Professional Doctorate in Doctor of Public Health

    Course Description

    Learn to translate knowledge into powerful results as the leader of a public health organization.

    For more information on the DrPH Program, please visit our website (here). 

    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. The DrPH Program is a three-year program (with an option to extend to a fourth year) and during this time, students 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. Also, 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 (with an option to extend to a fourth year). The first two years of the Harvard DrPH involve full-time, on-campus study as part of a collaborative cohort of approximately 9 – 15 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 Project is the culminating experience of the Harvard DrPH degree program, and the primary locus of the knowledge translation elements of the degree. The pedagogical intent behind the Doctoral Project’s design is to provide an opportunity for the DrPH degree candidate to practice and develop personal leadership skills while engaging in a project that contributes substantively to advances in public health or healthcare. 

    The optional fourth year are for students who need more time to complete their Doctoral Project.

    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 possibly 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.

    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

    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.

    Course Fees

    All students admitted to the DrPH program, including international students, should complete the financial aid application process. For admitted students with financial need, 50% tuition scholarships are offered for the first two years of the program.

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