Department Announcements

Bert HofmanDr. Albert Hofman has been named the Stephen B. Kay Family Professor of Public Health and Clinical Epidemiology and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology.

Dr. Hofman comes to Harvard from the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he was Professor of Epidemiology and Chair, Department of Epidemiology.

Dr. Hofman is an internationally recognized scientific leader in the epidemiology of common neurologic and vascular diseases, in particular dementia and stroke. He was the initiator of pioneering studies on the role of vascular factors in the etiology of Alzheimer disease and a leader in initiating genetic studies of complex diseases in large populations. Dr. Hofman was instrumental in founding the genetic epidemiologic laboratory in the Erasmus Epidemiology Department in the late 1980s. In addition, he has a wealth of expertise and a background in extensive leadership and administrative experience, having been chair of a large Epidemiology Department for over twenty years. Since 1990, Dr. Hofman’s work has been based in the original Rotterdam cohort studies that he initiated, as well as the Generation R cohort studies that were later introduced in 2002. Dr. Hofman’s work is notable for the timely application of advanced technologies, such as MRI imaging and genomics, to population-wide observational epidemiologic studies bearing on important clinical entities. Dr. Hofman’s record of investigation is extraordinary in both quality and quantity, and it also directly reflects outstanding scientific leadership and program development, affording scores of younger investigators and collaborators the opportunity to pursue their hypotheses within the Rotterdam cohorts and craft productive scientific careers.

Dr. Hofman received an MD in 1976 from the University of Groningen, and a PhD in 1983 from the Erasmus University Rotterdam. He was appointed in 1981 as an Assistant Professor at the Erasmus University Medical School and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1984. Since 1988 he has been full Professor and Chair in the Department of Epidemiology at the Erasmus Medical Center. In addition, Dr. Hofman has been a Science Director at the Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences since 1992, as well as an adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at our School since 1998, and a Visiting Professor of Clinical Epidemiology since January 2016. Dr. Hofman has an excellent record of teaching, including being the initiator and program director of the Erasmus Summer Program since 1991, and teaching the summer session courses on Fundamentals of Epidemiology and on Study Design in Clinical Epidemiology at Harvard.


Effective Fall 2016, the five separate Doctor of Science (SD) programs that have been previously offered by the School of Public Health (ScD in Epidemiology; ScD in Environmental Health; ScD in Global Health and Population; ScD in Nutrition; and ScD in Social and Behavioral) will no longer be offered to incoming students. Instead, prospective doctoral students who would like to train with faculty from the Epidemiology department should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Program in Population Health Sciences and choose Epidemiology as their Field of Study.

What is the new PhD program?

The new PhD in Population Health Sciences is offered under the aegis of the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and is awarded by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Students in this program will gain broad, interdisciplinary knowledge in quantitative and qualitative methods of enquiry for understanding the health of populations, and developmental approaches to population health science. In addition, students will belong to one of the following Fields of Study associated with the departments of: Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Global Health and Population, Nutrition, or Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Through students’ explicit selection of the Field of the Study, the new PhD program will retain elements of the former SD program including the ability to choose an “Area of Specialization” within any given Field of Study, while introducing new curriculum aspects including a rigorous program-wide methods course, training in scientific communication, and seminars providing a broad understanding of population health.

For further details on the new PhD program, please visit this website. It will be continually updated. Prospective doctoral students may also continue to browse the departmental websites for information on faculty expertise, research, and courses, which may assist prospective students in choosing a Field of Study.

What is the admissions process for this new PhD program?

Applications to the PhD Program in Population Health Sciences are due December 1, 2015. Information about the admissions process for this new PhD Program In Population Health Sciences may be found here starting soon. Applicants may wish to visit the GSAS Admissions website for general information for prospective students.

Missed The Cutter Lecture or just want to watch it again?

Check out this link to the video! Enjoy!

Working on your SD? Want to add a Masters in Biostats?

Who is Eligible?
• Students currently enrolled in the Epidemiology Department Doctor of Science degree program, who have a previously earned doctoral degree of any kind, or a relevant master’s degree (MPH, MS in Epi, Biostat or another quantitative field).
• Completion of multi-variable calculus and linear algebra; as well as knowledge of a programming language, which could be a statistical programming language such as SAS or Stata
• Substantially enhanced quantitative skills;
• Enhanced employability with added credential
Program Requirements
• 25 Ordinal credits in the 1 year Biostats Master’s core with grades of B- or better (Biostatistics Handbook)
• Any course previously taken as part of a non-Biostatistics Master’s Degree at HSPH cannot be counted toward the SM1 in Biostats.
How to Apply:
Students should apply using the Registrar’s internal application

Please inform Ellen Furxhi ( and your advisor when you submit the application.