Academic Requirements for Doctor of Science and Doctor of Public Health (DPH) Students

Number Of Credits Required To Graduate
Degree   SD and DPH
Number of Ordinal Credits Required to Graduate 40 minimum credits normally distributed between one major and two minors*
Number of Cross-Registered Credits Permitted No more than 1/2 of total credits per semester
Other Requirements Adherence to the doctoral timetable, maintenance of satisfactory progress, as well as meeting departmental course requirements

*All SD and DPH students are required to submit a proposed plan of study (Prospective Program) declaring a major and two minor fields, or two majors and one minor for doctoral students pursuing a joint degree, for the approval of the CAD no later than the end of the third semester. This will serve to declare a student’s areas of concentration and research focus during their tenure at the Harvard Chan School. The courses listed serve to demonstrate that the student has gained expertise in the three fields and is prepared to be examined in those fields during the Oral Qualifying Examination. Please refer to the Prospective Program section of this Supplement for more detailed information.

Course work requirements must be met by proposing a minimum of 40 credits in graduate-level courses. These are to be distributed over one major and two minor fields as outlined in the Prospective/Final Program. The major field consists of 20 or more graduate-level credits in formal courses. Each of the two minor fields consists of at least 10 credits each of graduate-level work. In the event that a student declares two majors, the course credit distribution should be 20 credits in each of the two major fields and ten credits in one minor field (admission to two departments is required).

All courses applied to the major and minor fields must be taken for ordinal credit (e.g., grades of A, A-, B+ etc.). A grade of B- or better must be received for each course submitted for approval on the Prospective/Final Program Form.

The declared fields should be broad enough to constitute substantive bodies of knowledge and should be sufficiently different from one another so that their content is not duplicative. Acceptable choices would be fields that are based on the content of courses in any departments of HSPH and fields that are recognized as being substantive and distinct by virtue of published journals, professional organizations and the national scientific meetings devoted to them. Approval of the declared fields rests with the student’s department of degree candidacy and the CAD. If, in the opinion of the CAD, the chosen fields are either too narrow or overlapping, the student may be required to choose other fields.

While HSPH does not accept transfer credit from any other institution, the CAD will consider course work taken for previous Master’s or Doctoral programs to be applied towards the Prospective and Final Programs. Students who wish to apply such previous course work to their areas of concentration must submit course descriptions and an official transcript along with their Prospective and Final Programs.

Students who have received a Master’s degree from HSPH may follow an accelerated timetable for completion of the doctoral degree requirements since a substantial amount of the course work for the major and minor fields will have been completed prior to entering the doctoral program. In such a case the student may submit a Prospective/Final Program at the end of the first semester, but still no later than the end of the third semester.

Course work presented in the Final Program must be completed prior to the Oral Examination.