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LAW 0631: Public Health Law (Can be taken concurrently with Empirical Legal Research Methods)
Spring 2023 • Section 22 • CRN 3954

Course Description

This course surveys the broad terrain of law and the public's health. It covers both the "laws on the books" and the problems of actually implementing these laws in the often highly politicized and culturally sensitive context of health and behavior. Topics include the basic powers, duties and limitations of state health authorities in the United States; the epidemiological influence of law on health and health behavior; the global system of health governance; and the application of a human rights framework to health issues. Health topic areas covered include communicable diseases (HIV, SARS, emerging infections), tobacco, substance abuse, chronic diseases and infections. We will also devote considerable time to reading about and discussing how health is "socially constructed" and how stigma, economic self-interest and other cultural responses to disease complicate efforts to promote public health. Students will take an exam at the conclusion of the course. Both Law students and students seeking a Masters in Public Health will participate in the course. This 2 credit version does not count toward the Public Health Certificate Program.


Day/Time Location Note
M 4:00-5:50 PM Barrack 102 Every other week starting the first week of the semester (7 in-person meetings)(A)
M 4:00-5:50 PM Online Meeting Plus 7 weeks of asynchronous assignments during the weeks class does not meet in person

Course Details

  • Scott Burris
  • Adam Herpolsheimer
Credit Hours

2 Credits



Course Type
  • Exam
Course Modality


Fulfills J.D. Requirement




Registration Info

Registration Notes

This course is offered as a ""hybrid"" course. Most students take it as an exam course. A limited number of students may take it as a writing seminar. Request course number 631 to take this course as an exam course (this 2 credit version does not count toward the Public Health Law Certificate.) Request course number 954 to take this course as a3 credit writing seminar. NOTE 1: This course has been designed to allow simultaneous enrollments in Empirical Legal Research Methods, so it can be taken concurrently with Public Health Law (5058 or 0954). Each class will meet in person 7 times over the course of the semester on alternating Mondays. The alternating in-person meet times will give the student additional time to complete the asynchronous workload for each course if both courses are taken. Please contact with any registration issue preventing you from enrolling.

Equivalent Courses

You may not register for this course if you are enrolled in or have already taken the following:

  • LAW 0954 (Public Health Law (Can be taken concurrently with Empirical Legal Research Methods))

Book List/Materials