Health Law and Policy Program (HLPP)


The Health Law Institute is an interdisciplinary Institute that is supported by and works with the Schulich School of Law and Faculties of Medicine, Health and Dentistry.

Educational opportunities include the following:

Dalhousie offers one of the largest curricular collections within this field in Canada:

Students may also take a limited number of courses for credit towards their law degree in related subjects offered at the graduate level in other academic departments of the University (e.g. Bioethics and Philosophy). Students with such interests should review the Schulich School of Law regulations for requirements which include obtaining written consent of the Department or School involved as well as the Associate Dean of the Schulich School of Law. Students wishing assistance in the selection of courses within the area of Health Law are advised to consult the Director or faculty members of the Institute.

JD Specialization Certificate

JD students may specialize in Health Law and Policy and the specialization will be recognized on their academic transcript. To specialize in Health Law and Policy, a student must take Health Law and three additional elective courses. These courses may be selected from the Health Law curriculum: Health Care Ethics and the Law; Mental Disability Law: Civil/Criminal; Health Systems Law and Policy; Advanced Negligence: Medical Malpractice; Public Health Law; Health Law and Policy: Current Issues; Health Law Placement or a Directed Research Paper. One other major paper course (two, in exceptional circumstances) may also serve as an elective toward the specialization. The paper outline must be approved in writing by the Director of the Health Law Institute before the paper is written, and the final paper is subject to review for sufficient health law content. Examples of some of the courses that could be relevant are: Animal Law; Aboriginal Peoples; International Trade Law; Intellectual Property II; or Environmental Law II. All courses counted towards satisfaction of the Health Law and Policy Specialization requirements must be completed with no grade below C, and a weighted average in those courses of at least B (e.g. 70). Where the Health Law Placement is included as one of the four credits, a minimum grade of Pass is required but will not be factored into the calculated average.

NOTE: Except where noted below regarding exchange studies, for the purposes of any Schulich School of Law certificate program, only those courses pursued at Schulich School of Law during the student’s JD studies which lead to successful completion of a Dalhousie University JD degree will be recognized. Students are not permitted to count a course towards more than one certificate.

If a student is participating in an exchange program, s/he can request that one course from that exchange be credited towards the specialization. The course, if approved, can serve as one of the electives in the specialization; it cannot replace a required course in the specialization. The course cannot duplicate a course that the student has taken at the Schulich School of Law. If the course is approved, the student will not be subsequently permitted to receive credit for a course at Schulich which, in the opinion of the Director, has undue overlap with the course taken on exchange. The burden is on the student to demonstrate that the substance and quality of the course fits within the parameters of the specialization, for example, by providing the course description, syllabus, etc. The student must have the course approved by the Director of the specialization prior to taking the course. The Director of the specialization has the final authority to approve the request.

Students interested in registering for the Health Law and Policy Specialization program must register with the Director of the program as early as possible and ideally at the start of second year.


While there is no Health Law and Policy specialization annotation for LLM transcripts, all of the courses (with the exception of LAWS 2167.03: Health Law Placement and LAWS 2157.14: Health Law Exchange) are open to LLM students. In addition, LLM students may do their supervised thesis research within the Health Law and Policy field. Health Law Institute faculty members offer a breadth of experience in areas such as reproductive technologies, death and dying, research involving humans, health reform, health data and privacy, mental health, consent and capacity, public health, women's health, and the effects of health regulation and reform on vulnerable populations including Indigenous peoples. Students interested in pursuing an LLM are encouraged to visit or call the Institute to discuss research interests.

Interdisciplinary PhD

It is possible to pursue an interdisciplinary PhD drawing on such disciplines as philosophy, law, and medicine. Each program of study will be unique and must be negotiated with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and prospective faculty supervisors.

For further information on the Health Law Institute and the Health Law and Policy Program contact: 
    Health Law Institute
    PO Box 15000
    Halifax, NS Canada   B3H 4R2
    Telephone: (902) 494-6881
    Fax: (902) 494-6879