Interdisciplinary Concentrations

Senior Leadership Fellows class

Degree candidates have the option of pursuing a variety of interdisciplinary concentrations. These concentrations are non-degree programs designed to deepen students’ experience in academic or professional areas aligned with their career goals. Some concentrations are restricted to students in certain programs.

Women, Gender, and Health

This interdisciplinary concentration is geared toward students who desire careers in research, teaching, and programs related to women, gender, and health. Addressing issues of women, gender, and health (WGH) requires the study of the health of women and girls — and men and boys — throughout the life course; gender, gender equality, and biology must be understood as important and interacting determinants of well-being and disease. Areas of study also include gender and gender inequality in relation to individuals’ treatment by and participation in health and medical care systems; the physical, economic, and social conditions in which individuals live; and their ability to promote the health of their families, their communities, and themselves. Inherent in these studies is the protection of human rights as fundamental to health and the recognition of diversity and inequality among women — and men — in relation to race/ethnicity, nationality, class, sexuality, and age. As the concentration does not offer a degree, prospective students must apply to a degree program in one of the participating departments. Students must fulfill the requirements of the home department, which issues the degree, and the requirements of the concentration, which include core courses in women, gender, and health; gender analysis; and women’s health.

Learn more about the Women, Gender, and Health concentration.

Epidemiology of Infectious Disease

This interdisciplinary concentration has a well-established multidisciplinary approach, with a transdepartmental foundation for education and research that includes the Departments of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Global Health and Population, Health Policy and Management, and Immunology and Infectious Diseases. These departments participate in the interdisciplinary concentration in the epidemiology of infectious disease, which focuses on population studies incorporating both epidemiologic and laboratory methods of addressing global infectious disease. This concentration is intended to provide training for those students who desire careers in research and teaching in infectious disease. As the concentration is a nondegree program, prospective students must apply to a program in one of the participating departments, which will issue the degree. Upon matriculation, students may elect to participate in this concentration. Students are responsible for fulfilling the requirements of the academic program within the home department in addition to the requirements of the concentration. Students who complete the required 15 credits receive a letter of completion.

Learn more about the Epidemiology of Infectious Disease concentration.

Maternal and Child Health/Children, Youth, and Families

The goal of this concentration is to improve the health of children and their families through educating leaders in maternal and child health/children, youth, and families (MCH/CYF). This interdepartmental concentration is geared toward students who desire careers in public health programs for children and their families, and those interested in research and/or teaching in this area. The curriculum focuses on the health problems of the target population, programmatic and policy responses, appropriate research techniques, and specific leadership skills in courses in the four participating departments: Social and Behavioral Sciences, Global Health and Population, Nutrition, and Epidemiology. The MCH/CYF concentration consists of four areas of study: human development and disparities in health, child rights and global health, physical growth and nutrition, and characterization of the health problems of children and their families. As the concentration does not offer a degree, prospective students must apply to a department-based degree program and must complete the requirements for both the academic program and the concentration. The number of required credits for the concentration ranges from 7.5 to 10, depending on the student’s degree program.

Learn more about the Maternal and Child Health/Children, Youth, and Families concentration.

Obesity Epidemiology and Prevention

This interdisciplinary concentration is designed for students interested in training in the theoretical, methodological, and applied knowledge and skills necessary to conduct obesity-related epidemiologic and prevention research. The concentration includes obesity epidemiology and prevention in international settings. Areas of training include assessment of obesity in individuals and populations; biological and social determinants of obesity; epidemiologic and prevention study designs; health and social consequences of obesity; worksite-, community-, and school-based interventions; gene-environment interactions; and global obesity epidemiology and prevention. As the concentration does not offer a degree, prospective students must apply to a degree program, which can be in any of three departments: Nutrition, Epidemiology, or Social and Behavioral Sciences. Students must fulfill the requirements of the home department, which issues the degree, and the requirements of the concentration, which include core courses in nutritional and obesity epidemiology and obesity prevention. The concentration is limited to doctoral and two-year master of science students.

Learn more about the Obesity Epidemiology and Prevention concentration.

Public Health Leadership

This interdisciplinary concentration was developed to improve the leadership skills of students in order to meet the public health challenges facing society in the 21st century. The concentration is geared toward students who desire careers in leading and implementing transformative public health initiatives. The curriculum focuses on theories, models, and skills that will enable students to enter or reenter the public health profession and assume positions of responsibility with confidence and authority. Students explore areas of leadership development through coursework, experiential workshops, hands-on experience, and reflection. As the concentration does not offer a degree, prospective students must apply to a degree program in one of the participating departments: Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Global Health and Population, Health Policy and Management, Nutrition, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Students must fulfill the requirements of the home department, which issues the degree, and the requirements of the concentration, which include the core courses in public health leadership. The concentration is limited to participating departments.

Learn more about the Public Health Leadership concentration.

Humanitarian Studies, Ethics, and Human Rights

Humanitarian emergencies, natural and man-made, have cataclysmic public health implications for communities and especially for the most vulnerable populations. The increasing complexity of humanitarian crises has raised the stakes for providing in-depth and effective training for those who participate in relief and development efforts.  This concentration provides an organized program of study that focuses on the normative underpinnings and practice of humanitarian response. The curriculum covers a broad range of areas including human rights, international humanitarian law, civilian protection, disaster response, coordinated aid, crisis dynamics, sector-based assistance, health and human security of internally displaced people, geopolitical context, monitoring and evaluation, strategic planning, situation analysis, and ethics and standards. Upon completion, students are prepared to assume research, leadership, and managerial roles within the humanitarian and human rights community

Learn more about the Humanitarian Studies, Ethics, and Human Rights concentration.

Nutrition and Global Health

The Nutrition and Global Health concentration is designed to build upon a strong base of ongoing research, teaching, collaborative work, and training in nutrition and global health at the Harvard Chan School. The concentration has four participating departments: Nutrition, Global Health and Population, Epidemiology, and Social and Behavioral Sciences, together with the involvement of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. It takes an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and conducting research about nutrition; its effect on human and economic development; nutrition in humanitarian crisis situations; and the dynamic interplay among the epidemiologic, nutritional, and demographic transitions around the globe. The concentration is dedicated to research that stresses integrative problem solving and evaluation approaches to global health challenges, with a focus on lower- and middle-income countries.

Learn more about the Nutrition and Global Health concentration.