Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and the University of Houston Law Center (UHLC) offer a 6-year combined M.D./J.D. Dual Degree Program. This highly specialized combination of skills is intended for those individuals wishing to pursue careers in areas where medicine and law intersect.
Baylor College of Medicine is ranked #22 in the list of Best Medical Schools, placing BCM in the top 15% of all US Medical Schools (2023 US News & World Report annual list of top graduate schools).
The University of Houston Law Center is ranked #60 in Best Law Schools and #9 in Health Care Law (2023 US News & World Report annual list of top law schools).
Is an M.D./J.D. right for me?
It may be helpful to start by asking yourself a few questions:
- Do you plan practice primarily law or medicine?
- If you plan to practice law, are you interested in fields related to healthcare (e.g., medical malpractice litigation, intellectual property work)?
- If you plan to practice medicine, will you complete a residency program? If so, will it be directly related to your expertise in law (e.g., forensic psychiatry or psychology)? Are you interested in opening or joining a private practice where a legal background is advantageous?
What can you do with an M.D./J.D.?
A dual degree prepares graduates to pursue a career in law, medicine, or both.
Typically, graduates primarily working in health care have completed residency training in the specialty of their choice. M.D./J.Ds. frequently work in highly litigious specialties (e.g., anesthesiology or obstetrics and gynecology) or specialties related to the law (e.g., forensic psychology or pathology). It is common to find them working in academic medical centers, though there are some physicians who pursue a dual degree with the intent of opening a medical practice.
For graduates choosing careers primarily in law, there are many opportunities to utilize the dual degree including work in public health/health policy, biotechnology, hospital administration, intellectual property, food and drug law, or medical malpractice.
What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a dual degree?
Obtaining a medical degree and a law degree separately requires a 7-year commitment (4 for medical school and 3 for law school). The M.D./J.D. dual degree program significantly shortens that timeline by allowing the completion of both degrees in only 6 years. In addition to the time savings, it is financially advantageous with only 2 years of additional cost rather than 3. Due to the compressed timeline, completion of the law degree in 2 years requires summer coursework to meet all degree requirements.
Pursuing a dual degree is a significant monetary investment. You will want to consider whether you think your future earning potential with both degrees will offset the additional cost of pursuing the dual degree.
Students entering the M.D./J.D. dual degree program will spend a total of 72 months (six years) in pursuit of both degrees. During the 6 years, 4 are spent at BCM and 2 are spent at UHLC. Students attend only one program at a time. There is no concurrent coursework.
Admitted students matriculate into the BCM in the fall with all other M.D. candidates. The student remains full-time at BCM for three full academic years of coursework and clinical rotations before moving to UHLC to begin law school.
When matriculating into UHLC, students take a leave of absence from BCM to engage in full-time legal study for a period of 24 months, including at least one summer session. Law school coursework during the summer allows for completion of the 3-year degree in the 2-year timeframe. The BCM Office of the Registrar and Office of Student Affairs help ensure a smooth transition between the campuses.
|Year 1||Baylor College of Medicine|
|Year 2||Baylor College of Medicine|
|Year 3||University of Houston Law Center|
|Year 4||University of Houston Law Center|
|Year 5||University of Houston Law Center|
|Year 6||Baylor College of Medicine|
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is required for admission to UHLC. Students may take the LSAT and apply for admission to UHLC up to the fall of the MS3 year.
Prospective students apply and are accepted independently to BCM and UHLC. Admitted BCM students may take the LSAT and apply for admission to UHLC through the fall of their MS3 year.
Students must be in good academic standing at BCM before entering the J.D. portion of the degree program.
Baylor College of Medicine:
Students must satisfactorily complete 81.5 credits in the pre-clerkship curriculum with a passing grade. Students must satisfactorily complete 74.5 credits in the core clinical clerkships and all other coursework required for graduation. Students must earn 16 elective credits.
University of Houston Law Center:
Students must complete and pass a total of 90 credit hours, 64 of which must have letter grades.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Students in the M.D./J.D. dual degree program will be charged tuition according to the rates effective at the school in which they are enrolled each term. For more information regarding tuition and financial aid, prospective students should contact the Baylor Office of Student Financial Aid, the Office of Student Account Services and the University of Houston Law Center Scholarships and Financial Aid.
M.D./J.D. Dual Degree Program Directors
BCM: Susan Raine, M.D., J.D., LLM, MEd
University of Houston: Jessica Roberts, J.D.