To overcome the world’s challenges—violence, infringements of human rights, environmental destruction, poverty and hunger—rule of law is essential. Rule of law is also essential to supporting commerce, attracting investment, and achieving sustainable economic growth.

The Master of Laws (LLM) in Rule of Law for Development (PROLAW) is a practice-oriented degree program for law graduates and lawyers. You will receive the advanced training and skills you need to inspire, lead, and manage efforts to strengthen both the rule of law and prospects for national development in your country and geographical region.

Our commitment to you

Upon graduation with an LLM in Rule of Law for Development from Loyola, you will possess the following knowledge, skills, and professional values:


You will comprehend how the rule of law develops in society and the role and practices of domestic and international institutions in establishing and maintaining the rule of law. You will be able to describe legal methods and concepts employed when carrying out rule of law initiatives. You will also comprehend the current frameworks for sustainable development, the environment and the rule of law, and the dynamic relationship between models of governance and the rule of law.


    You will be able to:
  • Conduct research on rule of law and development topics and carry out assessments of rule of law problems
  • Draft documents relating to rule of law and development
  • Develop a conceptual framework or theory of change to create optimal sequencing of legal reform for development
  • Support the implementation of rule of law initiatives which take into account varied legal cultures and systems
  • Guide rule of law initiatives and economic activity that are consistent with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals
  • Develop and manage rule of law programs, projects and national initiatives that employ appropriate methods and project management tools
  • Prepare funding proposals for rule of law projects
  • Advise on how applicable institutional and legal frameworks facilitate or place limitations on rule of law initiatives
  • Devise and apply strategies for effective international and inter-organizational engagement and cooperation for rule of law and governance development in conflict prevention, reducing state instability, and peacebuilding

Professional Values

You will be able to inspire, lead, and manage efforts to strengthen the rule of law and prospects for national development, considering the interests of all stakeholders, incorporating diverse viewpoints, being willing to accept iterative progress, and respecting equality and human rights.

By the numbers








You can complete this 27 credit LLM degree in one academic year, or over two years. This blended virtual and in-person degree includes both online study and a term at our Loyola Rome Center campus in Italy. There is one annual program intake each year, in the fall.

The curriculum combines theory with practice in the course work, allowing you to gain both the knowledge of key topics and issues, and the skills all rule of law professionals need to work effectively on rule of law and development matters. Your courses will be taught by experienced practitioners who have multijurisdictional experience in supporting national initiatives aimed at improving the rule of law.

Fall Term

  • History, Theory and Practice of Law for Development
  • Research and Writing on the Rule of Law
  • Principles of International Economic Law
  • Comparative and Ethical Lawyering for the Rule of Law

Spring Term

  • International Development Architecture
  • Theory and Practice of Assessments in Rule of Law Advising
  • Design of Rule of Law Programs and Proposal Preparation
  • Rule of Law Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Rule of Law in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding

Summer Term

  • Rule of Law Capstone Project

The curriculum is supported by the PROLAW Visiting Lecturer Series with prominent rule of law professionals.

Degree Requirements

To earn a PROLAW LLM, you must complete 27 credit hours of coursework, including nine courses and a major rule of law capstone project, while maintaining the GPA requirement. Visit our Registrar for a complete list of degree requirements, academic calendars, and registration process.


To apply to the program, you must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university or the international equivalent as well as a primary law degree. Additionally, you should demonstrate an interest or experience in rule of law and governance matters through past work or volunteer experience.

AUGUST 1: Application deadline, fall enrollment only


Fighting for the rule of law

Fighting for the rule of law

Buhlebenkosi Nxumalo (LLM ’16) works to put people at the center of land governance

Read More

Building blocks for a policy and advocacy career

Building blocks for a policy and advocacy career

David Saldivar (LLM ’13) is leading policy and advocacy efforts on closing civic space for Oxfam in the United States

Read More

Strengthening the rule of law

Strengthening the rule of law

Loyola PROLAW grads in Ukraine work to make real change

Read More

Tuition and Fees

The School of Law and Loyola's Office of Student Financial Assistance are committed to helping students secure the necessary financial resources to make their legal education at Loyola affordable.

