Dual JD/Master of Public Health (MPH)

Boston University offers highly motivated students a unique opportunity to combine professional training in law and public health through this dual degree program offered by the School of Law (LAW) and the School of Public Health (SPH). Candidates must be accepted to both schools. Successful candidates receive both the Juris Doctor (JD) and a Master of Public Health (MPH). Student must successfully meet the requirements of both programs.

Graduates of the JD/MPH program enter careers in federal and state government agencies and legislative offices, private law practices, universities, hospitals, insurers, biotechnology companies, and nonprofit organizations.

Learning Outcomes


Students will:

  • Possess knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law;
  • Possess the ability to perform:
    • Legal analysis and reasoning
    • Legal research
    • Problem-solving
    • Written communication in the legal context
    • Oral communication in the legal context;
  • Understand the exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system; and
  • Demonstrate the professional skills of collaboration, counseling, and negotiation needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession. All students will also demonstrate a basic understanding of business fundamentals and be able to read and understand basic financial documents.

Public Health, MPH

SPH graduates bring a well-rounded, evidence-based approach to addressing public health problems. Students will be prepared to work in a wide array of settings and understand the interplay of the biological, social, economic, cultural, political, behavioral, and environmental factors that affect health. Students will have the ability to critically analyze public health literature, create innovative solutions to problems in collaboration with others, evaluate program effectiveness, and present their views clearly to a range of audiences, both verbally and in writing.

Upon completion of the MPH degree requirements, graduates are able to:

Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health

  • Apply epidemiological methods to the breadth of settings and situations in public health practice.
  • Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context.
  • Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based programming, and software, as appropriate.
  • Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy, or practice.

Public Health & Healthcare Systems

  • Compare the organization, structure, and function of healthcare, public health, and regulatory systems across national and international settings.
  • Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities, and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community, and societal levels.

Planning & Management to Promote Health

  • Assess population needs, assets, and capacities that affect communities’ health.
  • Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of public health policies or programs.
  • Design a population-based policy, program, project, or intervention.
  • Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management.
  • Select methods to evaluate public health programs.

Policy in Public Health

  • Discuss multiple dimensions of the policymaking process, including the roles of ethics and evidence.
  • Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes.
  • Advocate for political, social, or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations.
  • Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity.


  • Apply principles of leadership, governance, and management, which include creating a vision, empowering others, fostering collaboration, and guiding decisionmaking.
  • Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges.


  • Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors.
  • Communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation.
  • Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content.

Interprofessional Practice

  • Perform effectively on interprofessional teams.

Systems Thinking

  • Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue.

Program Requirements

Master of Public Health

The MPH is a 48-credit degree. JD/MPH students must complete a minimum of 40 credits in residence at SPH and 8 credits are completed at LAW. All courses completed in residence at SPH and counted to the MPH portion of the JD/MPH must be numbered SPH XX 700 and above. No courses taken outside of the School of Public Health will count toward the MPH, including courses taken at other Boston University schools and colleges.

Foundations of Public Health

Effective public health requires expertise from many disciplines, and students need to have a broad foundation of knowledge across these diverse disciplines in order to collaborate effectively with other health professionals.

SPH PH 700 Foundations of Public Health (0 credits) is an online course designed to provide students with foundational knowledge in the profession and science of public health and factors related to public health. PH 700 meets the foundational knowledge criteria (as outlined by CEPH) for all SPH students.

SPH Core Courses

  • SPH PH 717 Quantitative Methods of Public Health (4 cr)
  • SPH PH 718 Leadership and Management (4 cr)
  • SPH PH 720 Individual, Community, and Population Health (4 cr)

JD/MPH students are waived from SPH PH 719 Health Systems, Law, and Policy upon successful completion of LAW JD 856 Health Law. Students must adhere to the SPH grading policy for their MPH coursework.

MPH Certificate & Elective Courses

JD/MPH students complete one functional area certificate as their interdisciplinary, professional skills base (16 credits):

  • Health Policy and Law

All JD/MPH students must successfully complete SPH LW 850 in addition to their certificate requirements. JD/MPH students earn 8 credits toward the MPH by completing courses required for their JD from the following list. Note that this list changes each year to reflect new course offerings, and not all courses and seminars are offered each year:

  • LAW JD 717 Health Law Research
  • LAW JD 784 Legislation Clinic/Health & Environmental (subject to prior approval of health-related topic)
  • LAW JD 795 Globalization & Health
  • LAW JD 796 Global Climate Change
  • LAW JD 801 Administrative Law
  • LAW JD 802 Food and Drug Law
  • LAW JD 833 Environmental Law: Basic
  • LAW JD 844 Nonprofit Organizations
  • LAW JD 910 Medical Research and the Law
  • LAW JD 924 Legal Externship/Legal Ethics (subject to prior approval of health-related topic)
  • LAW JD 933 Biotechnology Law and Ethics
  • LAW JD 954 Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights (taught as LW 840 at SPH)
  • LAW JD 962 Forensic Mental Health Issues
  • LAW JD 975 War on Drugs
  • LAW JD 977 Health Care Reform and the Constitution
  • LAW JD 998 Health Care Transactions

MPH students have the option to also complete a context certificate (focused on key populations or areas of interest in public health, 12 credits) or additional functional certificate (16 credits). It is anticipated that JD/MPH students would not complete a second certificate, unless they wish to extend their public health credit hours.

Professional Development and Practical Experience

  • SPH LW 951 Directed Studies in Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights (4 cr)
  • SPH PH 746 Career PREP (0 cr)
  • SPH PH 845 Integrated Learning Experience (0 cr)