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Health Law Track

Penn Law offers a Master in Law degree with a Health Law Track to provide students and professionals in healthcare and the health sciences, including physicians, nurses, regulators, researchers and many others with an in-depth understanding of health law and legal principles to help them navigate this complex and highly-regulated field.

imageThe program’s specialized curriculum is geared to students and health professionals in a field increasingly defined by regulation and new service delivery models. Graduates of the program will develop legal knowledge and key analytical and critical thinking skills that will prepare them for careers in healthcare, as leaders of health practices and medical institutions, and so much more.

“Health law is one of the Law School’s areas of great strength, and we are delighted to be able to open our doors to the wider Penn community,” said former Penn Law Dean Michael A. Fitts. The Master in Law degree program is designed to satisfy a desire on the part of many health practitioners to deepen their understanding of how health reform is impacting utilization of medical services and driving profound changes in their profession.

The Master in Law program may be completed on a full-time (one year) or part-time basis. The curriculum grounds students first with a foundation in law and legal analysis and then allows them to develop deeply specialized knowledge through electives in health law and related areas.

Health Law Track Curriculum

The ML Health Law Track Foundation Courses:

Upper Level Law Courses Include:

ML Foundation Course Descriptions:

Introduction to U.S. Law and Legal MethodsLAW 511301— Now more than ever a basic understanding of U.S. legal principals is indispensable across a wide array of professional and academic landscapes. This survey course introduces non-law students to all aspects of U.S. law through a combination of case law and the Socratic method, both techniques unique to legal education. This methodology stimulates critical thinking and can be valuable regardless of your profession. The course explores the structure of government and the constitutional foundations of the U.S. legal system and covers a wide range of topics in the areas of civil, criminal, and administrative law. The course will incorporate recent cases of note into the curriculum and provide an overview of legal issues which impact professionals in a variety of fields, including but not limited to law.

Introduction to Health Law and PolicyLAW 530301—  This survey course is intended to cover most current, controversial topics in healthcare law, albeit at a superficial, introductory level. Unlike similar courses taught at J.D. programs, this Master in Law course is organized by type of medical practice; i.e., clinical, research, and public health. In this way, the course’s main focus is how the law affects the everyday practice of medicine. By the end of this course, students will be able to identify the different actors in our healthcare system, such as doctors, patients, regulators, payors, etc., what their particular interests are within the healthcare system, and how these interests will sometimes converge and sometimes dramatically clash.

Introduction to General Business Law — LAW 528301  Understanding and resolving legal issues is critical for all businesses. Using a combination of case analysis, Socratic method and real world insight from guest lecturers, this survey course introduces non-law students to various topics in US business and corporate law.This course begins by examining the law surrounding contracts, which are the building blocks of any business transaction, covering contract formation, key clauses, enforceability and dispute resolution. The course will then transition to a discussion of various aspects of business organizations, focusing primarily on corporations and partnerships by exploring their particular advantages and disadvantages. With this foundation in place, the course shifts to an examination of the life cycle of a company and the particular legal issues at play in each stage of its existence. In particular, the course will cover the company’s formation and seed financing through its growth via the public markets and M&A to reorganization and insolvency.  By the end of this course students will have gained a better understanding of many of the legal issues that come into play when making business decisions.  

Navigating the Regulatory State: Law, Science and Policy LAW 529301This course will equip students to navigate in the regulatory state in a system where science, policy, and law interact over some of society’s most complex problems. Products and technologies must increasingly cope with a vast array of regulations promulgated by administrative agencies.  Governmental regulatory power is fraught with controversy; some regard it as intrusive while to others say regulations are the indispensable “wise restraints that make us free.”  This course will equip students to understand how legal, policy, institutional, and analytic considerations inform the design, scope, stringency, and transparency of regulations.  This class will not simply cover administrative law per se, but rather will emphasize how regulatory agencies—particularly FDA, EPA, and OSHA—try to exercise discretion found in authorizing legislation to reduce risks efficiently and with an eye on important distributional concerns. Major themes in the course will include: (1) how the regulatory state is structured (issues of jurisdiction and pre-emption); (2) how agencies set their agendas, make rules, analyze costs and benefits, and involve experts and the public in the regulatory process; (3) how OMB, Congress, and the courts exercise control over the outputs of regulatory agencies; (4) how agencies enforce their regulatory mandates “on the ground”; and (5) how different regulatory designs attempt to balance the often-conflicting goals of efficiency, equity, simplicity, and flexibility.  Students will read and discuss various landmark Supreme Court cases affecting regulatory outcomes, including FDA v. Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corp., Massachusetts v. EPA, and AFL-CIO v. American Petroleum Institute (an OSHA case), along with legal and scientific articles on regulation.

For students with an interest in technology:


NEW COURSE IN FALL 2015: Introduction to Law and Technology LAW 506301   The growing importance of technology in business and industry and the corresponding increase in the scope of regulation in this area are creating greater synergies between law and technology.  Gone are the days when each discipline could exist in its own sphere.  Technology professionals are learning that they need a better understanding of the legal considerations affecting their work.  This course will introduce the key legal principles that technology professionals need to know, presenting them from the bottom-up the way a practicing technologist would experience them.  Major topics will include the impact of potential liability on product design, differences when life-critical systems are involved, proper and improper uses of intellectual property, privacy regulation, permissible constraints imposed by nondisclosure agreements and employment relationships, and the entrepreneurship-related aspects of technology law.

Take a class with us.

Penn Law and the Master in Law program welcome you to explore our classes and degree and learn more about the law by taking a course with us. For more information about taking individual classes at the Law School, please visit the Registrar’s website.