Welcome! We invite you to get to know the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health by exploring our website. Should you have any questions about our degree program offerings, please contact Allison Conary or Barbara Heil in the department’s Education Office.
Below is a list of frequently asked questions from prospective students.
Applications to our masters and doctoral degree programs are reviewed holistically by the selection committees. Academic performance, test scores, relevant work experience, letters of recommendation, and the statement of purpose are all weighed equally during the review process.
What is the difference between the Master of Science and the Master of Public Health?
The distinctiveness of the Master of Science is the strong emphasis on research engagements with contemporary global health and population issues. By graduation, students possess a solid understanding of the major challenges in population and global health; the research tools to examine evidence related to program effectiveness, priority setting and decision making; and insights into the practical aspects of undertaking population health interventions around the world. Graduates contribute to the improvement of global health by pursing a range of careers in applied research, policy analysis, health education, or continuing their studies in a doctoral program.
The Master of Public Health (Global Health Field of Study) explores the emerging professional domain of global health, emphasizing the development of analytical and methodological skills to effectively respond to key challenges affecting the health of populations in a global context. The MPH45 is intended to prepare health professionals with prior relevant experience for leadership and management roles in global health at sub-national, national or international levels.
What funding is available for master’s students?
Regrettably, departmental funding is limited. We strongly encourage applicants to review the external fund database available through the Financial Aid Office.
Is it possible to enroll as a part-time student in the SM program?
No. The GHP-SM2 is offered for full-time student status only. Part-time student status is not permitted in this two-year program.
When do I get an academic advisor?
Advisors are assigned during the summer prior to enrollment; however, students are not expected to meet with the academic advisor until Orientation week. While not required, applicants are welcome to identify a faculty member with whom their research interests align and summarize this in the statement of purpose section of the application. The department seeks to match all students with faculty advisors who share similar professional/research interests.
Is it possible to change my advisor?
Yes, students may choose to change academic advisors after matriculation. While solid efforts are made to match students with an appropriate advisor, there are occasions when a change is beneficial such as when a student decides to change his/her research focus or area of interest.
What types of research opportunities are available?
Opportunities to work with faculty (e.g. RA positions) on research projects occur on an ad hoc basis. During the academic year, such opportunities are advertised and circulated widely among department students who may then respond if interested. There is no formal process for acquiring a research position prior to matriculation.
Can I take courses at other Harvard schools?
Yes. All Harvard Chan students may take advantage of courses offered by the cross-registration consortium. This includes all Harvard Graduate Schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and the MGH Institute of Health Professions (MGH-IHP). Please note, the Harvard Extension School is not part of the Consortium. It is important for students to be aware that travel across campuses can present scheduling difficulties.
What careers do students pursue after graduation?
Alumni of our programs typically find positions within academia/research institutions or work with organizations such as consulting firms, community-based programs, government or ministries of health, and some have even started their own non-profit organizations. For the Master of Science and Doctoral programs, recent job placements are listed in our Department Guide.