Joint Degree Public Health

The Juris Doctor and Master of Public Health joint degree program (“JD/MPH”) is designed to prepare students for a variety of professional roles in which the knowledge, skills and expertise in law, public health and health care systems are important. Graduates will be equipped to work in a variety of public interest arenas such as governmental agencies, legislative bodies, universities and advocacy groups, as well as in the private sector of law firms and business.

Public health, public policy, and biomedical ethics are at the forefront of issues in America today. Ongoing efforts at health care reform by policymakers require lawyers with health care expertise to generate legal solutions to issues of health care access and quality, patient protection, and privacy. The work environment is emerging as a significant factor in health, prompting fresh attention to city planning and land use regulation. Occupational injuries continue to plague America’s workforce. Environmental degradation threatens the health of future generations. A JD/MPH degree can prepare graduates for leadership in the myriad public health issues confronted by society.

Admission Criteria

  1. Separate applications will be processed through both college admission systems and the decision for joint degree admission will be coordinated by the admission directors for the JD and MPH programs only after the applicant has been accepted by both programs, and complies with application requirements of both the JD and CoPH. Admission into either program does not guarantee admission into the other program. If a student is not accepted into both programs during the joint degree application review, the student cannot complete the joint degree program. However, the student can attend the single program into which acceptance was granted. Students who have already graduated with a JD or MPH degree will not be eligible for the joint degree program.

  2. Students already enrolled in the JD degree program may apply for admission to the joint degree program provided the student is in good academic standing and has not completed more than 3 semesters as a full-time student in the COL. Students already enrolled in the MPH degree program in the CoPH may apply for admission to the joint degree program provided the student has a cumulative grade point average of at least a “B” and has not completed more than 18 hours of coursework toward the MPH degree.

  3. Upon admission into the joint degree program, the student will be assigned an advisor from both the COL and the CoPH to advise the student on course selection and degree requirements. The JD director in the COL will oversee student progress in the JD curriculum. Faculty in the CoPH will oversee 2 student progress in the MPH curriculum. The JD/MPH student will complete both the JD and MPH orientation. Admission deadlines are as follows: JD March 1 for fall semester; MPH June 1 for fall semester, October 1 for Spring semester.

  4. The campus on which the student is registered will bill student tuition and fees. Students will be eligible for MPH scholarships. Non-resident tuition scholarships that originate from UNMC MPH will be available only for CoPH courses. Students will be eligible for scholarships offered through the JD program (will apply only to JD course hours or as eligibility requirements apply.

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Curriculum Requirements

  1. A student in the dual degree program must complete the first-year curriculum at the College of Law beginning in the fall semester of the academic year for which the student is admitted before taking any public health courses. After successfully completing the first-year curriculum at the College of Law, the student may take both law and public health courses in a sequence that meets the approval of the College of Law and the College of Public Health. The Service Learning and Capstone Experience will follow the guidelines of the UNMC MPH Program as described in the College of Public Health Student Handbook. The objectives, components, details of assignment, advisors, timelines, and evaluation of student performance are to be formulated later by the student and his or her Capstone Committee.

  2. A student in the dual degree program will select an MPH area of concentration that best suits the student’s interest with the knowledge that some mandatory and recommended courses may be required. Each concentration requires 12 hours of concentration courses, 6 hours of elective courses, and 6 hours of service learning/capstone. Students can elect any current concentration in the MPH program and would also be able to select any additional MPH concentrations approved in the future.

  3. The College of Law normally requires 93 credit hours for the JD degree. The College of Public Health normally requires 45 hours for the MPH degree. Therefore, a student pursuing these degrees independently (i.e. not in the dual degree program) would complete 138 credit hours.
    The dual degree program is designed to share elective coursework, which will reduce the total number of credit hours required to complete both degrees. A dual degree student will receive both J.D. and MPH credit for six hours of law courses and nine hours of public health courses for a total of 15 hours of shared coursework. Therefore, the total credit hours for the JD/MPH are 123 hours. The specific coursework that will be approved as elective credit hours in each program is explained in below.
  4. The UNL College of Law will extend a total of nine hours of course credit towards the law degree for completion of any three of the following public health courses:
    Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
    CPH 500 / HPRO 830 Foundations of Public Health 3
    CPH 501 / HPRO 860 Health Behavior 3
    CPH 502 / HSRA 873 Health Services Administration 3
    CPH 503 / ENV 892 Public Health, Environment, & Society 3
    CPH 504 / EPI 820 Epidemiology in Public Health 3
    CPH 505 / HPRO 805 Applied Research in Public Health 3
    CPH 506 / BIOS 806 Biostatistics I 3
  5. The UNMC College of Public Health will extend a total of six hours of course credit toward the elective requirements in the MPH degree for completion of any two of the following law courses:
    Administrative Law (Law 633/G; 3 cr hr)
    Agricultural Environmental Law (Law 722; 3 cr hr)
    Agricultural Law (Law 704/G; 3 cr hr)
    Bioethics & Law (Law 684/G; 2 cr hr)
    Constitutional Law II (Law 732/G; 3 cr hr)
    Elder Law (Law 602; 3 cr hr)
    Environmental Ethics and Law Seminar (Law 623/G; 3 cr hr)
    Environmental Law (Law 641/G; 3 cr hr)
    Family Law (Law 630/G; 3 cr hr)
    Federal Regulation of Food Safety (Law 679; 3 cr hr)
    Health Care Finance Seminar (Law 701/G; 3 cr hr)
    Land Use Planning (Law 699/G; 3 cr hr)
    Law & Medicine (Law 703/G; 3 cr hr)
    Legislation and the Political Process (Law 744; 3 cr hr)
    Mental Health Law (Law 763/G; 3 cr hr)
    Mental Health Law Seminar (Law 772/G; 3 cr hr)
    Products Liability (Law 755/G; 3 cr hr)
    State and Local Government Law (Law 788/G; 3 cr hr)
    Statutory Interpretation: Practice and Policy (Law 728; 3 cr hr)

Conferral of Degrees

Both degrees, Juris Doctorate and Master of Public Health, will be awarded after all program requirements for each degree have been met. A student must file a separate application for each degree. If a student withdraws from the joint degree program and elects to pursue only one of the two degrees, the student must satisfy all of the normal requirements for the degree that the student elects to pursue.