Brandeis University

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Dual MA-SID and Master of Laws (LLM), Northeastern University School of Law


Together with the Northeastern University School of Law (NUSL), the Heller School offers a dual degree LLM/MA in Sustainable International Development. The accelerated two-year program gives students a course of study that combines advanced legal knowledge with training and field experience in international development policy and practice.

The Programs in Sustainable International Development (SID) form a community of concerned students and faculty drawn from around the world. Our mission is to help build a new generation of development planners and policy makers in the US and abroad for whom a global society free of poverty, preventable disease, and environmental degradation is available.

NUSL is a national leader in education, research, and service initiatives addressing the most pressing challenges facing society. Through its clinics, institutes, and research centers, faculty and students advocate together for those too-often underrepresented in the justice system.

Program Description

The dual degree option awards a Master of Laws degree from NUSL and the MA-SID degree from Brandeis in two years of study and a field placement. (Individually the NUSL LLM is normally earned in one year and the Brandeis MA-SID in two years).

The program requires two academic years in residence (late August to May), one at NUSL and one at the Heller School, and a 3-month summer practicum. Students can start at either NUSL or Heller.

Summary of Requirements

  1. Students must complete all required courses and a minimum of 32 credits at Brandeis for the MA-SID degree in one year in residence (two semesters).
  2. Students must complete 33 (quarter) credits in one year (three quarters) at NUSL for the LLM degree, including courses in legal research, legal writing, and an introduction to US law and legal institutions.
  3. For the LLM degree, students 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. An approved piece of legal writing, such as a final research paper completed in conjunction with a seminar, is required of all students. A legal placement experience is available.
  4. For the MA-SID degree, students must satisfactorily complete a 3-month practicum related to sustainable development, ideally one that would be linked with legal and policy aspects also relevant to the LLM degree.
  5. For the dual degree, students must fulfill appropriate final paper and Capstone presentation requirements, integrating their learning from legal and sustainable development perspectives.

Examples of Law/International Development Practicum Organizations

Application Requirements

Students in the dual degree program will be admitted to and receive the LLM degree from NUSL and the MA-SID degree from Brandeis. Candidates for the dual degree LLM/MA program must independently apply and gain admission to each program. A student can enter the dual degree program through the following pathways:

i) simultaneous application to both program prior to entering either one;

ii) application to Heller when the student is already an NUSL LLM student; or

iii) application to NUSL when the student is already a Heller MA-SID student.

Regardless of the pathway, the student must fulfill all requirements for admission to both schools. Acceptance to one program does not guarantee acceptance to the dual degree program. Students should apply online to the law school through LSAC ( The Heller School application can be completed at


Graduates of the dual degree program will have the advantage of working with counselors from the offices of career services from both institutions. The Heller School prepares students for leadership roles in a complex, multi-cultural society. The school’s academic rigor and intellectual integrity provide a solid core that will stretch to push traditional boundaries, giving students the skills and perspectives to make a difference and to have a major impact on the lives of people around the world. The Heller School Career Development Center helps to place MA-SID graduates at a wide range of domestic and international NGOs and governmental, public, and private agencies.

The NUSL Office of Career Services, in collaboration with the Office of Cooperative Legal Education, helps students and graduates with all phases of short-term and long-term career planning. The placement rate is consistently strong. NUSL graduates work in the U.S. and abroad in careers that reflect the depth and breadth available to individuals who look for challenge, stimulation, meaning, and satisfaction in their lives.

Additional Information 

For further information on the LLM Program at Northeastern University School of Law, see: