Boston University to Offer Joint M.D./J.D. Degree Beginning in Fall 2014

One of two universities in New England to offer distinctive program

Boston University will begin offering a six-year Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Doctor of Law (J.D.) degree through a joint program between two of its most prestigious professional schools—the Schools of Law and Medicine. With the implementation of this new dual degree in fall 2014, BU joins Yale as the only two universities in New England to offer this distinctive program.

gavel stethoscopeThe complex interactions of medicine and law combined with changes to health policy and government regulation and mandates have created a need for individuals trained in the nuances of each of the areas. Today those trained as both physicians and lawyers may find themselves at the juncture of these forces. Career paths for those holding both degrees may include working in health care administration, on a wide array of health law issues including legislation and programs to end health disparities, on intellectual property issues related to medical research and technologies, or in areas such as medical licensing.

“From the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to patenting innovations in biotechnology to managing the growing complexities of health care organizations, the legal and medical fields have become increasingly intertwined,” says BU School of Law Dean Maureen A. O’Rourke. “We want to prepare future leaders who can manage the rapid changes that are happening in these interdisciplinary fields.”

Students earn both degrees one year sooner than they would if they pursued them independently. They complete the first three years of the medical school curriculum, then spend their fourth and fifth years fully integrated into the J.D. program at the School of Law. They fulfill their remaining medical and law course requirements in the sixth year of the program.

“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. By collaborating across the University with our outstanding law school colleagues, we believe that we have designed what will become one of the highest quality, most comprehensive and sought-after M.D./J.D. programs in the U.S.,” says BU School of Medicine Dean and Medical Campus Provost Karen Antman, M.D.

The program is conducted under the auspices of both Schools with simultaneous admission to both required for acceptance into the program. Matriculating students will be advised by faculty members from both Schools. Consistent with other M.D./J.D. programs, over the six years students will complete the required coursework in both schools. This will begin with the first three years of medical school, including the eight core clerkships, to gain a foundation of clinical medicine. It then will proceed with the required 58 credits of courses in law over the next two years, and in the final year combine medicine and law electives consistent with the area of concentration of the student’s choice. Applications to the program will be accepted in spring 2014.

For more information, visit www.bu.edu/law/central/jd/programs/dual/medicine/index.html.

Reported January 16, 2014

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