skip to Main Content

Today the principals, rules, and practices of health care compliance are an important part of the responsibilities of many professionals, yet there is little advanced compliance education available.

Health Care Compliance Online (HCC) is an accelerated, fully online, graduate certificate program offered by the University of Pittsburgh School of Law that provides students with an in-depth education in the law and practical applications of compliance. You will learn best practices and will have an opportunity to focus on current and emerging compliance issues and trends.

The Certificate for Health Care Compliance meets the needs of working professionals. You will earn 15 credits of graduate education in health care compliance in just 10 months while continuing to work full time. You will interact with expert faculty from the School of Law and Graduate School of Public Health, current and former federal regulators, and compliance industry experts, as well as you peers from other industries and locations through innovative online applications. Designed for future compliance leaders, our program is ideal for those who work in compliance today and wish to enhance their knowledge and skills, as well as for those who wish to acquire a special understanding of compliance (such as attorneys, administrators, and those in other areas of health care).

Every course in this program is brand new and collaboratively designed by subject matter experts and online learning professionals. This means they not only address the most relevant and timely compliance topics, they also are delivered in an engaging style that fits the online environment and facilitates learning.

HCC Online coursework is asynchronous, meaning there are no scheduled meeting times or locations. You will complete your course work, delivered in weekly modules, based on your own schedule and from any location. Each accelerated graduate course is completed in eight weeks. Courses include both individual and group assignments.  HCC Online is designed to facilitate networking and peer-to-peer communication by utilizing cutting edge collaboration technologies as well as online discussion tools.


Applicants must have earned a baccalaureate degree at an accredited institution. Admissions decisions will be made based on professional experience, academic credentials, and a personal statement.  In some instances, an interview (online or via phone) may be required.

To apply for the program, complete the Health Care Compliance Online Application.

Program Objectives

The objectives of Health Care Compliance Online are to:

  • Provide an understanding of the laws that shape the health care industry in general, and compliance in particular;
  • Help students acquire a deeper understanding of the regulatory context of compliance;
  • Help students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to identify compliance issues, guide change, and navigate complexity while supporting an ethical culture;
  • Identify best practices in compliance management;
  • Enhance critical thinking and problem solving skills in a compliance context;
  • Help students acquire knowledge and skills to manage conflict;
  • Improve students’ communication and presentation skills; and
  • Facilitate peer-to-peer learning and networking opportunities.

Who Should Enroll?

  • Compliance professionals who wish to enhance their understanding and professional development
  • Attorneys who wish to acquire an appreciation of the compliance industry, client needs, and issues
  • Health care professionals who must understand compliance
  • Industry administrators and leaders
  • Those interested in an exciting career change


Each course in Health Care Compliance Online awards three graduate credits and is completed in eight weeks. The program starts in early January of each year. Each year’s cohort takes four core courses, which provide a strong foundation and clear understanding of health care compliance issues. After completing the core curriculum, students customize their final course by selecting topics from among eight different modules. For class descriptions, visit the Health Care Compliance Program Courses and Modules page.

The Core Courses

Introduction to the Legal System for Health Care Compliance

  • Public goals and private incentives
  • Tort law and liability
  • Contract law and liability
  • Corporate law and creating new entities by agreement
  • Legislation and regulation  – establishing public policy and creating private obligations
  • Administrative law – the role of agencies in shaping public policy and their use of enforcement tools

Legal Aspects of Health Care Compliance

  • Compliance program elements
  • Fraud and abuse laws
  • Stark law
  • HIPAA/HITECH privacy and security
  • Conditions of participation
  • Coding and billing, documentation, medical necessity
  • Internal investigation

Professional Judgment and Ethics

  • Organizational ethics, mission and values
  • Professional judgment
  • Core values
  • Managing conflict
  • Health care ethics and business decisions

Effective Compliance Program Development and Skills

  • Implementing and facilitating oversight
  • Risk assessments
  • Creating impactful policies and procedures
  • Training and education strategies
  • Opening and maintaining lines of communication
  • Audit and monitoring
  • Corrective action

Student Structured Final Course

  • Selected Applications in Compliance
    • Students select four modules to customize their substantive focus
    • Examines current issues and specific concerns
    • Students select from:
      • Privacy
      • Advanced Privacy
      • Hospitals and Providers
      • Advanced Hospitals and Providers
      • Quality
      • Research
      • Insurers
      • Life Sciences


Why has Pitt Law decided to offer this program?

