The University of Pennsylvania will be offering students the chance to earn a dual degree from Penn Law and the Perelman School of Medicine.
Penn will launch its JD/MD joint degree program in the 2017-2018 academic year. The six-year curriculum will have students split their time between the university’s law and medical schools.
Gail Morrison, the senior vice dean for education at the Perelman School of Medicine, said the program will serve as an addition to Penn’s eight MD-plus degrees that have already been implemented with other schools.
“You get an MD degree, and then a shortened time in the medical school, and then also at one of the other schools getting a master’s degree that links into it or another degree that links into it,” Morrison said.
Many students who chose to pursue law and medical degrees tend to go into fields dealing with research or medical technology.
“A joint combination of something that relates to medicine, but not purely just in taking care of patients, usually in the development of some kind of patent of something, app, database, working in some international group that would need to know some different things related to international law,” Morrison said.
The program is designed to work in sync with the two schools so students can become experts in both fields. According to Morrison, having a law background can help doctors better understand various laws surrounding the practice such as Obamacare. They can also better serve committees focusing on patients’ legal issues.
Stanford, Chicago and Ohio State University have already implemented this type of dual degree curriculum.