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Admissions Information

Students will apply independently to each department through each program’s specified admission process.  The Law School and the Penn MPH Program will make independent judgments about each candidate. While the Law School and the Penn MPH Program will make independent admissions decisions, each application will invite the student to indicate that they have applied, or been admitted, to the other program.  Applicants will have three options as to applying for the joint degree program: They may make contemporaneous applications to both programs prior to being accepted at either; they may apply to the MPH program in the first or second year of the Law program; or they may apply to the Law program in the first year of the MPH program.

Curriculum

In order for a student to receive both degrees, he or she must complete the independent degree requirements of each program. In order to earn their JD, Law students must complete a minimum of 89 credits, 55 hours of which must be advanced credit completed in the second and third years of Law study. Students in the joint program may apply twelve semester hours (four courses)1 taken in the MPH program while in their 2L and 3L years of the Law program toward that requirement, reducing their upper level credit requirement to 43 credits. Students must also satisfy the Law School’s pro bono requirement via the Public Service Program and fulfill senior writing and professional responsibility requirements (more on these requirements can be found in the Law Student Guide to Policy and Procedures).

In order to earn the Master of Public Health degree (MPH), students must complete 14 course units. Of these, 8 cu are core requirements and 1 cu of elective credit must be taken in the MPH Program; an additional 4 cu are electives which may be fulfilled by taking public health relevant courses offered in the Law School.Electives must be approved by the MPH Program. Students are also required to complete a 2 cu Capstone experience and 128 hours of practice in the field.

Students may combine the Law School’s senior writing requirement and public service requirement with the Public Health Capstone and fieldwork requirement and with prior written approval of and ongoing supervision by a Law faculty member (for senior writing) and the Assistant Dean for Public Interest (for the public service requirement) and the Capstone course director and Fieldwork coordinator from the MPH Program. It is anticipated that this approval will be granted by the Law School if the proposed project is at least in part an examination of legal issues and of the requisite quality and nature to satisfy Law School expectations and requirements.

The joint degree can be earned in one of three sequences: Year 1 spent at the Law School, completing the standard and required 1L curriculum, Year 2 spent at MPH Program, completing the standard first year MPH curriculum, Years 3 and 4 spent in residence2 at the Law School but taking courses in both Law and in MPH; or Year 1 spent at MPH Program, completing the standard first year MPH curriculum, Year 2 at the Law School, completing the standard and required 1L curriculum, Years 3 and 4 spent in residence at the Law School but taking courses in both Law and in MPH; or Year 1 spent at the Law School, completing the standard and required 1L curriculum, Year 2 spent at the Law School, taking upper level JD courses, Year 3 spent at MPH Program, completing the standard first year MPH curriculum, and Year 4 spent in residence at the Law School but taking courses in both Law and MPH.

Option (iii) is the least desirable, as it leaves only one year for students to take joint programming in both departments.

Tuition and Financial Aid for the JD-MPH Program

Law School tuition is paid when the student is enrolled and in residence at the Law School and MPH tuition is paid in the year when the student is enrolled at in residence at MPH. While the student is in residence at the Law School, the Law School transfers tuition to MPH for up to four courses taken at MPH toward the completion of the joint degree. The Law School will not be responsible for courses taken in MPH over and above the four courses that are counted toward the JD degree. Nor will the Law School be responsible for any tuition or fees incurred for courses taken during the summer months. Financial aid decisions are made independently by each school.  Financial aid decisions are typically made by the school in which the student is in residence for that year.

For more information contact:

Students or prospective students with questions about the JD program or Joint Programs : Sherita Ragins, Administrative Coordinator for Joint Programs: sragins@law.upenn.edu

Prospective students with question about the MPH Program: Rosemary Frasso, Director of Education at 215.746.8554 or rofrasso@mail.med.upenn.edu.

Each year, this document will be reviewed and re-approved by representatives of both departments.  Currently, that review will be handled by:

For the Law School:  Jo-Ann Verrier, Vice Dean for Administrative Services

For MPH: Rosemary Frasso, Director of Education, MPH Program, School of Medicine

Issues Particular to the Program

Students in the joint degree program may have particular career interests and goals.  They are encouraged to meet individually with a counselor in the Career Planning & Placement Office at the Law School and with their assigned Academic Advisor in the MPH Program or with Dr. Jennifer Pinto-Martin, Director of the MPH Program.

A note on classes and credits:  the Law School operates, in order to comply with accreditation standards, on a semester hour basis, while courses in the MPH program are typically worth 1.0 course units.  In converting between the two programs, a Law course will count as 1.0 course units (or CU) in the MPH program, and a 1 CU course in MPH will be worth three semester hours at the Law School.

Law School accreditation requirements require that JD recipients are "in residence" at the Law School for six semesters.