Health Law Certificate

Students enrolled in a degree program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law can develop an expertise in the rapidly changing, steadily growing field of health law through the Law School's Health Law Certificate.

Pitt Law’s Health Law Program, one of the oldest in the country, is intended to give students interested in health law a basic grounding in the field, complemented by clinical experience and more in-depth study of advanced topics and closely related areas of law. Students are encouraged to obtain the same broad background in law expected of all graduates for the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. 

The Health Law Program provides students with a strong foundation in health law that will enable them to practice in a variety of contexts, including law firms, health care management firms and insurers, government, and health care institutions. A combination of classroom and skills components acquaints students with everything from complex business and legal transactions, to bioethics and patient care issues, to the variety of legal issues that arise in the operation of a health care institution. Students gain hands-on experience in these areas through their work in the Law School's clinics and practicums, and in externships and summer jobs available in the health care setting.

In addition to courses taught by regular law school faculty, leading practitioners in various fields of health law such as fraud and abuse, business transactions, compliance, disabilities law, nonprofit organizations, and privacy teach courses designed to relate theory to practice. In addition, Current Issues in Health Law, a required course for all Health Law Certificate students, is taught by renown practitioners of health law and by health care professionals and executives.

Contact

All of our prepared information about the Health Law Certificate program is on our website. However, if you have specific questions about the Health Law Certificate program that are not answered on the website, please send us e-mail at hlcert@pitt.edu or contact:

Mary Crossley or Tomar Pierson-Brown
Professors of Law
Co-Directors, Health Law Certificate Program
3900 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15260

Program Requirements

Learn more about the Health Law Certificate program requirements.

Program Pathways

As long as they satisfy the program requirements, health law students have the flexibility to enroll in courses of their choosing. The pathways, however, provide guidance to students interested in focusing their studies in a particular area of health law.

Other Health Law Opportunities

There are a number of opportunities for students interested in health law to pursue this interest either through the Health Law Certificate Program or apart from it. They include the following:

Joint Degrees

Experiential Learning 

  • Health Law Transactional Competition
  • PBI Health Law Institute
  • Ameriican Society of Law Medicine & Ethics: Law & Public Health Meeting
  • Salk Fellowship (offered by the Jewish Healthcare Foundation)
  • Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

Semester in DC

Students in the Health Law Certificate Program may satisfy the program’s skills requirement by participating in Pitt Law’s Semester in DC Program if your externship placement is in health law, and the paper written for the seminar portion of the Semester in DC will satisfy the upper-level writing requirement for the Health Law Certificate Program if written on a topic in health law and approved by the Program Director.

​A Multitude of Health Law Courses

The Health Law Program offers more than three dozen courses and prepares students for practice in all aspects of health law and in all types of health care settings. In addition to law school courses, students in the Health Law Certificate may take up to 6 credits in the Graduate School of Public Health, the Center for Bioethics and Health Law, the Heinz School at Carnegie Mellon University (adjacent to the Pitt campus) and in other graduate and professional programs at Pitt, CMU, and Duquesne universities. For advice about taking courses outside the law school, you may wish to consult the Health Law Certificate Program Director.

All students in the Health Law Certificate Program take a common core of courses: the survey course in Health Law and Policy, and Current Issues in Health Law. In addition, all students must take a skills course and write their upper level writing requirement paper on a topic in health law.

Students also have the opportunity to keep pace with the hottest topics in health law by attending the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's annual two-day Health Law Institute and to participate in interschool competitions in health care regulatory and compliance law and in health care transactional law.

A Leader in Health Care and Legal Education

Pitt's Health Law Certificate Program has the advantage of being affiliated with the world-class, comprehensive health care facilities available at the University of Pittsburgh. The Law School is only three blocks away from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center System's complex of hospitals and numerous institutes and clinics. Perhaps best known as a world leader in organ transplantation, the medical center is recognized for innovative hospital management and patient-care techniques, and for specialties including cancer research, diagnostic artificial intelligence, reproductive physiology, pain control, cardiovascular research, AIDS, and geriatrics, and many more.

Opportunities to Network

The city of Pittsburgh is host to a large number of law firms and attorneys who specialize in or have departments in health law. Students meet and network with many of these attorneys, as well as health care practitioners, lawmakers, and representatives of consumer groups, through the innovative Current Issues in Health Law course. This course is taught by health-law practitioners and helps integrate the academic and practice aspects of the program, and allows students to examine the larger issues and ramifications of the relationship between health care and law.