Why the DrPH Program? Prospective Student Information

Why Public Health? Gabriel Seidman, DrPH ’17

The Doctor of Public Health degree is for individuals with proven potential who want to accelerate their careers, learn high-level, analytical techniques alongside their talented peers, and have a single goal: to lead organizations that will help people live longer healthier lives. 

Join Harvard’s global network of dedicated experts working to devise and implement strategies that improve the lives of millions of people around the world.

We have broken this page into several sections to help you through the admissions process: Who Should Apply, Eligibility Requirements, Financial Aid, Career Outcomes, FAQ’s.and contact info for the Office of Admissions.

Who Should Apply

The Harvard Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) should prepare you for high-level leadership to make a difference in the fields of public health and health care. This interdisciplinary degree provides advanced education in public health along with mastery of skills in leadership, management, communications, and innovation. This is accomplished within a highly collaborative, cohort-based learning program. In just three years (with an option to extend to a fourth year), you should learn how to address complex problems of public health policy and use advanced analytical and managerial tools to lead organizational and societal change. Students learn the scholarship of translation, assembling scientific evidence, and using it to achieve real results in the field. Also, students gain hands-on experience working to achieve a specific public health objective under the guidance of Harvard’s world-renowned faculty.

If you are:

  • Seeking knowledge and skills to drive change and make a difference on the front lines of health, anywhere in the world.
  • Ready for new challenges and new leadership responsibilities as a public health professional
  • Looking to be part of a global network of extraordinary people who will have a significant impact on the world and your career.

We are seeking a special mix of ambitious candidates who have a broad range of accomplishments across the fields of public health and healthcare and are now looking to take the next step in their careers. This innovative, transformative educational experience has been designed so that no prior public health degree is required.

Applications for the next cohort that starts in July 2023 are due by December 1, 2022 (application available in August 2022).

Eligibility Requirements

Admission to the Harvard DrPH Program is highly competitive; all applicants should have, at a minimum:

  • A master’s OR doctoral degree in the health sciences or in another related field or non-US equivalent.
  • At least six years of full-time public health and/or public service experience in a relevant discipline. Advanced degrees will not be considered in lieu of work experience as coursework will build directly on professional skills and experiences. If the work experience was used as a degree requirement, the work experience is not eligible.
  • Prior coursework in public health-related methods and in specific technical areas of public health is also beneficial.

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 healthcare locally, nationally, and internationally.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is determined on a case-by-case basis by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Office of Financial Aid.  However, it should be noted that the Harvard DrPH Program can be costly and financial aid is not unlimited; students will be expected to consider an overall financing strategy including the costs for independent Field Immersion and the third year Doctoral Project.  The Office of Financial Aid website has a fund finder for scholarship/grant information. There, you will find an assortment of opportunities; please look through those and their criteria to ensure you qualify for a particular funding opportunity. The DrPH Program is able to reduce the tuition for our students by 50% for the first and second year of enrollment based on need. This is a DrPH Scholarship offered to DrPH students. You will also find the tuition and fees listed on the OFA website as well as a Cost of Degree tool that gives you information on the total cost of the degree and cost of attendance. 

The Admissions Office also lists Harvard Chan Grant/Scholarships on their website here with instructions on how to apply. On that link, there is also a Harvard-wide scholarships list that requires separate applications and deadlines so please review thoroughly. Finally, there are external scholarship resources listed here.

Career Outcomes

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

For more information on careers and resources available to students, visit the Harvard T.H. Chan School Office of Career Advancement and Office of Alumni Affairs. For more information on DrPH students’ experiential education including summer field immersion, doctoral project, and post-graduate employment, please click here. For information on all graduate employment throughout the School of Public Health, please visit the Graduate Outcomes on the Office of Career Advancement site.