PhD Course Requirements

phs-photos-2016-0312020-2021 CURRICULUM & COURSE REQUIREMENTS
These courses satisfy the minimum curriculum requirements for the BPH program, and students are encouraged to seek further coursework in areas of specific interest. Core courses should be selected to broaden the student’s scientific knowledge base, while critical reading courses should build depth in their individual research area. Students may petition the BPH Program to consider more advanced coursework to satisfy core and critical reading requirements. To offer a broad perspective on modern biology, students may enroll in courses offered not only by BPH Faculty but also within other PhD programs affiliated with the Harvard Integrated Life Sciences (HILS), as well as graduate level classes at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A free shuttle bus (M2) connects the Harvard Medical Campus in Boston to the Harvard main campus and MIT in Cambridge, to facilitate travel between these locations if needed for chosen courses.

Please note that the number of “credits” vary at each school. FAS uses a 2, 4, 8 credit system while the Harvard Chan School uses a 2.5, 5, and 10 credit system. Please use the Credit Conversion Chart to see the credit equivalent at each school. GSAS students, including BPH, use FAS credits. GSAS students need to enroll in 16 credits per semester.  

Additionally, all GSAS students are required to take courses for a grade (sometimes referred to as “ordinal”) if the course is offered for both ordinal and sat/unsat.  The only time a student can take a course for ‘sat/unsat’ is if that is the only grading option.  In that case, it is expected that GSAS students receive a satisfactory grade.   This is outlined in the GSAS Handbook.

REQUIRED COURSES (for all BPH students)
1. BPH 201r  Laboratory Rotations  (Fall/Spring)  (Year 1) (4 credits)
2. BPH 219  Biological Sciences Communications (Fall)  (Year 1) (4 credits)
3. ID 201   Core Principles of Biostatistics and Epidemiology (Fall) (Year 1) (4 credits)
4. Med-Sci 300qc Conduct of Science (Fall)  (Year 2) (2 credits)
5. Foundations for Public Health ID 100 (Online course, plus in-person case study (Year 1) (1 credit)
6. BST 272* Computing Environments for Biology  (January) (1 credit) [more introductory course for those with little or no programming experience] or BST 273* Introduction to Programming (Fall 1) (2 credits) [more advanced course for those with previous programming experience]  – *either course can be taken as a pre-requisite for Biostat 281
7. Biostat 281 Genomic Data Manipulation (Spring)  (Year 1, 2 or 3) (4 credits)

At least 3 (12 credits total) of the following 4 credit core courses (or approved equivalent)
Course offerings vary from year to year, so please consult with the course catalog for the most up to date course list. You can also review FAS Course of Instruction website.

FALL
BPH 208  Human Physiology (Fall) (4 credits)
BPH 215 Principles of Toxicology (Fall) (4 credits)
BCMP 200 Principles of Molecular Biology (Fall) (4 credits)
CELLBIO 201 Principles of Cell Biology (Fall) (4 credits)
GENETIC 201 Principles of Genetics (Fall) (4 credits)
HBTM 235 Principles of Human Disease: Physiology and Pathology (Fall) (4 credits)
IMMUN 201 Advanced Topics in Immunology (Fall) (4 credits)
MICROBI 205 Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenesis (Fall) (4 credits)
MICROBI 202 (formerly 214) Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogenesis
and Host Immune Response (Fall) (4 credits)

SPRING
BPH 210 Pathophysiology of Human Disease (Spring) (4 credits)
BPH 222 The Biological Basis of Human Nutrition (Spring) (4 credits)
BCMP 234 Cellular Metabolism and Human Disease (Spring) (4 credits)
CELLBIO 212 Molecular Mechanisms of Cancer (Spring) (4 credits) – not being offered in 2021
GENETIC 216 Advanced Topics in Gene Expression (Spring) (4 credits)
HBTM 200 Pathlogy of Human Disease (Spring) (4 credits)
IMMUN 202 Immune and Inflammatory Diseases (Spring) (4 credits)
MICROBI 201 Molecular Biology of the Bacterial Cell (Spring) (4 credits)

At least 2-3 (6 credits total) of the following critical reading courses (or approved equivalent)
A critical reading course is defined as a course that spends a minimum of 50% of its class time reviewing and discussing primary research on a given topic.

