Summer-Only MPH

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health offers a summer-only option for the MPH-45 program in two fields of study: clinical effectiveness and quantitative methods. Qualified students with an interest in the areas of clinical effectiveness or quantitative methods may complete the MPH-45 by taking courses offered during the Summer Session for Public Health Studies. The summer-only 45-credit MPH program is available only for the two fields of study noted, and the selection of courses is limited. The degree requirements take three years to complete, over three consecutive summers. Applicants to the summer-only MPH-45 program must hold a doctoral degree; applicants holding only a bachelor’s or master’s degree are not eligible for the summer-only MPH-45 option. Students selecting a summer-only degree option may not take courses during the academic year.

Program Options and Admissions Requirements

The summer-only MPH-45 program fields of study in clinical effectiveness and quantitative methods share most of the same course offerings; however, the entry point for each field of study is different.

Clinical Effectiveness

The MPH-45 in the clinical effectiveness field of study is available only to physicians who have completed their residency and have the financial sponsorship of their home hospital or university. The clinical effectiveness field of study is intended to prepare clinicians for leadership roles in evaluating and improving all aspects of health care delivery. Clinical effectiveness is concerned with identifying the most appropriate, ethical, and cost-effective means of providing health care through prevention, early-detection, and treatment. Students in this program must be admitted to and attend the Program in Clinical Effectiveness (PCE), an intensive seven-week, 15-credit program during their first summer. Applicants interested in the summer-only MPH-45 in clinical effectiveness must complete the SOPHAS application and indicate their interest in both the MPH-45 and PCE programs on the application. In addition, applicants must review and complete the degree application instructions.

Quantitative Methods

The summer-only MPH-45 in the quantitative methods field of study is open to individuals with an MD or PhD. The quantitative methods field of study is designed to prepare health care professionals whose key strength will be in the application of numeric analysis to the health needs of communities large and small. The field of study emphasizes study design, data analysis, and the application of quantitative methods to decision-making and to research in public health. Students pursue courses in a variety of areas, such as the distribution of diseases and behavior.


Courses are offered for both fields of study during the Summer Session for Public Health Studies during an intensive seven weeks beginning in early July. (The seven weeks cover both Summer 1 and Summer 2 sessions). Students will take between 10 and 15 credits each summer during three consecutive summers. Between summers, students are expected to work on applied research projects to complement their didactic training. Summer-only MPH-45 students are also permitted to apply for courses offered during Winter Session.

2015 Summer Session for Public Health Studies: July 1 – August 14
Session 1: Wednesday, July 1  Friday, July 24
Session 2: Monday, July 27 Friday, August 14

Practicum and Culminating Experience

This opportunity permits a field practicum wherein students can apply techniques acquired from the classroom to active investigations. The primary goal of this program is to provide students with the broad-based competencies needed to perform these investigations. Finally, all students must present the results of their projects in a capstone seminar held during the last summer of their program.

Clinical Effectiveness

For students in the clinical effectiveness field of study, an off-site practicum will be developed whereby students complete an applied research project at their home institution under the supervision of a local mentor and a member of the faculty at the Harvard Chan School. The nature of the projects should be relevant to student’s goals. These projects may include aspects of clinical epidemiology, health services research, or quality improvement.

Quantitative Methods

The practicum for the quantitative methods field of study will follow the same guidelines and will focus on a variety of quantitative public health subjects. The practice will provide students with a culminating experience that combines work during the year primarily between Summer II and Summer III with contact with fellow students via email and study groups.