HPM Independent Studies

This page is to help students who are interested in doing an Independent Study as part of their degree program.

If you have any questions at all, please reach out to Jen Moltoni (jmoltoni@hsph.harvard.edu) or Doug Scaffidi (dscaffidi@hsph.harvard.edu).

What is an Independent Study?

Please see the Harvard Chan School’s Student Handbook for the  explanation of what an Independent Study is:  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/student-handbook/academic-support/independent-studies/

I am interested in doing an Independent Study with a member of the faculty within HPM or within the Harvard Chan School.  How do I set this up?

  1. Meet with the faculty member who you want to do the study with.  Work out the details of what the project will be, decide  the deliverables of the project, and agree on the timing, structure, and number of credits that the project will be.
  2. The student will then need to sign up for the course via my.harvard.  All HPM Independent Studies will be HPM 300 courses, however, because there are so many of these courses for each faculty member, it is usually best to search for the faculty member’s last name in the course catalog, and then see if that faculty member has a HPM 300 course listed within the semester or quarter that is of interest.
    • If the faculty member does not have an Independent Study listed, or does not have one listed in the desired timeframe, please reach out to either Doug Scaffidi (dscaffidi@hsph.harvard.edu) or Jen Moltoni (jmoltoni@hsph.harvard.edu).  They can assist you with setting up the appropriate section so that you can register for it.
  3. If the student would like to sign up for an independent study with a Harvard Chan Faculty Member that is not appointed in HPM, and there is no Independent Study listed for that person in the course catalog, the student will need to reach out to the administrator of that faculty member’s home department for assistance.

I am interested in doing an Independent Study with someone who is either not appointed at Harvard Chan, or does not have an appointment at Harvard Chan that allows them to have an Independent Study.  How do I proceed?

  1. Follow Step 1 (above).  Once the project is all set, the student can either ask their faculty advisor, or the field of study leader to sponsor their project.  This HPM faculty member would need to be sent a formal request via email with the details of the project for approval.  The student should cc either Doug Scaffidi (dscaffidi@hsph.harvard.edu) or Jen Moltoni (jmoltoni@hsph.harvard.edu) on this email.  If the faculty member agrees, the student will then connect this HPM faculty member person with the project supervisor, so that they can touch bases over the course of the project.  At the end of the semester or quarter, they will connect with the project supervisor and find out if the student will pass the Independent Study or not.  The HPM faculty member will then be responsible for entering a grade for this project.
  2. Follow Step 2 (above) for your HPM faculty sponsor.

A few things to remember about Independent Studies:

  • Independent Studies are always pass/fail.  They cannot be taken for an ordinal grade.
  • Students must follow all registration deadlines when signing up for an Independent Study.  With this in mind, please be sure to give the faculty members involved ample time to agree to supervise your project.  Requests to faculty members should happen well before the add/drop deadline date.
  • Independent Studies are usually unpaid.  Paid Independent Studies do happen from time to time, but, they are rare.