Public Health

The Health Law Certificate Program is intended to give students interested in health law a basic grounding in the field, complemented by clinical experience and more in-depth study of advanced topics and closely related areas of law.  Students are expected and encouraged to obtain the same broad background in law expected of all graduates for the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  Students must elect to enter the Program by the beginning of their second year of law school.  Only in rare situations (such as when a student is in the Flex Program or a joint degree program) will exceptions be made.

Core Courses (required)

Course Credits Instructor Semester Offered Comments
Administrative Law 3 Thaw Spring Required 2d or 3d year
Business Organizations
Required Fall or Spring 2d year
Current Issues in Health Law I 1 Meisel Fall & Spring Required Fall & Spring 2d year
Current Issues in Health Law II 1 Meisel Fall & Spring Required Fall & Spring 3d year
Environmental Law, Policy, and Politics 2 Wagner Spring Required 2d or 3d year
Health Law & Policy 3 Crossley Spring Required 2d year
Public Health Law 3 Bjerke Fall Required 2d year

Required Electives (register for at least two):

Descriptions for these courses may be found at the Public Health website.

Course Credits Course Number Semester Offered
Essentials of Public Health 3 Pubhlt 2011 Spring
Introduction to Statistical Methods I 3 Biost 2041 Fall
Principles of Epidemiology 3 Epidem 2110 Summer & Fall

Clinical Experience (register for at least one)

Course Credits Instructor Semesters Offered
Civil Practice Clinic (Elder Law) 7 Mannix Fall & Spring
Civil Practice Clinic (Health) 7   Not offered 14-15
Health Law Externship 4 With Prior Approval of Program Director 2d or 3d year or Summer
Medicare and Medicaid Practicum 4 McKendree Fall & Spring

Suggested Electives (registration for these courses is optional)

Course Credits Instructor Semester Offered
Bioethics & Law 3   Not offered 14-15
Biotechnology Law 2 Black Fall
Civil Practice Clinic (Elder Law)* 7 Mannix Fall & Spring
Civil Practice Clinic (Health)* 7   Not offered 14-15
Elder Law 3 Frolik Fall
Elder Law Seminar 3 Frolik Not offered 14-15
Emergency Preparedness Law 2 Bjerke Not offered 14-15
Food and Drug Law 1 McSherry/Schneider Spring
Healthcare and Civil Rights Seminar 3 Crossley Not offered 14-15
Health Care Antitrust** 2 McClenahan/Scheuermann Fall
Health Care Business Transactions & Finance 3 Schreiber Spring
Health Care Compliance 3   Spring
Health Care Fraud & Abuse**§ 1 Ramsey Fall
Health Law & Bioethics Seminar 3 Meisel Not offered 14-15
Health Law Moot Court** 1   Fall
Health Law Practicum: Alternative Dispute Resolution * 4 Turner | Teeter Spring
Health Reform in the U.S.: Past, Present and Future 2 James Not offered 14-15
<tr class="even" "=""> International Human Rights Law 3 Kovalik Not offered 14-15
Law of Disability Discrimination 2 Hornack Spring
Medicare and Medicaid Practicum* 4 McKendree Fall & Spring
Mental Health Law 2 Rozel/Zottola Spring
Nonprofit Tax Exempt Organizations 2 Lieber Spring
Physician Disclosure to Patients Seminar 3 Meisel Not offered 14-15
Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law*** 1   Fall/Spring
Reproduction, Sexuality and the Law Seminar 2 Frietsche/Pfeifer Not offered 14-15
Reproductive Rights Seminar 3 Frietsche/Brake Not offered 14-15
Right to Die Seminar 3 Meisel Spring
US Reproductive Rights Seminar 3 Garrow Not offered 14-15

* If used to satisfy Clinical requirement, may not be used to satisfy Elective requirement.

** Counts as one-half course for purposes of satisfying required number of electives.

***Counts as one course if two or more semester’s credit; count as one-half course if one semester’s credit.

§ If used to satisfy the required elective requirement, may not be used to satisfy this requirement.

Writing Requirement

All students at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law must satisfy the Faculty Supervised Writing Requirement (including students who are members of a law journal).  For a full explanation of this requirement, consult the Student Handbook.  Students in the Public Health Track of the Health Law Certificate Program must satisfy it by writing on a topic in public health law, using any course, clinic, seminar or practicum which may be used in satisfaction of this requirement.  (Courses taught by adjunct professors ordinarily may not be used.)  Prior approval of the topic by the HLCP Director is required prior to the paper’s being written, in addition to approval by the course instructor.

This requirement may be satisfied by an independent study only with prior permission of the HLCP Director which will be given only in extraordinary cases.


The HLC Program Office keeps track of your fulfillment of requirements and periodically notifies you of your status.  However, you are ultimately responsible for knowing whether or not you have met all the program requirements in a timely fashion.


Students enrolled in the joint-degree program receive integrated training in law and public health. Students must complete 37 credits in the MPH curriculum, and 8 JDcredits will be applied toward the MPH degree in order to meet the required 45 credits for the MPH degree. Students must complete 76 credits in the JD curriculum, and 12MPH credits will be applied toward the JD degree in order to meet the required 88 credits for the JD degree. The first year of law school must be completed in a single academic year before embarking on studies in public health. Neither degree may be granted prior to the fulfillment of all requirements for the joint-degree program.  

Admission to the JD/MPH joint degree program requires admission to both the GSPHand the School of Law. Admission to the joint-degree program can be granted prior to attending either the GSPH or the School of Law, or prior to completion of the first or second year of study at the law school. Students who have begun their studies at GSPHand are later admitted to the School of Law may seek permission to enter the joint degree program by transfer into the Department of Health Policy and Management. Applications can be completed through the online application process.