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Health Law Schools: How to Choose

Programs in health law prepare graduates to conduct research or practice health law in academic and courtroom settings. There are several educational options offered through law and medical schools at colleges and universities throughout the country.

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Students interested in careers in health law can complete a master's degree program in health law, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree program in conjunction with a health law certificate, or a joint degree, such as a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)/Juris Doctor. These programs are available at many postsecondary schools.

Top 10 Health Law Schools

Based on 2016 rankings from the U.S. News and World Report, these schools have the top ten health care law programs in the country:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
St. Louis University St. Louis, MO 4-year, private not-for-profit JD, Master's $39,195
Boston University Boston, MA 4-year, private not-for-profit JD $49,330
University of Houston Houston, TX 4-year, public Master's $29,784 in-state, $44,044 out-of-state
University of Maryland Baltimore, MD 4-year, public JD $30,177 in-state, $43,657 out-of-state
Georgetown University Washington, DC 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's $55,255
Georgia State University Atlanta, GA 4-year, public JD, Master's $16,858 in-state, $36,466 out-of-state
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's $58,242
Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL 4-year, private not-for-profit JD, Master's $45,288
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH 4-year, private not-for-profit JD $48,760
Seton Hall University Newark, NJ 4-year, private not-for-profit JD, Master's $51,018

Source: *U.S. News and World Report

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School Selection Criteria

When selecting a health law program, students should consider the following:

  • The Master of Science in Health Law prepares graduates to work in academic and research positions, but it does not qualify them to practice law; individuals interested in practicing health law as licensed attorneys should look for a law school that offers a health law certificate that can be taken concurrently with the J.D.
  • Law students interested in public health and policy can earn a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) in conjunction with the J.D., which usually takes one year less than it would take to complete both programs sequentially.
  • Students will want to look for schools with medical facilities on or near the school grounds if they are looking for opportunities to take classes from both programs.

Master of Science in Health Law

The Master of Science (M.S.) in Health Law is appropriate for students pursuing an academic, professorial or research-based career. A thesis project is usually required. Students learn about legal issues in healthcare administration and healthcare management.

J.D. with a Health Law Certificate

Health law certificates are offered by some law schools as part of the J.D. degree program. Upon completion of the program, students will have a health law designation within their J.D. degree. Courses in constitutional law, criminal law and torts are commonly required. For the certificate, students take courses in health law topics.

Juris Doctor/Master of Public Health

The J.D./M.P.H. program combines a law degree with a health policy curriculum to provide lawyers with expertise in public policy, public health and biomedical ethics. Students generally complete residencies in both law and science.

There are multiple ways to study health law at the graduate level. Students who want to pursue a career in the field may want to enroll at one of the highest ranked postsecondary schools in this subject.

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