FALL
BPH 304qc Eradicating Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (Fall 2)(2 credits)
BPH 305qc Interdisciplinary Training in Pulmonary Sciences Part I (Fall 1) (Year 2) (2 credits)
BPH 309qc Tumor Cell Signaling and Metabolism (Fall 2, odd years) (2 credits) – not being offered in 2020
BPH 318qc Topics in Immunology and Infectious Diseases (Fall 2) (2 credits)
BCMP 308qc Cell Fate Decisions in Development and Disease (Fall 1) (2 credits)
IMMUN 315qc Therapeutic Human Antibody Engineering (Fall 1) (2 credits)
MICROBI 202* (formerly 214) Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Host Immune Response (Fall) (4 credits) *can also be considered a core course

SPRING
BPH 301qc Molecular Basis for Nutritional & Metabolic Diseases (Spring 1 in odd years, offered next in Spring 1 2021) (2 credits)
BPH 302qc Interdisciplinary Training in Pulmonary Sciences Part II (Spring) (2 credits)
BPH 310qc Molecular Mechanisms of Aging (Spring 1 in even years , offered next in Spring 2022) (2 credits)
BPH 250 Biology and Control of Vector-Borne Parasites (Spring in even years, offered next in Spring 2022)
(4 credits)

GENETIC 216 Advanced Topics in Gene Expression (Spring) (4 credits)
IMMUN 301qc Autoimmunity (Spring 2) (2 credits)
MICROBI 201* Molecular Biology of the Bacterial Cell (Spring) (4 credits)
*can also be considered a core course

300-Level Research Course
Once a dissertation advisor has been selected, each BPH dissertation advisor has a BPH 300-level course associated with him/her for enrollment. Students should register for up to 16 credits* equivalent of dissertation research each semester. [*depending on the number of other courses students are registering for each semester]. Each faculty member’s 300-level course number can be found by searching their name in the my.harvard ‘course search’.

COURSE LOCATIONS FOR DMS and Harvard Chan
DMS curriculum and course locations
Harvard Chan course locations are found through searching on My.harvard
Epidemiology Course Offerings

Want to know what courses are like?  Check out past course evaluations through these tools:
FAShttp://www.fas.harvard.edu/~evals/
HSPH: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/office-of-education/course-evaluations/


SAMPLE CURRICULUM PLAN

First Year: First Summer

 

BPH 201r Laboratory Rotations

Neurobiology 306qc: Quantative Methods for Biologists (=MATLAB Bootcamp – optional, but strongly recommended)

Fall Semester

16 credits total

BPH 219 Biological Sciences Seminars

BPH 201r Laboratory Rotations

ID 201 Core Principles of Biostatistics and Epidemiology

Introduction to Public Health (ID 100) online course, along with in-person case study session

1 critical reading course

*If you took MATLAB and received 2 credits, then you would reach the 16 credits for the fall semester

Spring Semester

16 credits total

BPH 201r Laboratory Rotations or BPH 300-level thesis research credit

BST 272 (during January session) or BST 273 (either course can be taken as pre-requisite needed for BST 281)

12 FAS credits worth of core or critical reading electives

Choose dissertation advisor/begin thesis

Second Year: Fall Semester

16 credits total

MedSci 300qc Conduct of Science

Core or critical reading electives

BPH 300-level thesis research credit

Preliminary qualifying exam preparation

Spring Semester

16 credits total

Preliminary qualifying exam preparation

BIOSTAT 281 Genomic Data Manipulation

BPH 300-level thesis research credit

Possible core or critical reading electives

Preliminary qualifying exam completed

Third and Subsequent Years: 16 credits total each semester Continue thesis research; elective courses optional; report to Dissertation Advisory Committee every 6-9 months

WAIVER OF COURSE REQUIREMENTS
For some students who have successfully completed graduate-level course work, BPH course requirements may be waived if graduate-level competence is demonstrated before the end of the first semester of year 1. A “Course Waiver Form” may be requested from the BPH Program Office. A signed copy will be kept in the student’s file as documentation of the program’s authorization to grant an exemption to a student from further course work in these areas.  However, the number of total course credits required to complete the coursework part of the curriculum will remain the same.  Thus students are encouraged to take more advanced courses, or additional core courses, if a course waiver is approved.


CROSS-REGISTRATION
To learn how to cross register at other Harvard Schools, you can read through the cross-registration website.

If your course has a FAS/GSAS course number associated with it, you can just register for the course.  If a course is only offered by another school, such as the Harvard Chan School or the Harvard Medical School, then you will need to cross-register for the course.  All course enrollments including cross-registration is completed electronically through my.harvard.

ACADEMIC CALENDARS
The most current and complete GSAS academic calendar can be found here.
The most current and complete Harvard Chan academic calendar can be found here

Biostatistics Student Consulting Center
The Biostatistics Student Consulting Center (BSCC) is open for the Spring 2019 semester! Through the BSCC, doctoral students in the Department of Biostatistics provide FREE help to students in the School of Public Health on statistics questions that arise outside of the classroom. Please drop by our walk-in group office hours on Mondays and Thursdays from 1:00-1:50pm in Building 2 Room 428, or schedule one-on-one consultation by submitting an online inquiry.

Contact bscc@hsph.harvard.edu with questions and review their website for the most up to date information.