Duquesne University School of Law and the Center for Healthcare Ethics of the
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in Healthcare Ethics Joint Degree

Duquesne University School of Law ("Law School") and the Center for Healthcare Ethics of the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts ("Center for Healthcare") adopt the following Juris Doctor/Master of Arts (J.D./M.A.) in Healthcare Ethics Joint Degree, effective July 1, 2018.1

A number of law schools nationwide offer joint degrees in healthcare ethics because such joint degrees are attractive to prospective students interested in pursuing jobs in health-related fields and may better qualify them for jobs in this expanding field. The required experiences in clinical settings offered by the joint degree will enrich students' appreciation of the various health-related practice areas and the range of legal issues they are likely to face in practice. The joint degree is structured so that a student will be able to graduate in three (3) to four (4) years with both degrees if desired.


- The Joint Degree program reduces the required credits for these two degrees from a minimum of 117 credits (87 credits for the J.D. and 30 credits for the M.A.) to a minimum of 95 credits through credit-sharing (advanced standing).
- Advanced Standing 

Students may earn advanced standing towards the M.A. for up to ten (10) J.D. credits, as follows:
 Required courses (4 credits):
  • Health Care Law (2 credits)

  • Law and Medical Ethics (2 credits)

 Elective credits (maximum of 6 credits). Students may choose from the following J.D. courses:
  • Adjudication: The Judicial Process (2)

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (2)

  • Animal Law (2)

  • Art of Mediation (2)

  • Canon Law (2)

  • Children and the Law (3)

  • Climate Change (2)

  • Drug Regulation: Current Issues (2)

  • Food Law & Policy (2)

  • Gender & the Law (2)

  • Governance, Compliance, and Risk Management (3)

  • Health Care Fraud and Abuse (2)

  • Healthcare Care Organization and Finance (2)

  • Law and Psychology (2); Legal Medicine & Forensic Science (2)

  • Philosophy of Law (3)

  • Public Health Law & Policy (2) 

Students may earn advanced standing towards the J.D. for up to twelve (12) M.A. credits; however, the courses taken in the M.A. program that are too similar to courses taught in the School of Law will not be accepted as shared credits for advanced standing. Pursuant to ABA Standard 311, Interpretation 311-1(b)(2), all advanced standing credits awarded toward the J.D. degree shall count as non-classroom credits. The M.A. courses available for advanced standing are:
 Elective credits (maximum of 12 credits). Students may choose from the following M.A. courses:
  • HCE 648 Clinical ethics (3)

  • HCE 642 Multicultural society and HCE (3)

  • HCE 645 Comparative religious bioethics (3)

  • HCE 643 Ethics of care (3)

  • HCE 653 Genetics and ethics (3)

  • HCE 662 Organizational ethics in health care (3)

  • HCE 654 Research ethics (3)

  • HCE 655 Global bioethics (3)

  • HCE 656 End of life ethics (3)

  • HCE 657 Public health ethics (3)

Total Credits Required

 For the M.A. in Healthcare Ethics, twenty (20) additional M.A. credits will be required (in addition to the ten (10) J.D. advance standing credits from the list of courses above):
• Required courses (5 credits)

  • HCE-659 Methods in Healthcare Ethics (3)

  • HCE-646 Clinical Rotation (2)

• Five courses from the list of electives above (15 credits, 12 of which will count as advance standing credits toward the J.D.)
 For the J.D., a total of 87 credits is required, which includes in addition to the 12 advance standing credits, 49 - 50 required credits and 25 - 26 J.D. credits earned in elective courses.
 See Curricular Details, below.


- Admission
  • Students must apply and be accepted to both programs of study. Each school shall independently determine admission to its program. Law students may not matriculate into the MBA/JD Joint Degree program without the advance approval of the academic Status Committee.

  • A competitive LSAT score is required for admission to the Law and will not be waived based on an applicant's GRE score. A competitive LSAT may be used in lieu of the GRE for admissions to the M.A. in Healthcare Ethics.

  • Admission to one school shall not guarantee entry to the other school.

 Details about applying to the M.A. in Healthcare Ethics program are available at www.duq.edu/academics/schools/liberal-arts/about-us/centers/center-for-healthcare-ethics/degrees-and-programs/application-process.

 Details about applying to the J.D. program are available at http://law.duq.edu/admissions.

- Matriculation
  • Prospective law students may apply to matriculate simultaneously into the J.D. and J.D./M.A. in Healthcare Ethics Joint Degree program. Law students who wish to matriculate into the J.D./M.A. in Healthcare Ethics Joint Degree program after beginning their legal studies must petition the Academic Status Committee. 

  • Students may begin their study in either the Center for Healthcare or in the School of Law; however, in accordance with ABA Standard 311(d), students shall only be given credit toward their J.D. degree for course work taken after matriculation into the School of Law. 

  • Students currently enrolled in the M.A. in Healthcare Ethics may apply to the J.D./M.A. Joint Degree Program provided that they have not substantially completed the requirements for the M.A in Healthcare Ethics. Substantial completion shall be determined by the Academic Status Committee of the Law School on a case-by-case basis.

  • Students may not take M.A. and J.D. courses simultaneously until after all first year law courses have been completed. For part-time day and evening law students, this means that M.A. courses may be taken during the summer between the first and second years of law school but not during the fall and spring semesters of either year. Further, a J.D. student who is not in good standing may not take M.A. and J.D. courses simultaneously.

  • Full-time law students in this program must enroll in a minimum of ten (10) J.D. credits per semester and may not exceed a maximum of eighteen (18) credits, J.D. and M.A. combined, per semester. Part-time day and evening law students must enroll in a minimum of eight (8) J.D. credits per semester and may not exceed a maximum of thirteen (13) credits, J.D. and M.A. combined, per semester.

- Graduation
  • In addition to the requirements of the J.D./M.A. Joint Degree program, students must successfully complete the additional graduation requirements of each program of study in order to be awarded its degree. 

  • Students who successfully complete all requirements of both programs of study will receive two degrees. The degrees do not need to be conferred simultaneously. 

  • Courses from one program that are counted toward the other program will be applied to the student's transcript as advanced standing credits. 


J.D. Required Courses 49-50 M.A. Required Courses 5
Advanced Standing Credits-Required 0 Advanced Standing Credits-Required 4
Advanced Standing Credits-Electives 12 Advanced Standing Credits-Electives 6
J.D. Electives 25-26 M.A. Electives 15
Total Credits 87 Total Credits 30

1 These requirements supersede those previously adopted effective July 1, 2009.