Professional Doctorate in Doctor of Public Health

    About This Professional Doctorate

    Course Description

    The Harvard doctor of public health (DrPH) will prepare you for high-level leadership to make a difference in the fields of public health and health care. This first-of-its-kind, multidisciplinary degree provides advanced education in public health along with mastery of skills in management, leadership, communications, and innovation thinking. This is accomplished within a highly collaborative, small-group learning environment. In just three years—two years at Harvard plus one year in a field-based doctoral project—you will learn how to address complex problems of public health policy and use advanced analytical and managerial tools to lead organizational and societal change. You will learn the scholarship of translation, assembling scientific evidence and using it to achieve real results in the field. And you will gain hands-on experience working to achieve a specific public health objective under the guidance of Harvard’s world-renowned faculty.

    The Format

    The Harvard DrPH is planned as a 3-year academic program. The first two years of the Harvard DrPH involve full-time, on-campus study as part of a collaborative cohort of approximately 25 students. The academic training will cover the biological, social, and economic foundations of public health, as well as essential statistical, quantitative, and methodological skills you will need to address today’s complex public health challenges, which rarely fall within neat disciplinary boundaries. You will also shape an individualized course of study in your second year by selecting courses to deepen specific areas of expertise and build skills that you will apply during your third year capstone project— the DrPH Doctoral Engagement in Leadership andTranslation for Action (DELTA) Project, which is developed at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to foster transformative leadership in the field. During the DELTA Doctoral Project, you will undertake in a nonprofit, governmental, or for-profit organization.

    Your Future

    As a Harvard DrPH graduate, you will be ready to lead. You will be equipped with experience gained through real-world case work and field work conducted at a variety of organizations. You will have the skills to start new organizations or work from within to change existing ones. You will know how to translate public health research into effective policies, programs, and initiatives that dramatically improve individual and population health. You will be comfortable in a leadership role and confident in your public health expertise. And whether you choose to pursue a career in a nongovernmental organization, health ministry, government agency, health care provider, start-up, or more established private sector business, you will be prepared to make a difference.

    If you aspire to a leadership position in public health—whether at a health ministry, government agency, consulting firm, health-related start-up, established corporation, nongovernmental organization, or international organization—the Harvard DrPH will equip you to meet your goals.

    Our Community

    As a DrPH student, you will work closely with Harvard’s renowned faculty through rigorous case discussions, simulations, and field experiences in a variety of major public health organizations. You will also collaborate with passionate, highly skilled classmates who bring diverse talents, backgrounds, and creative problem-solving skills to the classroom. The rich relationships you establish during this experience will become lasting sources of collaboration and support, along with the global network you will gain as a member of the Harvard alumni community.

    Who Should Apply?

    All candidates for admission to the Harvard DrPH should have, at a minimum:

    • A bachelor’s, master’s OR doctoral degree in the health sciences or in other related fields (biology, medicine, psychology, economics, business, health care, population health sciences, etc.)
    • At least four years of full-time public health and/or service experience in a relevant field.Prior coursework in public health-related methods and in specific technical areas of public health is also beneficial.

    Beyond the formal qualifications, we seek top applicants who demonstrate an appetite and vision to effect change, displaying the energy and creativity to have already moved along that path early in their careers. We also explicitly seek to admit students with interest and experience across a broad cross-section of public and private areas of public health and health care locally, nationally, and internationally.

    Visit the Doctor of Public Health page on the Harvard University website for more details!

    (Student Profile)

    Sarah MacDonald, MS ’15

    Shortly before graduating with her master of science degree in 2015, Sarah MacDonald had the opportunity to present her thesis work at the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Her research, conducted in collaboration with faculty member Dr. Sonia Hernández-Díaz, found that women with epilepsy were at higher risk for a variety of adverse outcomes—including maternal mortality—during hospital deliveries in the US. While at the annual meeting in DC she also gave print and video interviews for the website Neurology Advisor. Moving forward, Sarah will be entering the doctoral program at Harvard Chan with the support of a three-year scholarship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

    You can read more here:

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    Entry Requirements

    All candidates for admission to the Harvard DrPH should have, at a minimum:

    A master’s OR doctoral degree in the health sciences or in another related field or non-US equivalent.

    At least six years of full-time public health and/or public service experience in a relevant discipline. Advanced degrees will not be considered in lieu of work experience as coursework will build directly on professional skills and experiences.

    Prior coursework in public health-related methods and in specific technical areas of public health is also beneficial.

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