MPH-GEN Program Policies

MPH-GEN students are required to familiarize themselves with the Harvard Chan School Student Handbook and abide by these policies. Below are some policies that are specifically pertinent for MPH-GEN students.

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity is a key component of all programs at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, including the online MPH Generalist. Students are expected to adhere to the guidelines regarding academic standards and behavior, as seen in the handbook.

Academic honesty and integrity are imperative.  Guidelines for group projects and individual examinations are to be followed per faculty member’s instructions, which are made very clear prior to each assignment.  Cases of academic integrity will be subject to investigation under the policies and procedures outlined in the Harvard Chan Student Handbook.  Student(s) involved may be subject to disciplinary action, including possible withdrawal from the program and/or school.

The Office for Student Services, academic departments, and programs actively attempt to inform students of the requirements of academic honesty through orientation programs and publications and will vigorously investigate complaints of academic dishonesty.

Academic Standing

In addition to meeting course load requirements and distributions, Harvard Chan School students must remain in good academic standing, must complete program requirements within the designated time to degree, and must meet the following academic conditions:

  • All MPH Generalist students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.7 (B- average) or above in order to graduate from the program.
  • All students enrolled in the MPH-45 program at the School cannot exceed 12.5 pass/fail credits. Therefore, MPH Generalist students are required to have at least 32.5 ordinal graded credits.

Leave of Absence

MPH-GEN students are permitted to take a Leave of Absence (LOA) during their time in the program.  A Leave of Absence is when a student has a medical, family, or financial emergency or who wish to take a semester or more away from school for personal reasons.

Extending your Graduation Date

While the MPH Generalist program is designed to be completed in two years, some students may wish to have additional time to complete their degree. Students who wish to complete the program in three years may petition to extend their graduation date. Please be aware that students who complete the program in three years will be charged a continuation fee for their third year. More information about tuition and fees can be found here:

Loan borrowing requires students to be enrolled for at least 10 credits per semester of credits that count towards their degree to qualify to borrow federal and most private loans. Students considering extending their programs to a third year should take this into consideration.

Add/Drop/Change Deadline

MPH Generalist students are held to the same add/drop deadlines as other Harvard Chan students. Usually, these deadlines occur at the end of the second week of the course. The exact deadline can be obtained from the Academic Calendar Summary on the Registrar’s Office website.

It is strongly recommended that students not join courses after they begin so as to not miss any required assignments during the first two weeks of the course and also not miss any group assignments for course projects.

Elective Courses

During the second year, students in the MPH Generalist program will be eligible to begin to take the selected list of online electives. Elective course credits vary from 1.25 to 2.5 credits. The current list of elective courses can be found in the curriculum guide.

WinterSession (Three-week intensive in January)

MPH Generalist students may choose to take 1-2 of their MPH core courses during the WinterSession of their first year.

On-Campus Coursework and Cross-Registration

Because this program is entirely online, students in the MPH Generalist field of study are not eligible for on-campus courses or cross-registration into other Harvard graduate schools. This means that students are not eligible for concentrations or specializations outside of the Generalist course options.

International Students

Because the MPH Generalist is an online degree program, entering the U.S. using the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)/ESTA or the B-1/B-2 visa is inappropriate.  Attempting to enter the U.S. using the VWP/ESTA or a B-1/B-2 visa for the purpose of studying is a violation of U.S. visa regulations and you may be denied entry to the U.S.  This could also have a negative impact on obtaining future immigration statuses in the U.S.   

International students enrolled in the MPH Generalist are not eligible for a student visa, and therefore it is not possible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Tuition and Fees

Students are billed a flat tuition rate at the beginning of each semester (fall and spring). A continuation fee is charged for any students who have paid their financial requirements, but still have academic requirements to finish. Students are also responsible for course material fees, which are typically assessed after course enrollment each term. To learn more about billing, visit Harvard Chan’s Student Billing webpage.


Enrolling in Only One Degree Program at a Time

As a matter of policy, students may enroll in only one degree program at a time except for the following approved programs: MD/MPH, JD/MPH, and MPH/MUP. Students scheduled to begin a degree program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2022 must show proof of degree conferral for all prior degrees. If an incoming student has not completed the degree(s) (including any required examination, thesis, defense/viva) and has not submitted the degree conferral documentation to the Office of Admissions prior to May 15, 2022 (or August 1st for degrees conferred in Spring of 2022), the student will need to withdraw from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Students in non-qualifying degree programs may take an official leave of absence from their home school for the duration of their Harvard Chan School program instead of withdrawing. A copy of the official, approved leave of absence form must be submitted to the Harvard Chan School Admissions Office. Deferrals will not be offered. In the case of extenuating circumstances, students should contact the Office of Admissions by email at, without delay.


Course Waivers, Substitutions, and Transfer Credits

Students in the MPH-GEN program are unable to waive, substitute or transfer in HSPH or outside credits into the MPH Generalist program.

Convocation and Commencement

Students in the MPH Generalist are welcome and highly encouraged to join in Harvard Chan’s Convocation and Harvard University’s Commencement ceremonies and in-person celebrations at the end of their degree program with their peers, family, and friends. For more information on these events please visit: Harvard Chan Graduation