Candidates for the LLM degree have the opportunity to combine advanced legal studies with a master′s degree in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. 


The LLM+MA-SID program is a two-year program. You may start the program at either NUSL or Heller, but it is recommended that students with more development experience start at NUSL, while those with less development experience start at Heller. Depending on your choice of start term and school (which will be determined in part by your experience coming into the program), you will have the opportunity to do both a law co-op and a development practicum or a single, combined law co-op/development practicum.

Regardless of where and when students begin the program, during your final term of study (i.e., quarter at NUSL/semester at Heller), you will complete a final paper and participate in a capstone seminar/presentation, integrating what you have learned from both a legal and a sustainable development perspective. Commencement and the awarding of the two degrees from the two universities will come at the end of the final term in the program. You cannot receive a partial degree from either university. If you are unable to complete the dual degree, you may opt to complete either the LLM or the MA-SID, in which case you would have to complete the full degree requirements for the program selected.


The LLM+MA-SID program requires the completion of 33 credits at NUSL and 32 semester credits at Heller:  

  • At NUSL, LLM+MA-SID candidates must complete a substantive program of upper-level legal courses relevant to development in areas such as trade, environment, human rights, poverty and economic development, health, immigration, labor, intellectual property, social change and/or public international law. 
  • At Heller, LLM+MA-SID candidates must complete all required courses and a minimum of 32 semester credits in one year in residence (two semesters). 
  • Co-op: All LLM+MA-SID students in good academic standing will complete a full-time legal practice experience (co-op) and a development practicum or a combined law co-op-/development practicum. Northeastern and Heller have developed placement opportunities with law firms, companies, nonprofits, government agencies, community organizations and NGOs around the world. Where you do your co-op, development practicum or combined co-op/development practicum is up to you. The LLM Professional Development Advisor and your practicum advisor at Heller will work with you to define where you want to go and refine how you present your qualifications. Together, you will find the opportunity that best meets your unique goals. 
  • Independent Research and Writing: All LLM+MA-SID candidates identify a topic relating to sustainable development they are interested in exploring in the form of an independent research project and paper. An NUSL and/or a Heller faculty who share(s) your area of interest will provide the necessary supervision, either in conjunction with a seminar or in the context of an independent study. During your final term of study you will present your paper and participate in a capstone seminar/presentation, integrating your learning from both a legal and a sustainable development perspective. 

Examples of Brandeis Courses in the Program

  • Economics for Management and Social Policy   
  • Frameworks for Development 
  • Gender Analysis in Development Planning 
  • Leadership and Organizational Behavior 
  • Micro-Enterprise Development and Finance 
  • Natural Resources Management 
  • Religion and Development 
  • Rights-Based Approach to Development 
  • Social Entrepreneurship 
  • Sustainable Energy: Technology and Economics 
  • Theory and Analysis of Social Policy 
  • World Health  


Applicants for the LLM+MA-SID program are required to apply to and be admitted by both NUSL and Heller. You may apply simultaneously to both NUSL and Heller; apply to Heller when you are already an LLM student at NUSL; or apply to NUSL when you are already an MA-SID student at Heller.

Admission requirements for NUSL:

  • First law degree (JD, LLB  or equivalent)
  • Transcripts for all completed undergraduate and graduate work
  • TOEFL iBT score of 85 or IELTS level 7.0 (if applicable*)
  • Personal statement of purpose
  • Resume/CV
  • Interview with LLM director (in person or via the Internet)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • LSAT score considered if taken but not required

*Applicants who completed their first law degree using English as the medium of instruction or whose experience of living and/or studying in an English-speaking context otherwise warrants waiving the TOEFL/IELTS requirement may, at the discretion of the LLM Director, waive out of this requirement.

Please review the admission requirements for the Heller School for Social Policy and Management.

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