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 that were offered over the past three years. While not all courses will be offered every year, this is an illustrative list:

Courses in Health Law, Ethics and Policy

  • Administrative Law
  • Advanced Constitutional Law
  • Advanced Torts 
  • Asper Centre Constitutional Law Clinical Course
  • Canada’s Health System and Health Policy – Part 1 (offered by the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation)
  • Canada’s Health System and Health Policy – Part 2 (offered by the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation)
  • Case Studies in Health Policy (offered by the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation)
  • Comparative Health Systems Law and Policy
  • Competition, Cooperation and Strategy in Health Care (offered by the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation)
  • Contemporary Issues in Health Law, Ethics and Policy  
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Elder Law
  • Family Law
  • Governance of Pharmaceuticals in the International Context  
  • Health Law  
  • Health Policy and Health Care Market (offered by Rotman School of Management)
  • Health Systems Law and Policy
  • Human Rights as Global Justice
  • Intellectual Property: Copyright, Trademark and Patent
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Intensive Course: Intellectual Property, Medicine, and Health
  • International Human Rights Law
  • International Human Rights Law and Global Health (offered by the School of Public Health)
  • International Human Rights Program Clinical Course
  • International Intellectual Property Law
  • International Perspectives on Health Services Management (offered by the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation)
  • Law, Institutions and Development
  • Law and Policy of Biotechnology
  • Law and Policy of Public Private Partnerships
  • Law of Mental Health
  • Looking Ahead: The Blurred Lines of Technology, Body, and Mind 
  • Mental Health and the Law
  • Mentally Disordered Accused
  • Occupational Health and Safety (offered by Osgoode Hall Law School)
  • Patent Law for the Life Sciences
  • Patent and Trade Secrets Law
  • Privacy Law
  • Privacy Problems
  • Public Health Law and Policy
  • Public Health Law in Canada: the Role of the State, Law and Human Rights
  • Reproductive and Sexual Health Law
  • Research Ethics
  • Scientific Evidence
  • Theory and Practice of Strategic Planning and Management in Health Service Organizations (offered by the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation)
  • Women’s Rights in Transnational Law
  • Workshop: Contemporary Issues in Health Law, Ethics and Policy
  • Workshop: Innovation Law and Policy

Upon acceptance into the concentration, the Associate Dean (Graduate) will review each student’s course selection 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 Thesis Proposal or Coursework Plan of Study. Applicants should substantiate their interest in and suitability for the Health Law, Ethics and Policy concentration through this statement and their letters of reference.  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 Standards and Application Instructions 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 course-related writing requirement which will be fulfilled in a course related to the area of concentration.  This writing requirement will require students to designate one course at the start of either the first or second term as their ‘writing requirement’ course which will include writing assignments totaling at least 3,500 words (combined) throughout the course.
  • 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.