Master Middle East Rule of Law Masters Scholarships

at Open Society Scholarship Programs in United States

The Middle East Rule of Law Masters Scholarships Program (MEROL) offers fellowships for graduate study in the United States leading to masters degrees. Eligible fields include:

  • law (LLM)
  • public policy / public administration
  • media / communications studies
  • gender / women’s studies.

The program aims to assist in the creation of a critical mass of reform-minded professionals in the Middle East working in fields crucial to the development and sustainability of open societies.

In conceiving of the foundations of the “Rule of Law” to include the healthy functioning of various public sectors beyond law itself, MEROL represents an extension of the Open Society Foundations’ Palestinian Rule of Law Program (PROL). Since 2003, the PROL program has supported over 50 LLM fellowships for Palestinian lawyers who are now engaged in law reform, teaching, and the development of a Palestinian rule of law infrastructure.

Funded by the Open Society Foundations and host partner universities, and administered by the Open Society Foundations, the program supports Middle Eastern students from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Iraq who demonstrate both academic excellence and strong leadership potential.

Ten MA awards in the fields listed above are available annually. Five LLM (Masters of Law) awards are available annually.

Grantees agree to live in their home countries for at least two years upon degree completion in the United States.


Applicants must:
  • be legally resident in Egypt, Jordan , Iraq, Lebanon, or Syria at the time of application
  • demonstrate an excellent academic record and have an advanced degree (minimum: bachelor’s)
  • display impressive civil society leadership potential
  • prove through testing and interviews strong English language ability (minimum TOEFL score of 480)
  • be able to begin the program in August or September, 2012
  • be able to receive and maintain a U.S. J-1 visa
  • participate in an intensive academic writing program prior to departure to U.S.
  • commit to returning to the home country upon degree completion

Employees of the Open Society Foundations directly involved in the administration of scholarships are not eligible; nor are individuals receiving other Open Society Foundations-funded support during the fellowship period.

Competition will be merit based and selection made on the basis of academic excellence, professional aptitude, leadership potential in the field of specialization, and proven commitment to open society values.


The fellowship provides:

  1. Tuition and mandatory university fees
  2. Monthly stipend for room, board, and living expenses
  3. Transportation to/from the U.S.
  4. Accident and sickness insurance during program
  5. Funds for educational materials
  6. Funds for professional development
  7. An intensive academic writing program before starting at host universities

The fellowship does NOT provide:

  1. Funding for dependent family members
  2. The option to choose university placement

Pre-selection and Testing

Submitted applications will be screened by representatives from OSF and potential host universities. Applicants chosen to continue in the competition as semifinalists will be required to take the TOEFL.

Interviews and Final Selection

Semifinalists will be interviewed in-person or via videoconference by a committee of representatives from OSF and potential US host universities. The committee will recommend finalists for placement at host universities.

Fellows are matched with U.S. universities according to their academic and professional goals and experience. Decisions concerning host university placement are made by the program selection committee, which includes university graduate admissions staff and faculty. Each placement is available on the basis of previously negotiated agreements between OSF and the participating universities. Finalists are therefore not responsible for finding appropriate degree programs.

In some cases MEROL MA fellowship funding may be extended for six months after completion of the degree to cover public-sector and non-profit internships. More information about internship opportunities will be shared with the finalists during the fellowship year.

As J-1 visa recipients, grantees will be required to live for up to two years in their home country after completing their degree. The Open Society Foundations support the J-1 policy, and expect grantees to apply the expertise the fellowship has given them to the improvement of their home communities.

All finalists attend a mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation and intensive academic writing program in the summer preceding the award as well as other Open Society Foundations-sponsored events during the fellowship period. The costs associated with these activities are covered by the fellowship.

Fellows must uphold the academic and ethical standards of the host institution and undertake full-time study for the duration of the program. Failure to maintain academic and professional standards will result in dismissal from the program.

The program is administered by the Open Society Foundations and funded by the Open Society Foundations and host universities.

Application Deadline

The deadline for scholarship applications for the 2012-2013 year is January 30, 2012. Applications must be postmarked by January 20, 2012.

An application can be downloaded below or can be obtained by request from the Open Society Foundations office in New York at the address below. Applications should be submitted to the address below.

Contact Information

For more information and / or an application, please contact:

MEROL Program Coordinator
Open Society Scholarship Programs
1700 Broadway, 17th Floor
New York, New York 10019 USA
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Published at 27-12-2011
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