Pre-doctoral Program

The pre-doctoral program is designed for students who already hold master’s degrees and are ready to obtain doctoral training to carry out research in cancer prevention. A prime objective is to train cancer prevention specialists capable of conducting independent research and providing scientific leadership. Pre-doctoral slots can be funded up to four years. At completion of their training, professionals are fully conversant with the broad range of topics in cancer prevention, have deeper training in a specific approaches to cancer prevention (e.g., legal strategies to deter smoking, or policy analysis of resource allocation decisions in cancer prevention), and are prepared to conduct independent research in cancer prevention.

Doctoral candidates complete 20 units of study in their major field of concentration consisting of core requirements and electives. In addition, the School of Public Health requires that students complete 10 units of study in each of two minor fields. Original research is required of all trainees earning doctoral degrees and is supervised by our teaching faculty engaged in ongoing projects.

All doctoral candidates at the Harvard School of Public Health must pass two qualifying examinations: a written examination, administered by their department, and an oral examination that evaluates their understanding of the disciplines relevant to the conduct of their specific thesis proposal. Thesis research is supervised by a committee of three or four faculty. The thesis, which for these fellows focuses on cancer prevention, must be acceptable both to the members of the committee and to the Department. At least one member of their committee must be a member of the Cancer Prevention Education Advisory Committee and provide mentoring in cancer prevention.