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'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 can complete this 27 credit LLM degree online, and have the flexibility to join your cohort for an immersion experience at our Loyola Campus in Rome, 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 led by experienced practitioners who have multijurisdictional experience in supporting national initiatives aimed at improving the rule of law.

Fall Term

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

Spring Term

  • Principles of International Economic Law
  • Sustainable Development through International Commerce and Investment
  • Rule of Law in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding
  • Theory and Practice of Assessments in Rule of Law Advising
  • Design of Rule of Law Programs and Proposal Preparation
  • Rule of Law Project Management

Summer Term

  • Rule of Law Capstone Project

Rome Immersion Experience

Students are encouraged to undertake the optional immersion experience which will be offered at Loyola’s campus in Rome, Italy, throughout March and April (subject to easing of Covid-19 restrictions). The Rome experience will be focused on experiential learning with your fellow students, including class group work and lectures, capstone project workshops and field trips to international development organizations headquartered in Rome.

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 ten courses and a major rule of law capstone project. 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


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.


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 0 to 30 years of professional work experience. You’ll find your fellow students will bring a wealth of experience and perspectives to your studies. Meet the current cohort.

What can I expect from the online course experience?

We recognize the importance of community in successful learning, so our online courses are carefully designed to keep students connected to each other and to their faculty members. Courses are taught by experienced practitioners who have multijurisdictional experience in supporting national initiatives aimed at improving the rule of law. All courses are offered online, asynchronously, through Loyola’s learning management system and consist of reading assignments, recorded lectures, assignments, quizzes or exams, etc. Course materials are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, enabling students to undertake classes at times that best suit their daily schedules. Students 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.

Could you describe the alumni network?

More than 205 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 serve as a forum to foster a strong international rule of law community with strong ties to the PROLAW program. The School of Law also maintains an alumni update and contact database.

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 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.

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.

Where can I learn more about the program?

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

How do I apply and is there an 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’ve outlined the application requirements and the process for you. There is no application fee.

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 to 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 consist of 27 academic credit hours. The tuition rate in 2021-22 is $1,645 per credit hour, equating to a total tuition cost for the program of $44,415. In addition, you will need to pay $125 in student technology fees for the fall and spring semesters (total of $250 for the year).

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.

I plan to join the Rome immersion experience. Will I need a visa, and how much should I expect to pay for visa and living expenses?

Students joining the Rome experience may require a study visa for Italy. Visit the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs visa information website to see if a visa and associated application fee is applicable for your country. You should choose as reasons for stay: “Study - POSTGRADUATE”. You must demonstrate proof of sufficient means of subsistence for your stay in Italy as part of your visa application. Loyola has estimated that the basic monthly living expenses in Rome amount to EUR 1,160 (approximately US$ 1,400), see Estimated Living Expenses in Rome.

Does the law school offer housing options in Rome?

Loyola offers negotiated rates with several residences close to campus in Rome. Most PROLAW students choose to share a room with other students in a private apartment close to campus. The PROLAW office will provide support to admitted students with respect to various options for accommodation close to campus in Rome.