Frequently Asked Questions

students in class

Can I have a full-time or part-time job while I am enrolled in your program?

We strongly encourage students who are enrolled on a full-time basis to be very careful about working too much while they are in school, particularly in the first year of the program.  Our programs are rigorous and we are on a quarter system, which makes the coursework more intense because it  means that every 7-8 weeks, most or all of your courses will change.  Almost all Harvard Chan classes meet during the day, which  makes it difficult to schedule classes and a job.  If you have a flexible employer and your job is located nearby, you may be able to maintain some part-time hours while studying.  However, we strongly recommend working no more than 10 hours per week.

Does being an international student put me at a disadvantage in gaining admission to this program?

Absolutely not!  Harvard Chan and HPM value diversity and a large portion of our students come from countries other than the United States.

professor writing on chalkboardWhere else can I cross-register?

Harvard Chan students may enroll in courses offered by any one of the other Harvard faculties, including MIT, Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

Do I need to stay in Boston for my required practicum?

No, the practicum requirement can be met by working at an approved placement in any corner of the world.  In recent years, students have done their practicums in locations as diverse as Tanzania, the Philippines, Switzerland, France, and many US locations other than Boston.

photo of class in classroom

I’m considering applying to the PhD Program in Health Policy.  Where can I find more information?

Candidates with a record of success in undergraduate study and strong interest or experience in health policy are eligible to apply. Although student backgrounds vary and a previous graduate degree is not required, most successful applicants have a prior master’s degree and/or relevant work experience in the field of health policy.  For information on Harvard’s PhD program in Health Policy, please visit or contact

What should my Statement of Purpose include?

Do not underestimate the importance of this statement. It is your opportunity to write about your qualifications, motivations, and potential to make a contribution to the field of public health. However, it should not be a replication of your resume/CV. Instead, you should write about:

1. Your academic and/or professional preparation for a career in public health;

2. Why you want to enroll in the degree program to which you are applying;

3. Your career plans upon completion of the program at HarvardChan.

When will I find out if I am accepted or not?

The School’s Admissions Office begins to send admission decisions in late February/early March. However, not all decisions are sent at this time because departments and the Committee on Admissions and Degrees may not yet have completed their review of all applications.  Notifying applicants of our decision is a top priority, and we attempt to get our admissions decisions out to applicants as quickly as possible.

How do I find information on financial aid?

If you plan on requesting financial aid, you may want to get started by looking for sources of funding. The HarvardChan Student Financial Services Department has some extremely important information you may review:

Scholarship information can be found at the following link:

Any questions regarding financial aid should be directed to Harvard Chan Student Financial Services at 617.432.1867.

What funding is available for master’s degree students?

Regrettably, departmental funding is limited. We strongly encourage applicants to review the external fund database available through the Harvard T.H. Chan Financial Aid Office

When do I get assigned a faculty advisor?

Advisors are assigned prior to enrollment; however, students who start in the Fall are not expected to meet with the academic advisor until after Fall Orientation week. If you will be joining us in the Summer session, your advisor will be assigned prior to your orientation in July.  Please keep in mind that many advisors are not available to meet during the summer months.  In each case, you will be notified when your advisor information has been made available in your my.harvard portal.  For more information on navigating your working relationship with your advisor, please visit:

Will I be able to work with a faculty member on their research?

Opportunities to work with faculty (e.g. RA positions) on research projects occur occasionally and on an ad hoc basis. Such opportunities are advertised and circulated widely among department students who may then respond if interested.

How do you evaluate applications? What do you look for in applicants?

The HPM admissions committees review applications holistically. GRE scores, grades, experience, letters of recommendation and the statement of purpose are all weighed in the review process. We recommend spending time to craft your statement to reflect your interest of study and address the following questions:  Why public health?  Why Harvard?  Why Health Policy/Management?  How will this degree help you get to where you want to go?