Overview: Degrees, Programs, and Requirements

Types of Degrees Offered

Master’s Degrees
SM (Master of Science) – The 80-credit and 60-credit degrees require a prior bachelor’s degree; the 42.5-credit degree requires a prior master’s or doctoral degree.
MPH (Master of Public Health) – MPH candidates are expected to have an MD, JD, or health-related doctoral or prior master’s degree plus experience. Note that applicants to the summer-only MPH program must hold a doctoral degree.

Doctoral Degrees
DrPH (Doctor of Public Health) – Requires a prior bachelor’s degree or non-U.S. equivalent and at least two years of full-time public health and/or service experience.
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)  – Offered under the aegis of the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Individual degree programs have specific requirements. For more information, please consult the section of this catalog devoted to your program of interest.

Master’s Degree Programs, 2014-15
SM (80 credits) SM (42.5 credits) MPH
Computational Biology & Quantitative Genetics
Environmental Health

  • Exposure, Epidemiology & Risk
  • Occupational Health


Global Health & Population

Environmental Health

  • Exposure, Epidemiology & Risk
  • Occupational Health


Health Care Management

Health Policy & Management

Social & Behavioral Sciences

Dual Degree

  • SM/MSN (Master of Science in Nursing), a maternal and child health program offered with Simmons College
Schoolwide, interdisciplinary program with fields of study in:

  • Clinical Effectiveness
  • Global Health
  • Health & Social Behavior
  • Health Management
  • Health Policy
  • Occupational & Environmental Health
  • Quantitative Methods

Dual Degrees

  • JD (Doctor of Law)/MPH; for Harvard Law School students only
  • MD (Doctor of Medicine)/MPH

Harvard MPH in Epidemiology
Online and on campus

SM (60 credits)


Doctoral Degree Programs, 2014-15
Interdisciplinary professional degree
Biological Sciences in Public Health

  • Genetics & Complex Diseases
  • Immunology & Infectious Diseases
  • Molecular & Integrative Physiological Sciences
  • Nutrition


Health Policy

Population Health Sciences

Additional information on all programs, including course requirements and electives, is available at hsph.harvard.edu/academics.

The names of the departments generally convey their educational and research specialization. Where concentrations or fields of study are available within some departments, these are listed in the chart. Interdisciplinary concentrations are described separately.

Department areas of interest, described in this catalog but not listed in the chart, are less formal than concentrations, each providing a direction of study within a degree program.

Schoolwide Degree Requirements

All HSPH degree programs require the completion of some coursework intended to ensure basic competencies in public health sciences. Prospective students should consult the descriptions in this catalog for more information about particular programs and their specific admission and degree requirements.

Professional Master’s Degrees
The MPH is a practice-oriented, interdisciplinary professional degree that requires students to:

• Fulfill core requirements in biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health services administration, and social and behavioral sciences.
• Complete a practice experience and a culminating experience, demonstrating integration of public health knowledge.

Research-Oriented Master’s Degrees
For SM programs, students must fulfill the core requirements in biostatistics, epidemiology, and a broad exposure to public health.

Professional Doctoral Degree
The DrPH is an interdisciplinary professional degree for students with a primary career orientation toward senior leadership roles in the transformation of the public’s health both locally and globally.

DrPH students must fulfill the following requirements:
• Completion of the core requirements in biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health services administration, and social and behavioral sciences.
• Completion of a field experience residency year.
• Completion of a written culminating project.
• Payment of two years of full-time tuition and one-year of full-time reduced tuition.

Research-Oriented Doctoral Degrees
Students in HSPH PhD programs must adhere to the doctoral timetable for maintaining satisfactory progress and must fulfill the following requirements:
• Completion of coursework in one major field (20 credits) and two minor fields (10 credits each).
• Completion of courses in introductory epidemiology and intermediate biostatistics.
• Completion of a broad exposure to a public health course (2.5-5.0 credits).
• Completion of the schoolwide oral qualifying examination, usually by the end of the second year. (Some departments also require a written qualifying examination.)
• Completion of a program of independent and original research in one of the basic disciplines of public health.
• The presentation and submission of this research in a dissertation and the public defense of the dissertation.
• Payment of at least two years of full-time tuition and one year of full-time reduced tuition.

• Download the HSPH Student Handbook for detailed information about requirements, timetables, and procedures:
• Additional application and enrollment information.