Law and public health have a fundamental link; many public health initiatives depend on law, and legal policy in turn affects public health. Law has played a critical role in many of the past century’s health achievements including vaccination, motor-vehicle safety, safer workplaces, control of infectious diseases, decline in deaths from chronic heart disease and stroke, safer and healthier foods, healthier mothers and babies, family planning, fluoridation of drinking water and recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard.
This program enables students interested in the intersection of law and health care to prepare themselves to address a complex and growing field. Dual degree students build unique portfolios equipping them to solve some of our society’s most pressing concerns.
Possible Degree Combinations
J.D. and Master’s in Public Health
Areas of Study
Core courses required for both degree programs examine the core values at the heart of Public Health Law: government responsibility for health, state power and restraint, a population focus, community participation, prevention and social justice. Public health law is concerned with federal and state power and responsibility to protect and preserve the health of the population. One of the challenges of public health law is achieving the proper balance between governmental responsibility and individual rights.
Students tailor their own concentrations in such areas as international public health or biotechnology and regulation. In addition, the law school offers formal certificate programs in two relevant areas. First, the Consumer Health Advocacy Certificate, focuses on health advocacy broadly, consumer-centered approaches, and the relationship between public health and the health care system. Second, the Environmental Law Certificate focuses on environmental and land use public health issues.
Admission Procedures & Requirements
Students must apply separately to both programs. Applicants who have taken the LSAT do not need to take the GRE; however LSAT scores must be submitted in place of the GRE.
Information about admission procedures and requirements of the Law School found here.
For current information about admission procedures and requirements at the MPH program please review their website or contact the Master of Public Health Program Office at 608/263-4889 or email
Planning a Course of Study
The JD/MPH dual degree program is a “step out” model. Semester by semester, students must decide and declare which school they will enroll in for the majority of their courses, and will pay that school’s tuition rate, accordingly. Students are required to matriculate in the Law School for at least 5 semesters and the MPH program for at least 2 semesters. For this reason, students admitted to this dual degree program should work with Mike Hall, Director of Student Life, and Faculty Advisor Sarah Davis to plan their program.
JD/MPH Faculty Advisor
Sarah Davis, JD, MPA
Clinical Assistant Professor of Law
The Center for Patient Partnerships
University of Wisconsin-Madison
975 Bascom Mall - suite 4311 (in the Law School)
Madison, WI 53706
Phone (608) 265-6267
Fax (608) 265-4332