Partner School: School of Public Health

Program Length: 6, 7, or 8 semesters

120x600 Concept_3Boston University offers highly motivated students a unique opportunity to obtain both a JD degree and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in three to four years (7 academic terms or eight, based on enrollment). Successful candidates can earn a JD and MPH degree at the end of seven terms (three academic years, and one summer session) or they can complete the JD-degree and continue in the MPH for one or two additional semesters. The Law School and the School of Public Health provide an exceptionally strong program in health-law courses. Graduates of the program enter careers in federal and state government agencies and legislative offices, private law practices, universities, hospitals, insurers, biotechnology companies, and non-profit organizations.

 Public health education focuses on:

  • Developing and disseminating information on health and illness in various populations
  •  Recognizing the importance of psychological and social factors in illness and well-being
  • Controlling and improving the physical environments in which people live and work
  • Interpreting and implementing the results of research investigations and other scientific and statistical information
  • Understanding and influencing governmental health policy and regulation
  • Designing more effective and efficient methods for planning and delivering health care services.

Program Requirements

For the MPH degree, the School of Public Health (SPH) requires 48 SPH credit hours consisting of six SPH core courses, 16 credits of concentration courses at the BU School of Public Health, the MPH culminating experience, the MPH practicum, and a minimum of 32 credits from courses numbered SPH 700 and above. JD/MPH students may count 8 credits of School of Law courses that are relevant to public health and are approved by the JD/MPH Program Director at the School of Public Health. Students may not enroll in courses at other BU schools and colleges, nor may they cross register for Boston Consortium courses.

Students may also apply to the JD degree a maximum of 12 credits of course work taken at SPH.

NOTE: The number of credits for an SPH course that are applied to the JD degree may vary from what the School of Public Health grants for that course. Please check with the Law Registrar’s Office to determine how to best complete your registration to allow for full-time enrollment without an overload of credits.

MPH Core Courses:

  1. Biostatistics
  2. Environmental Health
  3. Epidemiology
  4. Health Policy and Management
  5. Community Health Sciences
  6. Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights: either (1) Public Health Law (SPH course) or (2) Health Law (LAW course worth 4 SPH credits), plus Legal Strategies to Reduce Health Risks (SPH course)

Students also must complete a minimum of 16 credits in an MPH concentration. Although most students concentrate in Health Law, Bioethics or Human Rights, a concentration may be in any of the above core departments or International Health. Each concentration requires a culminating experience, such as presentation of a paper, project or e-portfolio, which varies by department.

Law students can transfer a maximum of 8 credits of LAW courses for credit toward the SPH elective requirement. Transfer courses are chosen from a list of approved LAW courses relevant to public health. The list of approved courses is available from Associate Dean Muir (LAW) and from Professor Mariner (SPH).

SPH Practicum Requirement

For the MPH degree, students must complete a Practicum. Students might be able to satisfy this by taking Legal Externship/Legal Ethics IF the course work is related to public health and if it is approved, in advance, both by the Law School and the School of Public Health. Students may also find a practicum outside the schools, in consultation with the SPH Practicum Office.

For further program information, contact Professor Wendy Mariner, Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights TW3, Boston University School of Public Health, 617-638-4626.

Admissions Requirements

Students must apply separately to, and be accepted by, both the School of Law and the School of Public Health. Ordinarily, students apply to the School of Public Health before or during their first year of law school. Students can apply to SPH to begin the MPH in January of their second year; however, they would be behind by one SPH course and would lose some of the time savings.

For SPH application procedures and deadlines, click here.

Contact Information

Wendy Mariner, Professor and JD/MPH Dual Degree Program Director
Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights

Angela Colette, Assistant Director, Admissions
School of Public Health

Kevin Outterson, Professor
School of Law

Gerry Muir, Associate Dean for Student Affairs
School of Law