Public Health Law JD/MPH

To effectively address public health policy problems and influence policymakers, students emerging from the JD/MPH program will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to navigate the complex relationship between legal and health care delivery systems.

A large majority of the JD/MPH courses are offered online, giving you the freedom to complete both degrees quickly and with flexibility. Because this is an online program, the MPH charges resident tuition.

This dual degree program focuses on public health and legal concerns at all levels, giving students the opportunity to complete their JD and MPH degrees concurrently. Applicants must be applying to or be admitted to a Law School to be eligible for the MPH/JD dual degree program.

If you are a practice attorney, you are eligible to apply to the MPH Executive Program in Public Health Program.

The School of Public Health is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). The Law School is accredited by the American Bar Association.

The MPH degree requires 42 credits, while the JD program requires 88 credits. Students may use up to 14 credits of law courses toward the MPH and 12 credits, with up to 6 credits considered “substantially law-related” of public health courses, toward the JD. Each school will determine which courses from the other program will count toward that school’s degree requirements.

Sample Public Health Law JD/MPH Program Curriculum (PDF)

The cross-counted (double-counted) credits may fulfill requirements in each degree program, reducing the overall length of the JD/MPH program by two semesters. Due to the university’s registration system, students may be registered in only one school each term. You must register for at least 28 public health credits as a School of Public Health student and at least five semesters of 12 credits per semester as a Law School student.

In addition, each program enables students to focus on an interdisciplinary concentration. The SPH offers 12-credit concentrations in health disparities and public health policy. The University of Minnesota Law School offers concentrations in health law and bioethics; environmental and energy law; human rights, international law; labor and employment law; business law; and criminal justice.

The interdisciplinary concentrations are officially approved by the Regents of the University of Minnesota, appearing on students’ MPH and law transcript when they graduate.

Students in the JD/MPH program will have a faculty adviser/team in both schools. Advisers will be included in the students’ final project examining committee and final MPH culminating experience committee. Advisers in each degree program will also assist students in selecting courses that are appropriate for their career goals.

For law students participating in the JD/MPH program, a sample academic plan may include:

Year One – Register for law coursework and JDP Proseminar

  • Fall semester – 17 law credits, enroll in law career
  • Spring semester – 16 law credits, enroll in law career

Year Two – Register for MPH coursework, JDP Proseminar and Law 2L Legal Writing requirement through a journal or moot court

  • Fall semester – 15 SPH credits, up to 3 law credits, enroll in SPH career
  • Spring semester – 15 SPH credits, up to 3 law credits, enroll in SPH career

Year Three – Register for law coursework and requirements, including 3L Legal Writing, Constitutional Law II, and Professional Responsibility, as well as JDP Proseminar in Fall

  • Fall semester – 14 to 16 law credits, enroll in law career
  • Spring semester – 14 to 16 law credits, enroll in law career

Year Four (complete remaining required and elective coursework in both programs over remaining semester(s)

Master’s Culminating Experience

 The Master’s Culminating Experience is a planned undertaking involving studious inquiry or examination. The product of that undertaking is a formal, written, scholarly report that demonstrates writing proficiency; and the ability to critically approach a topic, synthesize, interpret, and successfully convey information to the appropriate audience. Project Guidelines (PDF).

This experience gives students an opportunity to demonstrate the use of public health principles and competencies. You’ll learn firsthand about the organization, operations and special activities of selected agencies, institutions and industries concerned with public health practice.

Students are expected to demonstrate familiarity with the tools of applied research or scholarship in public health practice, the ability to work independently, and the ability to apply skills learned in coursework by completing a Research Paper, or Systematic Literature Review, or Consultative Report, or Grant Proposal or complete the Certification in Public Health exam.

JD/MPH students may customize a significant law writing project to also meet the requirements of the MPH Master Culminating Experience. Examples include: journal note, capstone paper, or independent research paper that addresses a public health topic or issue.

Once a public health/law topic has have identified, JD/MPH students are required to complete a MPH proposal form and receive approval from their SPH and law advisers.

Field Experience

The public health practice field experience provides students with a means of gaining additional insight into public programs, personnel management, governmental relations, public relations, legislative support, and knowledge of special investigations. Participation in the activities of public health practice programs external to the university enriches the student’s training and may be beneficial in seeking employment.

Once you have identified a field experience, you are required to complete a field experience agreement.

JD/MPH students may customize their law school experiences to also meet the requirements of the SPH field experience and transfer those credits, if the experience is approved by both adviser. A completed SPH field experience agreement is required prior to starting the internship experience.

Prospective students are encouraged to complete the application by March 15 to start the MPH in May/summer terms.

Qualifications for Admission

  • Applicants must be applying to or currently admitted to a law school
  • Students must have a baccalaureate degree before beginning MPH coursework
  • Preferred performance levels: GPA of 3.00
  • All applications are reviewed holistically

Standardized Test Requirement

This program does not requires the LSAT. Applicants must be applying to or admitted into an ABA accredited Law School.

The demand for the JD/MPH program grows along with changes in national health care law and policy, and in the complexities around the implementation of such changes. Population-based solutions are increasingly critical during this time of great healthcare reform, driven by the Affordable Care Act.

It’s anticipated that a significant number of lawyers will need expertise to address legal services as issues in healthcare and environmental law rise in communities, disadvantaged and for middle-income people.

Students emerging from the JD/MPH program will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to navigate the complex relationship between legal and healthcare delivery systems.

Law graduates are currently employed in the state and federal government, private practice, nonprofits and industry positions. Job titles include associate, compliance counsel, staff attorney, regulatory operations associate, program evaluator, and health services specialist.

The JD/MPH program is an exciting opportunity for law students to bridge knowledge, prevention science, skills, and professional training.

Why choose a JD/MPH dual degree?

JD/MPH dual degree students will be prepared to address public health policy problems and influence policymakers, to effectively navigate the complex relationship between the legal and health care delivery systems from the local, regional, state, national levels and at the intersection of government, nonprofit, and private sectors.

Who makes it a dual degree?

With approval, you may apply up to 14 credits of Law courses toward the MPH and public health credits toward the JD. This allows you to reduce the length program, saving you time and money.

Who is eligible for the program?

Applicants must be accepted or enrolled a law school and complete a SOPHAS application.

How long does the program take?

The JD/MPH can be completed within three to four years depending upon your preference. The SPH gives you up to five years to complete the MPH; how long the degree will take to complete is up to you.

What is unique about the dual degree program?

You may transfer up to 14 credits of your law courses, with approval into the MPH program and transfer up to 12 of your public health course, with approval into the JD program – saving you valuable time and tuition dollars.

You may elect to focus the elective credits on one topic or several topics. The goal is to explore your interest and design the dual degree to complement your law practice. The SPH offers courses of the following topics:

  • Global health
  • Health disparities
  • Public health leadership
  • Public health policy
  • Public health systems
  • Cultural competency
  • Food protection
  • Preparedness, response, and recovery

Application Deadlines

  • April 1 for
    Summer Term Admission
  • August 1 for
    Fall Term Admission
  • December 1 for
    Spring Term Admission

Contact Us

Major Coordinators

Kate Hanson

Katy Korchik

Program Director
Katherine Waters