The Law Center hopes to offer a dual M.D./J.D. program once the new College of Medicine’s medical school is established.
Baylor College of Medicine and the Law Center already have a joint M.D./J.D. program, which takes about six years to complete.
“There are no plans to discontinue the program with Baylor College of Medicine,” said Assistant Dean of Admissions Pilar Mensah. “We are hopeful that we will be able to establish a similar program with the UH College of Medicine.”
The Law Center’s website describes the degree as an educational program that highlights the relationship between law and medicine and provides students an important enrichment in their interdisciplinary studies.
“The students are in a unique position to address the societal need for training physicians who are well versed in the law,” Mensah said. “The career options for these students are endless, as they can opt to practice law with an emphasis in health law, as their medical degree would make them uniquely equipped for this type of position.”
The dual degree plan was offered as early as 2004 to UH students. Currently, there are two students pursuing this path, Mensah said.
Back in May, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill to create a medical school at the university.
The incoming college of medicine will be the university’s 15th academic college and is projected to admit 30 students in the inaugural class.
“We intend to accomplish this bold undertaking by establishing a medical school that will produce a diverse group of graduates with a deep understanding of the social determinants of health and a commitment to providing compassionate, high-value care to underserved populations,” said founding dean Stephen Spann in a message on the upcoming college’s webpage.
The program permits students to complete their degrees in six years rather than the minimum of seven years, Mensah said. It does go through a provision of summer programs, careful course sequencing and limited dual crediting of courses relevant to both medicine and law.
Students in this program attend their first, second and fifth years of study at the Baylor College of Medicine, begin their law school curriculum during their third and fourth years and complete both degrees in their sixth year.
The Law Center has a few other dual degree options listed as well, one for public health and another in public administration.
“The students can enter into the medical field and use their legal expertise as an asset in their practice,” Mensah said.