We spoke with many employers—large and small—in the health care industry. All said there is a growing need for compliance professionals who understand the reasons behind the rules and can apply specialized knowledge and an understanding of the broader business context to solve problems and work with their organizations to ensure ethical compliance. Our program is designed to meet this need. In addition, our research told us attorneys, administrators, and health care professionals are also interested in a program like ours, because compliance is becoming a more significant part of their responsibilities.

Who should enroll in this program?

Health Care Compliance Online is ideal for compliance professionals who want to augment their professional development. It is also an excellent program for those who may need or want to have a deeper understanding of compliance. Our program is also particularly suitable for attorneys, administrators, health care professionals, and social workers who work with compliance issues. Our research indicates these professionals are particularly interested in the content of our program.

How long does the program take?

Health Care Compliance Online commences each January and concludes each October. Students take one course at a time, but each course is delivered in an accelerated format and is only eight weeks long. This means students take two courses in the spring semester; enjoy a short break; take two courses over the summer; enjoy a second break; and take a final course in the fall semester, finishing in October.

Do the credits earned in Health Care Compliance Online transfer to other University graduate programs?

Students earn 3 credits in University of Pittsburgh graduate education credit for each course completed in the HCC Online program. Students interested in applying HCC Online courses toward other graduate degrees should check with the degree program/institution of interest to determine if the credits will be accepted for that program.

How much does the program cost?

Health Care Compliance Online provides 15 graduate-level credit hours of education. Check the tuition and fees page for the most recent tuition rates. Students should check with their employers to see if they offer tuition reimbursement for this program.

How much work should I expect?

There is a significant amount of work in the program because courses are accelerated. In addition, because there are no extensive lectures, most of the work is self-directed. You choose when and where you do your work. Classes are delivered through weekly modules and include weekly assessments, so you will always know how you are doing and be able to test your understanding of important concepts.

What are the requirements for admission?

Applicants must have earned a baccalaureate degree at an accredited institution. Admissions decisions will be made based on professional experience, academic credentials, and a personal statement. In some instances an interview (online or via phone) may be required.

Will I be required to come to the Pittsburgh campus at any time?

No. While our campus is beautiful, and we welcome visitors, you will not be required to come to campus as part of the program.

I don't have an undergraduate degree with a cumulative 3.0, can I still be admitted?

Students who earned lower GPAs may certainly be admitted based on their work experience, their application, and potentially an interview, which would take place by phone or online.

Who are the faculty?

Our expert faculty is composed of professors from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and Graduate School of Public Health, as well as current and former federal regulators and industry experts.

Are the courses also taught on campus?

No. Each course was developed specifically for an online environment, with content designed for immediate application in a compliance context. Courses are tailored to meet the needs of working professionals who enroll in this program while maintaining their full-time professional pursuits.

Do I have to be online at a specific time to complete the coursework?

No. All course materials can be accessed at any time and students can work on their own schedules to complete assignments by course deadlines. However, group projects will require coordination among your online team members.

What resources will be available to me as a student?

You will have full access to the University of Pittsburgh library system, the Writing Center, and a host of other support services. To learn more, visit the Student Resources page.

What final grade point average (GPA) is needed to successfully earn the certificate?

Students earning the certificate will be required to earn a final GPA of 3.0.

Inquiries and General Information

Feel free to contact us with questions or for application assistance at any time.

Program Director:
Mary Nell Cummings
(412) 383-5061

Back To Top