BU to Launch Joint MD/JD Program

January 28th, 2014

Students will complete both degrees in six years

Boston University will offer a joint Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Juris Doctor of Law (JD) degree program starting next fall, becoming only the second New England university, along with Yale, to offer the dual degree. Simultaneous admission to both the School of Medicine and the School of Law will be required, and applicants must take the LSAT and MCAT exams to be considered. The new program will be highly selective, initially accepting two students a year.

Citing the increasing interaction between the fields of health and law and recent changes to government regulations and health policy, MED and LAW administrators believe that the program will appeal to students interested in health care administration, health care legislation, medical licensing, and intellectual property issues focused on medical research.

“This degree, which combines medical and legal expertise, is excellent preparation for students considering hospital or health care system leadership opportunities or careers in medical policy and academic administration,” says Karen Antman, provost of the Medical Campus and dean of MED.

Megan Sandel, a MED associate professor of clinical pediatrics and program director of the joint degree program for the School of Medicine, says students will spend the first three years in a medical curriculum, focusing on the basic sciences during the first two years and the eight core clerkships, among them surgery, pediatrics, and internal medicine, the third year. They will spend their fourth and fifth years completing the first two years of law school, with some medical clinical experiences built in to maintain skills. The final year of the program will include a mix of elective courses from both MED and LAW that will complement an area of concentration of their choice.

Boston University becomes the 19th university in the country to offer a joint MD/JD program. In addition to Yale, other schools include Duke, the University of Miami, the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt, and Texas Tech. Almost all of the programs, like BU’s, allow students to complete the two degrees in six years, rather than the seven it would take if they were to pursue the degrees separately. Each school structures the program slightly differently. At Duke, for example, students spend the first two years in the MD program and the next two years enrolled in the law school, and then they return to the medical school for elective clinical work tailored to their interests.

“The MD/JD degree program advances the University’s ‘One BU’ philosophy and the law school’s strategic plan to establish dual degree programs,” says LAW Dean Maureen O’Rourke. “We are launching this new degree with the School of Medicine at a time when the growing fields of technology, health care management, and health law need professionals who possess both medical and legal expertise.”

Learn more about the new program here, or contact Sandel at msandel@bu.edu or David Walker, a LAW professor and associate dean for academic affairs, at dwalker@bu.edu.