Skip to main content
Website survey
GSAS has a new website! Tell us what you think.

Population Health Sciences

The population health sciences (PHS) graduate program is one of the only interdisciplinary PHS programs in the world.

You will be part of a program that is at the vanguard of integrating both the social and life sciences. You will be able to choose your path of interest from a program anchored in our cohort-driven model and built on the research and proven knowledge of our five fields of study—environmental health, epidemiology, global health and population, nutrition, and social and behavioral sciences—all viewed through the lens of statistics, health determinants, and social justice.

In this fully-funded program, you will have access to the resources of 13 Harvard schools, including Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and Harvard Medical School, as well as the opportunity for in-person coursework at MIT, Tufts, and Brown.

Examples of PHS doctoral dissertations explore critical areas such as air pollution, novel epidemiologic methods in HIV research, health system quality improvement interventions in Africa, obesity and food insecurity, eviction and children’s health in the United States, and epidemic preparedness and response.

Graduates have gone on to fellow and postdoctoral positions at Harvard, Yale University, and University of California, San Francisco. Others have gone on to careers at the CDC, Pfizer, Takeda, Genentech, and various consultancies.

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the PhD Program in Population Health Sciences and requirements for the degree are detailed in GSAS Policies.

Areas of Study

Environmental Health | Epidemiology | Global Health and Population | Nutrition | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Admissions Requirements

Please review GSAS admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the PhD Program in Population Health Sciences.

Academic Background

Although a previous graduate degree is not required, applicants should have successfully completed coursework in introductory statistics or quantitative methods. Preference will be given to applicants who have either some relevant work experience or graduate work in the chosen field of study after completion of a bachelor’s degree.

Applicants are required to select a field of study in their application and indicate an area of specialization. Secondary interest in an additional field of study may also be indicated in the application and statement of purpose.

Writing Sample

A writing sample is required as part of the application and should be a term paper, senior thesis, master’s thesis, 1st authored report or manuscript, research report, or similar work and no longer than 10 pages, single-spaced.

Statement of Purpose

Describe your reasons and motivations for pursuing a graduate degree in your chosen program of study at Harvard. What experiences led you to your research ambitions? Concisely state your past work in your intended field of study. Briefly indicate your career objectives. Your statement should not exceed 1,000 words. Please ensure that your statement of purpose covers the following points:

  • Your motivation in seeking doctoral-level training in Population Health Sciences in your chosen Field of Study at Harvard.
  • A self-assessment of any past research experience and analytical skills.
  • A description of your current research interests and a suggestion of up to three faculty members whose work most closely matches your research interests.
  • Your career aspirations.

Standardized Tests

GRE General: Optional
GRE Subject Test: Optional
iBT TOEFL minimum score: 100
IELTS minimum score: 7.5


See list of Population Health Sciences faculty


Degrees Offered


Questions about the Program?

Bruce Villineau
Assistant Director