SD and DPH students who have passed their school-wide Oral Qualifying Examination and who are prepared to undertake advanced work along the lines of fundamental or applied research in their department may enroll for research credit toward the completion of their dissertation.

Students who have completed all required coursework, but who have not passed their Oral Qualifying Examination may register for research credits for one semester only. These students must obtain permission to pursue research by submitting a completed General Petition Form (available at the Registrar’s Office). The signatures of the department chair and the advisor must appear on the General Petition Form indicating approval of the student’s undertaking research in his/her field prior to passing the Oral Qualifying Examination.

Nomination of the Research Committee

After passing the Oral Qualifying Examination, students, in consultation with their advisor, nominate a Research Committee to oversee progress toward the completion of the dissertation. The Committee consists of the research/academic advisor, who serves as the Chair of the Committee, and at least two other faculty members. It is strongly recommended that these faculty members also be members of the student’s Oral Examining Committee. The research advisor must be from the student’s department. However, members of the Research Committee may include faculty members outside the Harvard Chan School. The nomination of the Committee must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office within one month of the satisfactory completion of the Oral Qualifying Examination. The student’s first Research Committee meeting should be within six months of the satisfactory completion of the Oral Qualifying Examination.

The selection of this Committee is crucial to your doctoral progress. It is suggested that you meet with each prospective member prior to your final selection.

Procedure for Submitting the Nominations for Research Committee Form

  1. Students obtain the Nominations for Research Committee Form from the Registrar’s Office.
  2. Obtain the signatures of all Research Committee members, dissertation advisor, and Department Chair(s) on the form.
  3. Submit it to the Registrar’s Office for CAD approval.
  4. The CAD reviews the proposed membership of the Research Committee and may suggest or require modifications.
  5. The Registrar’s Office notifies students of the CAD’s decision.

Upon approval of the Research Committee by the CAD, the student will be permitted to register solely for research credits.

Changes in Research Committee
Changes in the Research Committee membership must be approved by the CAD. Students should obtain a General Petition Form from the Registrar’s Office, complete it by noting the change in membership and the reasons for the change, obtain the proper signatures and submit the form to the Registrar’s Office for CAD approval.

Progress Reports

SD and DPH students are responsible for arranging meetings with their Research Committee at least once every six months or as directed by the CAD. Students approved to extend original graduation dates are required to submit progress reports every three months. These meetings must be formal face-to-face group meetings (not conference call, e-mail or ad-hoc one-on-one meetings) except in extremely extenuating circumstances. A petition for consideration of extenuating circumstances is required. Students must bring a Progress Report Form (available at the Registrar’s Office) to the meeting to be completed and signed by the committee members. Students then submit the completed form to the Registrar’s Office. The progress report will be reviewed by the CAD. The Registrar’s Office will notify students and their dissertation advisor of the result by mail.

Students who fail to submit Progress Reports at least every six months will be reviewed for unsatisfactory progress and risk conditional registration or administrative withdrawal.