As part of our commitment, we offer several awards to qualified, admitted students.


Who are my classmates?

Loyola’s PROLAW LLM program attracts a diverse student population. It is comprised of attorneys with practice experience and/or experience in the rule of law field. The program follows a cohort model, where you take your courses in a prescribed order with the same group of students. Your PROLAW cohort will be from around the world—literally. Typically, each cohort has representation from fifteen countries with men and women with 2 to 15 years of professional work experience. You will find your fellow students will bring a wealth of experience and perspectives to your studies.

What can I expect from the blended program experience?

Courses are taught by experienced practitioners who have multijurisdictional experience in supporting national initiatives aimed at improving the rule of law. Fall courses are offered online, asynchronously, through Loyola’s learning management system. Students will undertake their Spring courses at Loyola’s Rome Center campus in Italy. You will find that this experience will help you establish unique bonds with your fellow students, enhancing your learning and expanding your network. The Rome location provides opportunities to develop valuable networks with leading international rule of law, development and humanitarian relief organizations headquartered in Rome, as well as other Italian and European institutions.

What can I expect from the part-time option?

For students interested in completing the program at a slower pace, there is an option to complete over 5 terms, two academic years. This part-time option provides more flexibility for busy professionals. Students begin the program with a series of required foundational courses online but are still required to partake in a term abroad at Loyola’s Rome Campus in Italy. Students complete the program with a capstone project delivered at the end of the second academic year. Students interested in the part-time option should communicate their interest, during the application phase or as soon as possible, via email at prolaw@luc.edu.

Could you describe the alumni network?

More than 200 women and men from over 60 countries have attended the program since its launch in 2011. Most graduates have returned to their home countries or regional organizations across five continents and have become recognized rule of law leaders in their communities. Others have launched successful international careers. The PROLAW Alumni Network is an alumni-led initiative that aims to provide professional resources to fellow PROLAW students and alumni, and serves as a forum to foster a strong international rule of law community with strong ties to the PROLAW program.

Is an internship required?

There is no required internship in the program. Several students have chosen to complete relevant internships after the end of the program at organizations such as the World Bank, Organization of American States, International Development Law Organization, International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, UN International Fund for Agricultural Development, UN World Food Program, African Union, and the international criminal tribunals. Students are responsible for securing their internships, but the program offers application support and several internship stipends to successful applicants.

How do I pick my capstone project topic?

The capstone project allows you to apply the knowledge and skills gained through the program to your own area of interest. Past students have focused their projects on: avoiding conflict or re-building peace and security following conflict; protecting vulnerable citizens from violence, displacement and trafficking; strengthening constitutions and key governing institutions; spurring economic development and trade; building inclusive economies where men and women have equal opportunities; preventing and combating corruption; providing access to justice; and mitigating the consequences of climate change on the poor. Some students have chosen to develop their projects together with an external organization, thereby supporting its efforts to address a specific problem or challenge within its mandate and providing a close collaboration opportunity.

As an international student, can I practice law in the US with the LLM degree?

International students with an LLM degree cannot practice law in the United States or sit for the bar examination with this degree. If you received a law degree from outside the United States and are thinking about becoming an attorney licensed to practice in the United States, we suggest you research attending law school to get a Juris Doctor (JD) degree.

How do I apply and is there an application fee?

There is no application fee. You start the application by submitting the online form to create an account in Slate. You can start your application, save your information and log in later using your email address and password. Once all sections are complete, click “submit.” You may then return and upload documents after submission. If you submit your application before it is complete you will have access to a checklist of all required material which will allow you to see what has been added and what is missing. We have outlined the application requirements and the process for you.

Can I have my credits transferred from another program or university?

Due to the unique nature of the PROLAW program, all of the courses in the LLM in Rule of Law for Development are mandatory and there is no opportunity for students to transfer credits from other programs or institutions.

