Doctorate in Health Law

Health law doctorate degree programs contain courses that focus on the legal aspects of medical care. Learn about types of programs, prerequisites, topics of study and employment and salary outlooks for lawyers. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Health Law Doctorates Are Available to Me?

A variety of law schools offer doctoral programs in health law and health policy. Depending on the program, you can earn a Doctor of Laws (D.L.) in Health Law, a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Health Law or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Health Policy. Some law schools offer you the option of pursuing a Certificate in Health Law in conjunction with a generalized Juris Doctorate (J.D.). Finally, joint degree programs are also available that combine a J.D. with a doctoral degree in medical humanities. Regardless of which doctorate you choose, you generally need to attend school on-campus (rather than online) to earn your health law degree.

Degree OptionsD.L. in Health Law, SJD in Health Law, Ph.D. in Health Policy, J.D. with joint medical humanities doctorate
Typical PrerequisitesMaster's degree in law, health policy or jurisprudence; some programs may require a J.D. or LLM
Common TopicsBiotechnology, children's rights, fraud and abuse, elderly care, health privacy
Job Outlook (2014-2024)6% employment growth for lawyers*
Median Annual Salary (2014)$114,970 for lawyers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Prerequisites?

Prerequisites vary depending on the program; but at the very least, you need a master's degree in law or health policy. A D.L. in Health Law and Policy program may require applicants to have a Master of Jurisprudence as a prerequisite. Some programs, such as that leading to an SJD in Health Law, may be designed for practicing attorneys looking to complete academic research in this area. In this case, prerequisites may include a J.D. and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Health Law.

What Will I Study?

Regardless of the title, most doctoral degree programs in health law and health policy cover the same topics. Your core health law curriculum may include courses in legal aspects of biotechnology, fraud and abuse, children's rights, elderly care, forensic medicine, health privacy and insurance law. With your J.D., you're prepared to work in health policy and individual advocacy or to represent healthcare systems and providers in the courtroom. Some law schools also offer health law externship opportunities, which could include working with local hospitals or the U.S. Attorney's Office. Depending on the school, clinical opportunities may be available on campus as well.

What Might I Do with My Degree?

If you earn your J.D., you can qualify to work as an attorney specializing in this field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all lawyers can expect an average employment growth rate of 6% between 2014 and 2024. And as of 2014, lawyers earned a median annual salary of $114,970, also per the BLS (www.bls.gov). With a D.L. or SJD, you are prepared to work in research or academia, contributing scholarly work.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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Popular Schools

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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    • Doctoral

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  • Walden University

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  • Harvard University

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    • North Carolina: Durham
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    • Indiana: Notre Dame
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