Law and Public Health

JD/MPH, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

The Graduate School of Public Health, Health Policy & Management and the School of Law at the University of Pittsburgh offer a cooperative educational program, through which students may earn both the Juris Doctor (JD) degree, the first professional degree in law, and the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, the primary professional degree in public health. Students have the option of selecting between two areas of concentration pursing their MPH degree: health policy and management or public health sciences. The joint-degree program has been established in recognition of extensive and increasing connections between law and the broad range of health services, both public and private, in the United States.

The objective of this specialized educational program is to provide graduates with an inter-disciplinary education to prepare them to address issues and situations that affect personal and public health. Graduates of this joint-degree program are academically prepared for the practice of law with private clients, serving as house counsel with health organizations and systems, and as attorneys representing state, county and local health departments. The threat of bioterrorism and the need to balance both individual rights and public protection in establishing public health preparedness has made public health law an even more vital professional focus for attorneys.

Faculty Advisors

Elizabeth Bjerke, JD
Visiting Assistant Professor 
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
Department of Health Policy & Management 
130 DeSoto Street, A734
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
schmidte@pitt.edu

Mary Crossley, JD
Professor of Law
University of Pittsburgh
School of Law
3900 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
(412) 648-5300
crossley@pitt.edu

For Additional Information

For information regarding entrance examinations, tuition and financial aid, writing requirements and field experience, please visit the GSPH website.

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 JD credits 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 12 MPH 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 GSPH and 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 GSPH and 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.