Doctor of Science

This Doctor of Science program is designed for students who plan careers in epidemiologic research or teaching or for those who aspire to leadership roles in the health professions. Recent graduates are working in major universities, medical schools, research institutes, domestic and international governmental institutions, and private industry.

Applicants to the Doctor of Science degree should hold at least a bachelor’s degree and have a strong background in relevant disciplines (e.g., biology, chemistry, genetics, physiology, bio-engineering, and related social and computational sciences) and mathematics. (Requirements)

Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Doctor of Science (SD)

The MD/SD dual degree program (with the SD in Epidemiology) is offered as an option in the Basic Sciences Track of the MD-PhD Program at Harvard Medical School. Applications for the program should be submitted to the Harvard Medical School MD-PhD Program, through the AMCAS service. If accepted into the MD/PhD Basic Sciences Track, students complete the first two years of medical school, normally applying to graduate programs (such as the SD in Epidemiology) during Year 2 of medical school. A student pursuing the MD/SD would join the Epidemiology Department at the Harvard School of Public Health following an initial 2 years of pre-clinical work at HMS. The first two years of study at HSPH are devoted to class-work. Following this, students are required to pass a written exam, and oral exam and present a successful defense of dissertation. A link to the list of course requirements can be found under the Doctor of Science/Doctor of Public Health description above. Following completion of the SD, the student returns to HMS to complete the last two years of medical school.

At the end of Doctor of Science the program, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate basic skills in core public health sciences of epidemiology and biostatistics (listed in the MPH Curriculum Guide).
  • Develop comprehensive knowledge of the role of epidemiology as a basic science for public health and clinical medicine to provide a quantitative approach to addressing public health and clinical problems.
  • Interpret descriptive epidemiologic results in order to develop hypotheses of possible risk factors for a disease.
  • Critically evaluate public health and medical literature through knowledge gained of the basic principles and methods of epidemiology, including disease (outcome) measures, measures of association, study design options, bias, confounding, and effect measure modification.
  • Develop a foundation for designing valid and efficient protocols to address public health and clinical problems.
  • Apply quantitative skills to analyze and synthesize epidemiologic data related to public health issues.
  • Apply knowledge of the physiology and pathophysiology of human disease to epidemiologic studies.
  • Apply knowledge of classical and modern epidemiologic methods to study design.
  • Develop the skills to interpret the methods for disease screening.
  • Develop substantive knowledge of the epidemiology of infectious and chronic disease and apply this knowledge to public health issues.
  • Design and present an epidemiologic investigation (Dissertation) resulting in a publishable manuscript or grant application.