Doctor of Public Health

Learn to translate knowledge into powerful results as the leader of a public health organization.

The Harvard doctor of public health (DrPH) will prepare you for high-level leadership to make a difference in the fields of public health and health care. This first-of-its-kind, multidisciplinary degree provides advanced education in public health along with mastery of skills in management, leadership, communications, and innovation thinking. This is accomplished within a highly collaborative, small-group learning environment. In just three years—two years at Harvard plus one year in a field-based doctoral project—you will learn how to address complex problems of public health policy and use advanced analytical and managerial tools to lead organizational and societal change. You will learn the scholarship of translation, assembling scientific evidence and using it to achieve real results in the field. And you will gain hands-on experience working to achieve a specific public health objective under the guidance of Harvard’s world-renowned faculty.

Your Future

As a Harvard DrPH graduate, you will be ready to lead. You will be equipped with experience gained through real-world case work and field work conducted at a variety of organizations. You will have the skills to start new organizations or work from within to change existing ones. You will know how to translate public health research into effective policies, programs, and initiatives that dramatically improve individual and population health. You will be comfortable in a leadership role and confident in your public health expertise. And whether you choose to pursue a career in a nongovernmental organization, health ministry, government agency, health care provider, start-up, or more established private sector business, you will be prepared to make a difference.

The Curriculum: Comprehensive, Interdisciplinary, Leadership-Focused

Our innovative educational approach, developed at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to foster transformative leadership in the field, is called the Doctoral Engagement in Leadership and Translation for Action (DELTA) Learning Method.

Your academic training will cover the biological, social, and economic foundations of public health, as well as essential statistical, quantitative, and methodological skills you will need to address today’s complex public health challenges, which rarely fall within neat disciplinary boundaries. You will also shape an individualized course of study in your second year by selecting courses to deepen specific areas of expertise and build skills that you will apply during your capstone project—a year-long field immersion experience during which you will pursue a real-world public health objective with the mentoring and guidance of faculty in the DrPH program.

Learn more about the Doctoral Engagement in Leadership and Translation for Action (DELTA) Doctoral Project and the DrPH curriculum.

The Format

The Harvard DrPH is planned as a 3-year academic program.  The first two years of the Harvard DrPH involve full-time, on-campus study as part of a collaborative cohort of approximately 25 students. Year three will be the culminating experience for the degree—the DrPH DELTA Doctoral Project, which you will undertake in a nonprofit, governmental, or for-profit organization. You will return to the School for periodic reviews and visits over the course of the DELTA Doctoral Project year.  Students have the option to extend the DrPH for a fourth year, which could include additional time for coursework, the DELTA Doctoral Project, or a combination of both.

Who Should Apply?

All candidates for admission to the Harvard DrPH should have, at a minimum:

  • A bachelor’s degree and at least two years of full-time public health and/or service experience OR a master’s or doctoral degree (e.g., MD) in a relevant field, plus experience
  • Completed courses in quantitative areas and in areas of public health; additional research or work experience also beneficial
  • Undergraduate or graduate degrees in the health sciences or in other relevant fields (biology, medicine, psychology, economics, business, health care, population health sciences, etc.)

Beyond the formal qualifications, we seek top applicants who demonstrate an appetite and vision to effect change, displaying the energy and creativity to have already moved along that path early in their careers. We also explicitly seek to admit students with interest and experience across a broad cross-section of public and private areas of public health and health care locally, nationally, and internationally.

If you aspire to a leadership position in public health—whether at a health ministry, government agency, consulting firm, health-related start-up, established corporation, nongovernmental organization, or international organization—the Harvard DrPH will equip you to meet your goals.

Our Community: Committed, Accomplished, Collaborative

As a DrPH student, you will work closely with Harvard’s renowned faculty through rigorous case discussions, simulations, and field experiences in a variety of major public health organizations. You will also collaborate with passionate, highly skilled classmates who bring diverse talents, backgrounds, and creative problem-solving skills to the classroom. The rich relationships you establish during this experience will become lasting sources of collaboration and support, along with the global network you will gain as a member of the Harvard alumni community.