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June 07, 2016

Penn launches joint medical, law degree program

JD/MD designed for students seeking careers where medicine and law overlap

UPenn Medical Schools
041316_PennPerelmanMedicine Ajaxean/Creative Commons

Quad containing medical and research buildings of the Perelman School of Medicine and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Perelman School of Medicine announced Monday that they are offering a joint JD/MD degree program to serve students seeking careers at the intersection of law and medicine.

“Through this new program, students will have the opportunity to attend two world-renowned schools at the forefront of research, teaching and practice in their respective fields,” said Ted Ruger, Dean of the Law School. “The law touches every aspect of society, and for students, having degrees in both law and medicine is both highly beneficial to one’s career as well as to society, and a wholly unique advantage.”

J. Larry Jameson, Dean of the Perelman School of Medicine, added that there is a growing emphasis on legal knowledge as a critical facet of work as a physician.

“Having a knowledge of the law is, increasingly, an integral part of being both a physician and a biomedical research scientist, and these fields will benefit from professionals with in-depth, hybrid expertise,” Jameson said. “The JD/MD program will empower health professionals to effectively address the emerging legal issues that accompany topics ranging from patient confidentiality in the era of big data and electronic medical records to patenting and commercialization processes for new discoveries.”

Already, students at both schools gravitate toward cross-disciplinary study: Seventy-five percent of law students and 65 percent of medical students at Penn already graduate with a joint degree or certificate. With a formalized medical and law degree program, Penn students will have the added benefit of proximity to the schools' buildings in West Philadelphia, situated just blocks from one another.

The program will begin accepting applications for the 2017-2018 academic year.

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