Students interested in the role law and policy may play on health, well-being and equity can pursue the Public Health Law Research Graduate Certificate. This transdisciplinary certificate focuses on the rapidly growing field of legal epidemiology (also known as public health law research), providing foundational training in public health law practice and research methods.  This field of research generates evidence that can inform policy initiatives to advance health and well-being. 

 This 12-credit program was developed by the Law School’s Center for Public Health Law Research — founded in 2009 — which has built a theoretical foundation for the field, developed innovative research methods for policy evaluation, including policy surveillance, the systematic, scientific collection, and analysis of policies and laws of public health significance.  

 This transdisciplinary field examines everything from the impacts of laws and regulations dictating the scope of practice for health care professionals or those governing reproductive rights, to more incidental effects of laws that impact health broadly, like housing laws, economic policies like the minimum wage, education and employment laws, or civil rights policies. 

 The certificate requires four courses taught in partnership by nationally renowned faculty at the Beasley School of Law and the College of Public Health to teach participants to 

  • conceptualize and design a public health law study;
  • develop policy surveillance techniques for collecting and coding laws;
  • learn to conduct statistical analysis;
  • conduct a legal epidemiology study, evaluating the impacts of laws or policies, under the mentorship of a graduate faculty member during an independent research project;
  • demonstrate the integration of behavioral and organizational theory with a law or policy;
  • describe the mechanism behind a law or policy;
  • systematically evaluate the law or policy at the level of individual provisions rather than just a holistic view. 

Required Courses

  • JUDO 0954: Public Health Law (3 credits)
  • HPM 8013: Research Methods in Health Policy (3 credits)
  • EPBI 5002: Biostatistics (3 credits – counts towards 88 law
    credits needed to graduate)
  • HPM 9991: Public Health Research Project (3 credits – counts towards 88 law credits
    needed to graduate)

For Further Information


Jennifer Bretschneider