Doctor of Public Health Program

The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) Program at the Harvard Chan School requires that doctoral students perform the following:

  • Adhere to the DrPH student timetable (see timetable below)
  • Meet DrPH course requirements as outlined in the DrPH Student Manual
  • Complete the doctoral student residency requirement, which includes payment of two years of full-time tuition and one year of full-time reduced tuition (tuition amounts are subject to change)
  • Complete the program on a full-time basis—no part-time option is available, hybrid nor online option is available
  • Complete the doctor of public health degree program in three academic years (with an option to petition to extend to a fourth year)
  • Maintain a GPA of 2.70 or better
  • Pass the DrPH qualifying examinations

Tuition and Fees
Tuition will be assessed at the full-time rate in three equal payments (summer/fall/spring) during the first two years. Tuition will be assessed at the full-time reduced rate in three equal payments in the third year. For DrPH billing policy information, visit the Student Billing website.

Academic Requirements
Course requirements are provided on the Prospective/Final Program Form. The required courses serve to demonstrate that the student has gained expertise in the competencies of the program and is prepared to be examined during qualifying examinations, as well as undertake the DrPH Doctoral Project.

All courses applied to the DrPH must be taken for ordinal credits, and students must receive a grade of B- or better for each course taken. For courses that are offered with only a Pass/Fail option, students must achieve a passing grade for each one taken.

Students who have received a master’s degree from the Harvard Chan School will follow the same timetable as the other DrPH students and will not be accelerated in the program.

Required Courses
DrPH students are required to take courses as specified in the online DrPH Student Manual.

Student Timetable
DrPH students must adhere to the following timetable to be considered in satisfactory academic standing. This progress must be reported to and approved by the Committee on Admissions and Degrees. The timetable outlines the academic year in which each progressive task and/or milestone must be completed. Since the DrPH Program begins in July, an academic year goes from July to June.


Prospective/Final Program
The Prospective/Final Program is a plan in which students indicate the formal coursework they are taking to support their DrPH degree. The Prospective Program must be submitted to the Committee on Admissions and Degrees no later than the middle of the second academic year (end of December). The Final Program must be submitted to the committee no later than the beginning of May of the second year. The Final Program must be approved by the Registrar’s Office for the degree candidates to sit for their Oral Qualifying Examination. It is in the best interest of students to submit the Prospective/Final Program Form as early as possible.

Each course listed in the Prospective/Final Program must be taken for ordinal (e.g., A-, B-, etc.) credit, except for those that are offered only with a Pass/Fail option. As mentioned above, a grade of B- or better must be obtained in all the courses proposed, with ordinal grading and a passing grade for those with a Pass/Fail grading option. Each course must be taken for graduate credit. This is of special note if a student is cross-registering into another school. In certain situations, a course can be used to waive a program-required course, with the expectation that the student completes the course with the same competency at a higher level.

Written Qualifying Examination
The Written Qualifying Examination covers the required coursework of the first year of the program. Faculty members anonymously grade the exam, and students are notified of their grade. Students do not receive the examination or individual feedback on the exam. Students must pass this exam before going on to their Oral Qualifying Examination. More information on the Written Qualifying Examination appears in the DrPH Student Manual.

Oral Qualifying Examination
After passing the Written Qualifying Examination, DrPH students take the Oral Qualifying Examination. Students preparing to take the oral exam should submit their Oral Qualifying Examination Scheduling Form to the Registrar’s Office at least three weeks before the date of the exam. Students may take the Oral Qualifying Examination only after passing the Written Qualifying Examination and receiving approval of the final program.

Doctoral Project Progress Reports
A Student Progress Report is designed to help the committee monitor satisfactory progress of the student’s Doctoral Project and experience at the host organization. Progress Reports are to be completed as assigned by the Registrar’s Office. During the meeting, all committee members must be present, in person or via a virtual chat platform. If a committee member cannot make the meeting, the meeting must be rescheduled. It is the student’s responsibility to organize the meeting, secure all requisite signatures, and ensure that the required forms are submitted to the Registrar’s Office on time. Students who extend their graduation date past the three academic years (with permission) will be required to submit additional Progress Reports.

Doctoral Project Oral Final Examination
The Oral Final Examination marks the completion of the project phase in the DrPH Program. It is the last evaluation of the student’s work in the program, focusing on the Doctoral Project. All Harvard Chan School DrPH students must complete the field phase and deliverables before proceeding to the Oral Final Examination.

After Successful Completion of the Defense
Students must submit their dissertation electronically via ETDs @ ProQuest by the dates listed below:

November 2024 degree candidates                         September 13, 2024
March 2025 degree candidates                                  January 10, 2025
May 2025 degree candidates                                      April 11, 2025

On the recommendation of the department(s) and the Research Committee, the Committee on Admission and Degrees recommends the student for the degree to the faculty, which then votes to award the degree to the student. After the degree has been voted on by the faculty, it is awarded by the Harvard University Governing Board.

Publishing the Thesis
Information for DrPH degree candidates regarding publishing their thesis is provided in the DrPH Student Manual and in the Doctoral Thesis Guidelines online.

The DrPH Student Manual contains further details and the most updated information on the DrPH Program.