Frequently Asked Questions

Degree Programs

Eligibility

Application Components

International Applicants

Financial


What degree programs does HSPH offer?
HSPH offers programs leading to the graduate degrees of Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science (SM) in a public health discipline, Doctor of Public Health (DrPH), and Doctor of Science (SD) in a public health discipline. In addition, the School offers a two-year, part-time MPH in Epidemiology with online and residential components, and a part-time non-residential Master of Science in Health Care Management. The school also participates in PhD programs, which are offered under the ageis of the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. PhD programs are offered in the areas of Biostatistics, Health Policy, and the Biological Sciences in Public Health.
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What are the differences between the various degrees offered?
Our MPH is generally practice oriented and is considered a professional degree program. The 80-credit and 42.5-credit SM are research oriented and students must fulfill core requirements in Biostatistics and Epidemiology. The SD is designed for students with interests in the scientific basis of public health and preventive medicine who wish to pursue academic or research careers. The DrPH is a leadership degree for those interested in leading organizations that will help people live longer, healthier lives.
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Does HSPH offer any joint degree programs?
We offer joint MD/MPH, DMD/DDS/MPH and JD/MPH degree programs. The MD/MPH program is for students currently enrolled in a medical school in the United States. Applicants apply at the beginning of their third year of medical school. Admitted students enroll between their third and fourth years of medical school. The DMD/DDS/MPH is for students currently enrolled in an accredited U.S. dental school only. The JD/MPH program is for students studying at Harvard Law School only. Applicants may apply concurrent with the application to HLS or during the first year of law school. See the MPH website for more details on MPH dual degrees. HSPH also offers a MSN/SM through Simmons College.
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Does HSPH offer any distance or online degree programs?
Yes, the School offers an MPH in Epidemiology in which one-third of the credits will be completed on campus, with the remaining two-thirds completed online and through field based experiences.
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Can I take courses at other Harvard schools?
Yes, students in most degree programs may enroll in courses offered by one of the other Harvard faculties, MIT, or Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Obtaining credit for cross-registered courses is permissible only for graduate-level courses appropriate to the student’s HSPH degree program and if a similar course is not available at HSPH.
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I only have an undergraduate degree. Am I eligible for admission to the MPH program?
Applicants who hold a prior bachelor’s degree only are eligible for our 80-credit and 60-credit Master of Science programs, and most SD programs. The MPH program requires a prior doctoral or graduate degree in a health related field and three years of relevant experience. Please see our eligibility page for details.
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Does HSPH require work experience before applying?
Some departments require or prefer applicants to have relevant work experience. Applicants should refer to the department overviews in the Official Register Catalog for information regarding any such requirements.
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Can I take a course without enrolling in a degree program?
Harvard faculty and staff, employees of Harvard-Affiliated hospitals, HSPH alumni and certain other Boston-area public health professionals may register for a maximum of 10 credits per semester as non-degree affiliates of the school. TAP/Affiliates must register in person at the HSPH Registrar’s office.

Individuals who do not fall into one of the categories listed above may apply for special student status. Applicants for special student status are subject to the same admission and registration requirements, deadlines, and procedures as applicants for degree candidacy.
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How do I apply to HSPH?
You can apply online by visiting SOPHAS.
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When is your application deadline? Is it flexible?
For most degree programs, applications should be submitted electronically and all application materials should be received by SOPHAS before December 15. (We encourage you to submit your application by mid-November.) The Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency Program has a deadline of October 15. The part-time, non-residential Master of Science in Health Care Management has a priority deadline of December 15 and a final deadline of February 15. The deadline for the MPH in Epidemiology (online, on-campus) has been extended to December 31, 2014. All SOPHAS deadlines are by 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the application deadline date. See GSAS for PhD deadlines.
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What are the general application requirements?
In order for your application to be considered complete, you must submit the following through SOPHAS:

  1. Statement of Purpose and Objectives
  2. Test scores
  3. 3 Letters of Reference
  4. CV/Resume
  5. Official transcripts/mark sheets from all post-secondary institutions (non-US credentials must be evaluated by World Education Services)
  6. Completed SOPHAS application