What is required for international transcripts?

If you have non-U.S. educational credentials, you are required to submit your official education credentials (e.g., transcripts, mark sheets, degree certificates, graduation diplomas) and evaluation fee directly to any NACES member companies. We accept evaluations from any NACES member companies and work most frequently with Educational Perspectives and Educational Credential Evaluators, INC.

*Please note: In addition to the transcript evaluation, you will be required to submit official copies of your transcripts as well. You have the option of requesting that your schools send them directly to either gradapp@luc.edu or the mailing address noted above, but it may be more convenient for you to request your chosen NACES evaluation company to send the transcript along with your transcript evaluation. Transcripts reviewed and received by the evaluation company are considered official.

May I apply through LSAC?

Yes. We ask applicants to submit Loyola’s free online application and email their LSAC account number to us. Loyola requests the LSAC documents directly. You must select Loyola University Chicago as one of your schools and pay the LSAC transmission fee.

Do I need to submit English language test scores?

Most international applicants are required to submit a current official TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo, or Pearson Test of English (PTE) score report. The law school requires the following minimum overall scores: TOEFL 95 (IBT) with minimum scores of 24 in the writing and reading sections, IELTS 7 with minimum scores of 7 in the writing and reading sections, Duolingo 125, and PTE 75. Loyola’s code for receiving official TOEFL and IELTS scores is 1412. A waiver of the language requirement may be offered to applicants who have completed a bachelor’s degree in English if certification is received from their institution confirming the language of instruction for their degree. A personal interview may be required.

What are the costs of tuition and fees to undertake the PROLAW LLM?

The PROLAW LLM program consists of 27 academic credit hours. The tuition rate in 2023-24 is $1,765 per credit hour, equating to a total tuition cost for the program of $47,655. In addition, you will need to pay $125 in student technology fees for both the fall and spring terms. You will also need to pay the $180 student development fee and $170 CISI health insurance fee for the spring term at the Rome campus. All fees are payable in the first term of the year. Note that the vast majority of course resources are available electronically for free, but you may be required to purchase textbooks or online program access codes as a mandatory requirement of the course.

Does the School of Law provide financial support?

Applicants who want to be considered for scholarships will need review the available financial support opportunities and follow the outlined instructions to apply. Scholarships are awarded to admitted students on a merit and needs basis. Applicants seeking financial assistance should investigate funding sources in their home countries. US citizens and permanent residents may qualify for one of the financial aid programs offered by the Loyola University Chicago. Please consult the Loyola University Chicago Financial Aid Office.

How much should I expect to pay for visa and living expenses for the spring term in Rome?

Most students will require a study visa for Italy, unless you are an EU citizen possessing a valid passport from that country. Visit the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs visa information website to see if a visa application fee is applicable for your country. Generally for visa purposes, you must demonstrate a minimum proof of funds for living costs (see the Ministry of Interior Directive 1.3.2000) which will amount to about EUR 3,500 for the duration of the spring term in Rome.
Loyola estimates that the basic monthly living expenses for the optional study period in Rome amount to approximately EUR 1,100, including rent of a single room in a shared private apartment close to campus, meals consumed at services on campus, and a monthly public transport card for the city of Rome. The estimate does not include expenses for travel to and from Italy, visa, application, or any personal expenses. The actual amount you will need depends on your personal circumstances and expectations. You could lower the expenses by finding a less expensive place to stay, cooking your own meals, and maintaining a frugal lifestyle.

Does the law school offer housing options in Rome?

There is no lodging available at the Rome campus for graduate students, so most students choose to live in conveniently located long-stay residences (with subsidized Loyola rates) or to rent a room in private apartments shared with other students. The PROLAW office provides support to admitted students with respect to finding accommodation close to campus in Rome.

Rule of Law for Development Program

Loyola’s Rule of Law for Development (PROLAW) program is a unique academic and experiential learning program that prepares students for jobs in the U.S. and abroad in the growing rule of law and development field, allowing for wide-ranging career options in the public, private, civil society and academic sectors.