Blended online, on-campus master’s program in epidemiology offers maximum flexibility

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Between shifts in a California hospital, on lunch break in Singapore, or on an airplane soaring over Canada, students from all over the globe are now studying epidemiology in a new Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health master of public health (MPH) program that blends online, on-campus, and in-the-field learning. It is the first such degree program to be offered at a Harvard professional School.

Students in the two-year MPH in epidemiology program, which launched in June 2015, say they love the program’s flexibility and quality.

Jaimie Shaff, who works in human resources and finance for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, currently works in New York City but is slated for field work next year. She hopes to use her epidemiology training to better understand and treat mental trauma in vulnerable populations. She said she would have had to leave the humanitarian field for a year or two if she’d signed up for a residential degree program. “Given the extent of humanitarian needs at the moment, this was not something I was morally prepared to do,” she said, adding, “The program has exceeded my expectations. The coursework is rigorous, and the professors and teaching staff are truly dedicated.”

Faculty and administrators say the program is also helping full-time students on campus as it changes how faculty think about the way they help students learn overall at the School.