Doctor of Science


Effective Fall 2016, the five separate Doctor of Science (SD) programs that have been previously offered by the School of Public Health (ScD in Epidemiology; ScD in Environmental Health; ScD in Global Health and Population; ScD in Nutrition; and ScD in Social and Behavioral) will no longer be offered to incoming students. Instead, prospective doctoral students who would like to train with faculty from the Global Health and Population Department should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Program in Population Health Sciences and choose Global Health and Population as their Field of Study.

What is the new PhD program?

The new PhD in Population Health Sciences is offered under the aegis of the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and is awarded by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Students in this program will gain broad, interdisciplinary knowledge in quantitative and qualitative methods of enquiry for understanding the health of populations, and developmental approaches to population health science. In addition, students will belong to one of the following Fields of Study associated with the departments of: Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Global Health and Population, Nutrition, or Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Through students’ explicit selection of the Field of the Study, the new PhD program will retain elements of the former SD program including the ability to choose an “Area of Specialization” within any given Field of Study, while introducing new curriculum aspects including a rigorous program-wide methods course, training in scientific communication, and seminars providing a broad understanding of population health.

Global health and population. The field of global health and population addresses the interdependence of health threats and responses across countries and communities. It is deeply transdisciplinary and applies advanced quantitative and qualitative methods of enquiry from demography, epidemiology, economics, decision science, survey science, health systems research and political analysis to understand the origins of health and disease and to establish the causal impact and social value of health interventions and systems reforms. Particular areas of research focus are health systems and health services; and population and family health related to reproductive maternal, child, and adolescent health and nutrition, and both infectious diseases, such as HIV, TB and malaria, and non-communicable conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental health. This field of study is also concerned with questions of population ethics, humanitarian studies and human rights. PhD in Population Health Sciences students with global health and population as their primary field of study may choose to focus in one of two secondary fields of study:  global health systems or population and family health.

For further details on the new PhD program, please visit this website. It will be continually updated. Prospective doctoral students may also continue to browse the departmental websites for information on faculty expertise, research, and courses, which may assist prospective students in choosing a Field of Study.

What is the admissions process for this new PhD program?

Applications to the PhD Program in Population Health Sciences are due December 1, 2015. Information about the admissions process for this new PhD Program In Population Health Sciences may be found here starting soon. Applicants may wish to visit the GSAS Admissions website for general information for prospective students.