Professional Communication Seminar

Sharpen your academic and communication skills
to achieve your goals at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health!

August 16–22, 2015

Being a student at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health will challenge your thinking and preconceptions, as well as your ability to critically analyze large amounts of conflicting information, and to communicate your thoughts and arguments clearly and persuasively. This learning environment can be especially challenging for international students, who often need to develop new learning and communication strategies to meet the demands of this very different educational culture.

Students need to be able to:

  • Critically assess conflicting evidence and findings in extensive reading assignments on a wide range of public health topics
  • Write papers that present critical arguments and evidence-based recommendations on ethical, economic, environmental, biological, behavioral, social, policy and other issues that affect health and health care
  • Take an active role in fast-paced classroom discussions and debates
  • Create, lead, and take part in delivering individual and group presentations
  • Manage their time effectively, in order to balance the School’s very demanding workload with other interests and activities

The Professional Communication Seminar (PCS) is a public health academic and communication skills program that will help you succeed and realize the goals you have set for yourself. Since its introduction in 1995, PCS has helped hundreds of international students realize success at the Harvard Chan School by sharpening their writing, oral communication, time management, and critical thinking skills. PCS is a great introduction to both the School’s interactive style of teaching as well as to a network of other highly motivated learners from around the world who will become an important source of support and friendship.

PCS focuses on developing and strengthening the following skills:

  • Writing – Through lectures, exercises, peer review and individual conferences, students learn to write with organization, clarity, and flow so they can produce compelling evidence-based arguments on many topics.
  • Reading – Students learn to analyze the structure and content of articles quickly and accurately, so they can effectively manage the large reading assignments from many courses.
  • Speaking and listening comprehension – Students improve their ability to discuss public health issues and understand rapidly spoken English through numerous classroom activities and during informal lunches with the Schools’ administrators and faculty.
  • Public speaking – Students gain new presentation skills and confidence in giving individual and group presentations, through small-group practice sessions, feedback, and individual conferences.
  • Classroom participation – Students learn strategies for participating in and dealing with the highly interactive, discussion-based classroom.
  • Working in teams– Working together on public health issues, students learn to collaborate, negotiate, solve problems and reach solutions — an essential skill in public health!