School of Law - Rule of Law for Development Program at Loyola University - Chicago

Why you should consider this program

Rule of law underlies all political, economic, and social goods. To overcome today’s development challenges—violence, infringements of human rights, environmental destruction, poverty and hunger—rule of law is essential. Likewise, rule of law is essential to supporting commerce, attracting investment, and achieving economic growth. Rule of law is central to the attainment of the United Nations’ integrated 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.​

The Rule of Law for Development Program (PROLAW) at Loyola University Chicago School of Law prepares professionals to advance the rule of law throughout society and across sectors, at home and abroad. The rule of law field continues to grow in importance, allowing for varied career options in international organizations and financial institutions, governments, NGOs, public justice institutions, law firms and other corporations, and academia.

This unique practice-oriented program is taught at Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center in Italy, and is open to applicants with first degrees in law as well as other subjects. The Rome location provides opportunities to develop valuable networks with leading international development and humanitarian relief organizations headquartered in Rome, as well as other Italian and European institutions.

Note for applications for academic year 2020-21:

Loyola University Chicago School of Law will deliver the Rule of Law for Development Program entirely online in 2020-21. With this decision, we are ensuring that the program will proceed without interruption while minimizing health risks posed by the COVID-19 health crisis.

By moving the program online, we will take advantage of Loyola's leading expertise in online learning. During your 10 months of study, you will be part of a highly interactive virtual community. You will not be required to travel to Rome or Chicago at any time. Instead, you are part of an online global PROLAW community of students coming together across countries and time zones to learn the theory and practice of rule of law.

As the premier international program that prepares professionals to advance the rule of law throughout society, the Rule of Law degree program—and your dedication to it—is more relevant than ever.

Benefits for Coverdell Fellows

Tuition/fees for Complete Program Value of Coverdell Fellowship Net cost *
In state $ 43,750 $ 26,100 $ 17,650
Out of state $ 43,750 $ 26,100 $ 17,650
* Net cost is equal to tuition/fees minus fellowship value. For some universities, the fellowship value includes non-tuition/fee benefits such as health insurance or housing—see the first point below for more details.

Where the cost savings value of the Coverdell Fellowship comes from

60% tuition scholarship award

Please note:

  • Tuition and fees listed above are for the MJ program
  • All tuition and fees are subject to change each new academic year
  • Cost of living (below) are for the six months of studies in Rome. Living costs during the internship are not estimated within the total.

Fellowships awarded per year (average)


Annual cost of living (estimated)

$ 8,400

Application fee waived?



The Fellows will complete a rule of law capstone project as part of their degree requirement, which enables students to gain “real world” experience in rule of law advising. It is the culmination of Loyola University Chicago's PROLAW LLM and MJ programs, allowing students to apply all of the learning obtained through their coursework to address practical rule of law and development issues. Students develop and carry out their capstone projects in partnership with different organizations. The Coverdell Fellows coordinator will work with the Coverdell Fellows in identifying a capstone project topic and an organization to partner with, that aligns and supports the Fellow’s career interests and is related to rule of law and social policy issues in an impoverished and/or socially disadvantaged community within the United States. Students may select from a variety of organizations that Loyola collaborates with. After having completed the project, the Fellows will carry out an internship at the partner organization to implement the project

Jobs for program alumni

More than 189 Loyola University Chicago PROLAW graduates are now working in over 50 different countries to carry out rule of law reform. After graduation, 97 per cent of alumni are employed—nearly all in the rule of law for development field. PROLAW graduates can be found in diverse national and international organizations including multilateral and regional organizations, international financial institutions, NGOs, and academia around the world, as well as national governments, public justice institutions, law firms and other corporations, e.g.:

  • Advising on national stability, peace building, and rule of law reform processes in countries including Georgia, Indonesia, Liberia, Kenya, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Turkey, Uganda and Ukraine;
  • Advising international organizations and international financial institutions, and governments on rule of law topics including anti-terrorism, human rights, and peace keeping;
  • Managing advocacy and public interest litigation in countries such as Mexico, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe; and
  • Conducting law reform research and advocacy for international and grassroots civil society organizations.

Examples of positions for U.S. program alumni are: Senior Program Officer/ American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, Policy & Advocacy Manager on Aid Effectiveness/ Oxfam America, International Program Manager/ National Center for State Courts, Attorney Advisor in the Office of the General Counsel/ United States Agency for International Development, and Judicial Law Clerk/ US Court of International Trade.

Other details

Program length

1 Year plus 3-6 month internship

Application requirements

  • College transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Statement of purpose

Program begins

Mid September

Year Coverdell Fellows partnership started



Karen Alicia Shaw, Director of Graduate Legal Studies

Loyola University Chicago - School of Law - Office of Graduate Legal Studies
25 East Pearson Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611