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Where do I send my application materials?
All applications should be submitted electronically through SOPHAS. You can submit your application materials to the following address:
SOPHAS
P.O. Box 9111
Watertown, MA 02471-9111
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What are the GRE & TOEFL designation codes for HSPH?
Applicants should report their GRE general test and TOEFL scores to ETS designation code 3456.  We do not have any departmental codes.
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What test scores are required and what are the minimum test score requirements?
HSPH applicants are required to submit official GRE test scores. Because of the preferences of the admissions committees, we recommend that the GRE scores submitted are from an exam taken in the last five years. There is no minimum GRE score requirement.

The TOEFL or IELTS test is required for all applicants who have not received a degree from an institution where English was the language of instruction. The minimum TOEFL score is 600 on the paper-based test, 250 on the computer-based test, or 100 on the Internet-based TOEFL. The minimum IELTS score is 7.0.
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Are other test scores accepted in lieu of the GRE?
DAT: Applicants may submit the DAT if they have been awarded a degree from (or are currently enrolled in) a graduate-level dental degree program at an accredited dental school in the United States.
GMAT: Applicants may submit GMAT scores if they have been awarded a degree from (or are currently enrolled in) an accredited MBA or DBA program. Applicants to the 80-credit SM in Health Policy and Management may submit GMAT scores.  Applicants holding or earning domestic or foreign equivalents of the MBA or DBA are not eligible to submit GMAT scores in lieu of the GRE.
LSAT: Applicants may submit LSAT scores if they hold (or are currently enrolled in) a graduate-level law degree program at an accredited law school. Applicants should also be aware the LSAC will not send scores to schools that are NOT schools of law. LSAT scores should be sent directly to you and forwarded to the HSPH Admissions Office in the original sealed envelope.
MCAT: Applicants may submit the MCAT scores if they hold an MD or DO or are currently enrolled in an MD or DO degree program at an accredited medical school in the United States or Canada.
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Are there interviews as part of the application selection process?
Some degree programs may include interviews as part of the application process.
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I am an international student. Are there different test score requirements?
The TOEFL or IELTS test is required for all applicants who have not received a degree from an institution where English was the language of instruction.
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Can international medical graduates submit the results from the USMLE?
No, international applicants who have not taken the MCAT as a requirement for admission to a medical school may not submit results from the USMLE. Those applicants must submit GRE scores.
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Are there special considerations for international applicants taking the GRE?
Many international test centers no longer offer the computer-based test. Applicants in affected countries should plan to take the paper-based test no later than October. This will allow the GRE scores to be reported by the December 15 application deadline. Please visit the GRE Test Centers webpage for more information and a listing of the test centers.
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What are the requirements for foreign transcripts?
Applicants who will be submitting documentation from post-secondary institutions outside of the United States and/or English-language institutions in Canada need to have their documents evaluated by World Education Services (WES). Please note that evaluations from WES will allow our reviewers to better understand the educational system in which you studied, which may be beneficial for your application review.
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I am an international applicant who has been admitted. Will I need a visa to attend?
If you are not a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., you can apply for either an F-1 or a J-1 visa through HSPH by filling out our Financial Certification for International Students form. You must prove that you have the finances available to cover tuition, fees and living expenses for your first academic year. We will then issue you an I-20 or DS-2019 which you will take to the embassy in order to apply for a visa.
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What is your tuition?
A complete breakdown of our tuition and fees is available from Student Financial Services.
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How will I finance my education at HSPH?
Financial Aid at HSPH can come from a variety of sources. Some departments have training grants offering students full tuition plus a stipend. Through need- and merit-based programs, other students are offered grants that range from half to full tuition. To supplement other aid, many students borrow through one or more of the federal educational loan programs and work at part-time jobs at Harvard and in the community. Eligibility for most financial aid requires U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status.
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How do I apply for financial aid?
Financial Aid applications can be obtained by visiting Student Financial Services.
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