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Public Health: Public Health Law and Ethics

PH 310 OL1 (CRN: 61886)

3 Credit Hours

About PH 310 OL1

Public health law examines the government's authority, at various jurisdictional levels, to improve the health of the general population within societal limits and norms. Prerequisite: Bachelor's degree.


Dates: May 20 - June 28, 2019; Open to graduate-level Public Health Students; All other students require instructor permission; Must submit the request at; Students will be notified if permission is granted; Contact student Advisor, Vika Pleshakovaat at for any questions.

Section URL

Section Description

What is the course about? This course examines the government’s authority, at various jurisdictional levels,and, within an ethical framework, to improve the health of the general population within societal limits and norms. Public health law is the study of the legal powers and duties of the state, in collaboration with its partners (e.g., health care providers, business, the community, the media, and academe), to assure the conditions for people to be healthy, and the limits on state powers to constrain the autonomy, privacy, liberty, proprietary, or other legally protected interests of individuals for protection or promotion of community health. Public health ethics seek to understand and clarify principles and values that guide public health actions, offering a framework for making decisions and a means of justifying them. The textbook for this course is "Public Health Law & Ethics: A Reader" by Lawrence O. Gostin, 2d edition (2010), ISBN-13: 978-0520261921. See:

Section Expectation

What will I learn? The course has four basic learning objectives: 1. Understand and discuss the operation of the U.S. legal system generally. 2. Understand and define the role of the police power in public health. 3. Understand and describe the role of law in population health. 4. Understand basic public health ethics. These learning objectives are also intimately related to certain core competencies identified by the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) for the master of public health degree in graduate schools and programs of public health. The primary vision for the ASPH initiative is the graduation of professionals who are more fully prepared for the many challenges and opportunities in public health in the forthcoming decade. See, for example,: Calhoun et al., 2008. Development of a core competency model for the Master of Public Health Degree. American Journal of Public Health, 98(9), pp. 1598-1607.


How is the course taught, and how will students be evaluated? The course will be taught online and utilize online discussions guided by learning objectives/questions specific to the sometimes controversial issues covered. Course grading will be based on the following: 50% Discussion and 50% Short Written Assignments. There will be four short written papers assigned in the course. Each will require you to write 3-4 pages about a specific topic. It is very important to turn posts and papers in on time. Unless you have some emergency, you may lose credit if you turn work in late.




Online Course (View Campus Map)