Not only do PILS recipients have academic profiles that boast strong scores and grades, they also have very strong backgrounds in fields that pertain to social justice and public service. Many have worked for years in areas such as human rights, healthcare, environmental advocacy, international development, immigration, social work, child advocacy, prison reform, politics and welfare reform.

Launched in 1999 by generous donors who believed that the mission of the law school naturally led to the need for such a scholarship, the first class of scholars graduated in 2003. These graduates have built a strong network, giving back to the program and assisting new students as they begin their pursuit of public interest law careers. Once scholars have graduated from the School of Law, it is hoped that a significant portion of their careers be dedicated to public interest law.

We also offer a variety of other scholarships, such as the Peace Corps and Teach For America Scholarships, for those students who have demonstrated a deep commitment to social justice and a solid academic background.

Selection Process

To be considered for the full-tuition Public Interest Law Scholarship (PILS) applicants must first gain admission to the law school. For Fall 2016 entry, all applications received by January 15, 2016, will automatically be considered for the PILS Award.

Students who wish to bolster their candidacy for PILS may also submit an optional one-page essay with their application materials via The public interest essay prompt is as follows:

Northeastern is a nationally recognized leader in public interest law with a strong reputation for producing accomplished leaders in the field. Whether winning MacArthur Genius Fellowships, arguing critical cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, or running one of the nation’s most powerful advocacy organizations, the success of our graduates reflects, in part, our social justice mission. What specific social justice issue are you most passionate about and how have your professional and/or personal experiences influenced your interests? Please note that our Public Interest Law Scholarship (PILS) program offers full-tuition scholarships to selected students, and all completed applications submitted by January 15, 2016, will be automatically considered for this program.


Finalists should plan to join us on campus for a special event in the Spring of 2016. Date TBA.

Questions or Concerns?

Please don't hesitate to be in touch with the Office of Admissions if you have any questions about the Public Interest Law Scholarship. You can contact us at or (617) 373-2395.