Siena College and Albany Law School will offer a joint program in health studies starting this fall for students to earn two degrees in four years.

Students can earn a bachelor of arts (B.A.) in health studies from Siena and a master of science in legal studies (M.S.L.S.) in health law and health care compliance from Albany Law, both within four years.

“This is a highly-tailored program for focused, motivated students,” said Margaret E. Madden, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs at Siena. “It aligns extremely well with current job and market trends and will result in significant tuition costs savings for those enrolled.”

“There are tremendous job opportunities in health care in the Capital Region and beyond, and these opportunities will only expand as the population ages,” said Alicia Ouellette, president and dean of Albany Law School. “Given our partnerships with Albany Medical Center, Albany College of Pharmacy, and St. Peter’s Hospital, students will receive hands-on experience dealing with real legal issues affecting the health care system.”

Health studies at Siena features three tracks of study: health administration, health sciences and health policy, according to program director Duane Matcha, Ph.D., professor of sociology and health studies director. Any of the three tracks can be selected for the B.A./M.S.L.S. program. Students will be required to study at least one of the three areas in depth, and will receive an overview of the healthcare system and critical public health issues.

“Graduates will be qualified to work in the public or private sector,” Matcha said. “With their strong background in legal and compliance issues, they’ll be an excellent fit for the management of health care facilities and organizations, as well as jobs with local, state and federal government agencies.”

Leonard Cutler, Ph.D., director of pre-law at Siena and professor of political science, said the proximity of both colleges to the state capital and the resulting job opportunities for its graduates are a plus for the program.

Students will spend the first three years of the program at Siena, and given the intensive nature of study, they will need to take 17 credits during most semesters as well as summer courses. Coursework during the fourth and final year will be taken at both Siena and Albany Law.

The M.S.L.S. (which is not a J.D.) is 30 credits, 12 of which will be accepted by Albany Law directly from Siena, including coursework in morals and medicine, social epidemiology, and the ethics of science and technology.

Siena in turn will accept credits from Albany Law from among 15 different courses on such topics as public health law, HIPPA compliance, health care in the age of the Affordable Care Act, bioethics and genetics.