Offered beginning in academic year 2014-15

The area of Health Law, Ethics and Policy encompasses a wide spectrum of legal and ethical challenges posed by quickly evolving changes in health care.  Many of these challenges are pressing and complex, with far-reaching consequences for both individuals and social institutions. The Faculty’s highly regarded health law scholars are at the forefront of this field, with expertise in areas such as bioethics, constitutional law, drug regulation, end-of-life issues, genetics, health systems and insurance, human rights law, reproductive and sexual health law, and research ethics and regulation. Students in this concentration will have the opportunity to study topics of compelling importance in an environment distinguished by an impressive breadth and depth of interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies.

Elements of the Concentration

Students in the Health Law, Ethics and Policy concentration within the Master of Laws (LLM) program can pursue coursework only, or a combination of both coursework and a thesis related to this area. Entry into the concentration is on a competitive basis; participation will be limited to a relatively small group of students in the LLM program.

Click below for a list of our Faculty’s courses in the Health Law, Ethics and Policy area during the 2023-2024 academic year.

Courses in Health Law, Ethics and Policy (2023-2024)

  • Health Law and Bioethics
  • International Human Rights Law
  • Law and Policy of Biotechnology
  • Legal Ethics
  • Looking Ahead: The Blurred Lines of Technology, Body, and Mind
  • Mental Health and the Law
  • Patent and Trade Secrets Law
  • Persons and Bodies
  • Workshop: Contemporary Issues in Health Law, Ethics and Policy

Students also can take graduate level courses at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation.

Upon acceptance into the concentration, each student’s course selection will be reviewed in order to ensure that an appropriate number of credits are devoted to the concentration.

Why the University of Toronto?

The Faculty is home to internationally respected scholars in Health Law, Ethics and Policy, and offers a unique hub of activity in this area that includes courses, workshops, fellowships, conferences and special projects characterized by a sophisticated interdisciplinary focus.  This focus is enriched by associations with other academic departments, programs, institutions and research centres at the University of Toronto, including the CIHR Training Program in Health Law, Ethics and Policy, the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy, the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law program, the Centre for Ethics, and government bodies such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Indeed, our faculty members including leading scholars who hold cross-appointments to the Faculty of Medicine, the Joint Centre for Bioethics, the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation and the School of Public Policy and Governance.

The many opportunities for graduate students include the Health Law, Ethics and Policy Seminar Series  which provides a forum in which local, national and international scholars and policy-makers address matters of timely importance in the health law and policy area. Recent conferences include 2012 National Health Law Conference: Global Health Challenges & the Role of Law and The Ethics of Ghost Authorship in Biomedical Research: Concerns and Remedies. In addition, students are encouraged to apply to the CIHR Training Program in Health Law, Ethics and Policy which addresses the global shortage of experts in the field of health law, ethics and policy by facilitating multidisciplinary training for graduate students and by providing scholarships to support their studies.

Who Should Pursue the Health Law, Ethics and Policy Concentration?

Canadian and international students wishing to both deepen their knowledge in this area and earn a specialized credential for future academic or professional purposes will find the concentration particularly valuable. The concentration is also an especially good fit for those interested in an interdisciplinary approach to health law, ethics and policy.

Application Process

Admission requirements for students in the Health Law, Ethics and Policy concentration are the same as for students in the general LLM program, with the exception that a specific interest in the concentration area must be addressed in the Personal Statement. Applicants should substantiate their interest in and suitability for the Health Law, Ethics and Policy concentration through this statement.  Admission to the program is on a competitive basis, and spots in the concentration will be limited.

Students wishing to pursue coursework and a thesis in the area of Health Law, Ethics and Policy, but who are not accepted into the concentration, may nevertheless be accepted into the LLM program.

All applicants are required to review in detail all of the information and various links within our Admissions webpages.  Answers to frequently asked questions can be found on our Graduate Program FAQ webpage.

Credit Requirements

Coursework-only Option with a Concentration in Health Law, Ethics and Policy  (28 course credits):

Students in the concentration who pursue the coursework-only option would complete 28 course credits in the LLM program. Students pursuing this option would complete:

  • LLM Seminar (1 credit).
  • At least 12 credits of courses from the list of Health Law, Ethics and Policy courses above.
  • Additional courses, either from within or outside of the list of Health Law, Ethics and Policy courses above, to bring them to 28 total credits in the program. 
  • A writing requirement, by either:
    • Designating a three (3) or four (4) credit course, related to the area of concentration, as a writing requirement course and producing one piece of writing that is at least 5,000 words (or approximately 20 pages)
      • Only courses requiring a written assignment of at least 5,000 words will qualify as a designated writing requirement course.
    • Completing a two (2) or three (3) credit directed research project on a topic related to Health Law, Ethics and Policy, requiring a written assignment of 7,000 and 10,500 words, respectively. 
  • Alternative Approaches to Legal Scholarship (3 credits) and LLM Seminar (1 credit).
  • A short, 4-credit thesis in a subject related to Health Law, Ethics and Policy. 
  • 8 additional credits of Health Law, Ethics and Policy coursework from the list above. 
  • If the thesis remains a 4-credit thesis, students will also complete 8 additional credits of coursework, either from the list of Health Law, Ethics and Policy courses, or outside of the list.