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 PROLAW LLM is a practice-oriented degree program for law graduates and lawyers. You'll 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 understand how the rule of law develops in society; legal methods and concepts employed when carrying out rule of law initiatives; the role and practices of domestic and international institutions in establishing and maintaining the rule of law; 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'll complete all courses entirely online between September and April, followed by your capstone project requirement via online interaction with your project advisor, due by July 14.

By combining theory with practice in the course work, you’ll 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.

Fall Term

  • History, Theory and Practice of Law for Development
  • Comparative and Ethical Lawyering for the Rule of Law
  • Theory and Practice of Assessments in Rule of Law Advising
  • Research and Writing on the Rule of Law

Spring Term

  • Design of Rule of Law Programs and Proposal Preparation
  • Rule of Law Project Management
  • International Development Architecture
  • Sustainable Development through International Commerce and Investment
  • Rule of Law in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding

Summer Term

  • Rule of Law Capstone Project
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. Visit our Registrar for a complete list of degree requirements, academic calendars, and registration process.

Course Descriptions 2020 - 21

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


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


Ermias Kidanemariam


“The way courses are organized allowed me and my colleagues with different backgrounds to share personal experiences that enriched our classroom learning.”

Emily Patterson


“The program focuses on both the theoretical aspects of development and how to design effective and sustainable development programs.”

Nertil Berdufi


“A degree in Rule of Law is ideal for a lawyer seeking to become the change they want to see in their country.”

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.


As an international student, can I practice law 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.

Who are my classmates?

Loyola’s LLM program attracts a diverse student population. It is comprised of attorneys with practice experience and/or experience in the rule of law field. You will join a network of impressive alumni from 60 countries around the globe.

Who makes-up my cohort?

A cohort program is one where you take all your courses in a prescribed order with the same group of students for the entire program. Your PROLAW cohort will be from around the world—literally. Typically, each cohort has representation from fifteen countries with men and women with 0 to 30 years of professional work experience. There are two degrees offered, a Master of Laws (LLM) for applicants with a first degree in law and a Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) for applicants with a first degree in other subjects. The LLM and MJ students take their courses together. You’ll find your fellow students will bring a wealth of experience and perspectives to the classroom, enhancing your learning and expanding your network. You will also establish unique bonds with your fellow students due to the small class size and large interaction throughout the year. Meet the current cohort.

Could you describe the alumni network?

Almost 200 women and men from some 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 alumni stay connected to Loyola and to each other through formal and informal platforms. The School of Law maintains an alumni update and contact database on its website, shares resources and tools, publishes a student edited rule of law journal, and invites alumni to attend organized School of Law events.

What is the academic schedule for the 2020-21 academic year?

All courses are offered online and you will not be required to travel to Rome or Chicago at any time during the year. There is one annual intake starting in September, and key dates can be found in the program’s academic calendar. Courses will be offered asynchronously, enabling you to take classes at times that best suits your daily schedule. You will be part of a highly interactive virtual global community with faculty and students across the globe utilizing Loyola’s leading expertise in online learning.

Is an internship required?

There is no required internship, but you may work with the administration to secure one. In the past, students have secured internships at organizations such as the African Union, 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, Organization of American States and the international criminal tribunals.

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.

Where can I learn more about the program?

The Rule of Law for Development program provides additional information about our mission and vision, faculty and lecturers, goals, alumni network and resources for admitted students.

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 to pay the LSAC transmission fee.