballroom dancing, a movie club, debate club, soccer, basketball and volleyball tournaments. There is also a great city to explore. As one of the leading social science and law research centers in Mexico, CIDE hosts a number of conferences every semester by leading authorities from Mexico and abroad.

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