Admission to Degree Programs
The degree programs described in this catalog are offered by two schools of Harvard University. The master of science (SM), master of public health (MPH), doctor of public health (DrPH), and doctor of science (SD) programs are offered by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), and the admissions information in this section pertains to them. Applicants to these programs can find complete instructions at hsph.harvard.edu/admissions or can contact the Office of Admissions. The HSPH minimum entrance requirements are outlined in the respective department/program sections of this catalog.
The application for PhD programs, offered under the auspices of the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), is different from that used by applicants to programs administered by HSPH. Applicants to the PhD programs can access the appropriate application at gsas.harvard.edu/prospective_students/application_instructions_and_information.php.
This section contains information on the following:
- HSPH Application Deadlines
- Application Procedures and Requirements
- Application Review
- Tuition Deposit and Financial Certification
December 15, 2014, is the deadline for completed applications for HSPH doctoral (SD and DrPH), MPH, the Harvard MPH in Epidemiology, and SM programs except as explained below.
December 15 is also the deadline for applications to the nonresidential SM in health care management (HCM) program for physician and dental executives in the priority admission cycle. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications by November 27, 2014, to allow time for all their credentials to arrive by the December 15 deadline.
Applicants to the MPH program who wish to participate in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency must apply by October 15, 2014.
February 15, 2015, is the deadline for completing applications to the SM in HCM for review in a second cycle. Applicants should be aware that this degree program may fill to capacity during the priority admission cycle.
Participants in the Summer Program in Clinical Effectiveness, Summer Session for Public Health Studies, and June Course in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics who matriculated in the 2014 summer program and wish to apply for degree candidacy must meet the application deadlines outlined above.
Application Procedures and Requirements
Application to the Harvard School of Public Health is made through the centralized Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS). For more information about this process, see hsph.harvard.edu/admissions.
Required Application Materials Include:
- A completed SOPHAS application that includes a résumé and a statement of purpose written by the applicant. The statement should describe the applicant’s academic and professional history, area of interest at HSPH, reasons for wanting to enroll in the degree program, and professional or academic career plans upon completion of the program. The SM in health care management, MPH, DrPH, and JD/MPH programs have specific requirements for the statement of purpose. Please visit: hsph.harvard.edu/admissions/application-requirements for details.
- Official transcripts from all colleges, graduate schools, and/or professional schools attended, whether or not the courses taken are relevant to a degree in public health. Applicants must have a distinguished undergraduate record and demonstrate excellent performance in any graduate work undertaken. Applicants who have degree coursework from institutions outside of the United States or Canada must submit a credential evaluation from World Education Services (wes.org/sophas).
- Letters of recommendation from at least three people who are well acquainted with the applicant’s academic work and/or professional experience. (Recommendation forms are provided in the SOPHAS application.)
- Official scores of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test. While GRE scores are strongly preferred, some other tests may be substituted in circumstances specified in the application. The requirement for scores from a standardized test will not be waived on the basis of academic or professional background.
- Official scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), if applicable. Applicants (including those who have been U.S. citizens or permanent residents for less than one year) from countries where English is not the language of instruction must submit a score from the TOEFL. Those who have already taken the TOEFL may submit scores that are two years old or less. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam will be accepted if the applicant’s score is 7.0 or above.
- A nonrefundable application fee to SOPHAS. (The amount will vary according to the number of schools designated to receive the application.) HSPH does not charge an application fee.
- Applicants may apply to only one degree program and must satisfy the requirements of the department or program to which they are applying. Those applying to the JD/MPH joint degree program with Harvard Law School, the MD/MPH combined degree program with Harvard Medical School or another medical school, or the joint degree program with Simmons College must satisfy the entrance requirements for both schools. Applicants to SD and PhD programs must demonstrate the ability to undertake original research. All prospective students must apply for either full- or part-time status. Most international students are eligible for full-time study only.
Admission is granted for the summer (for summer programs) or the fall semesters of a particular year (currently September 2015). Students unable to enroll at the specified time may request a deferral, but may be required to reapply.
Applicants are notified as soon as possible (electronically) about the status and review decision of their application. The decision of the Committee on Admissions and Degrees is final and is not subject to appeal.
For all HSPH programs, the Committee on Admissions and Degrees considers the academic ability of applicants, the relevance of their previous education and experience, and their overall qualifications for graduate education in public health, including those qualities of character that reflect on an individual’s suitability to be a public health professional. In decisions about admission and financial aid, the Harvard School of Public Health does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, veteran status, or disability. The increased participation of underrepresented groups in public health practice and research is essential to the advancement of health, and the school is committed to expanding the diversity of its faculty, staff, and student body.
As a matter of policy, students may enroll in only one degree program at a time except for the following approved programs: MD/MPH, JD/MPH, and SM/MSN. Students scheduled to begin a degree program at HSPH in 2015 must show proof of degree conferral for all prior degrees. If an incoming student has not completed the necessary qualifying degree(s) and has not submitted the degree conferral documentation to the Office of Admissions by June 1, 2015, the student will need to request a deferral to begin studies at HSPH in 2016. In the case of extenuating circumstances, students should contact the Office of Admissions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, without delay.
Tuition Deposit and Financial Certification
Applicants who are granted admission must submit a nonrefundable $525 deposit when confirming acceptance of the offer of admission. Accepted applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents must demonstrate that sufficient funds are available in U.S. currency to pay the costs (tuition, fees, and living expenses) of the full period of their academic program. The student’s name must be listed as the account holder or joint account holder. The account must be in U.S. currency and held in a bank that has a branch in the United States. International students supported by personal, family, or sponsor’s funds not paid directly to Harvard University are required to deposit and retain adequate funds in a Boston-area bank in an account bearing the student’s name. Students bringing their families to the United States must transfer and certify adequate funds for their support as well. Please refer to the student expense budget for an estimate of living expenses in the Boston area.)