JD/MPH students may count a limited number of credits toward both their JD and their MPH degree. This Appendix explains the rules for counting credits.
Credits are described as “Harvard Chan School credits” and “HLS credits” because the two schools do not count credits in the same way. Typically, HLS credits are transferred to Harvard Chan School credits as follows:
|HLS Credits||Harvard Chan School Credits|
However, some courses may transfer differently due to the amount of coursework involved. To confirm the number of credits that will be applied, JD/MPH students are strongly encouraged to consult the Registrars of the respective schools early in the semester in which they plan to request that credits be counted across schools.
Q: How many credits can I count toward both degrees?
A: Students may double-count credits in the following ways:
1. Up to 5 Harvard Chan School credits from classes taught at HLS (on any subject) may be counted toward the MPH degree.
Example: Jim Student registers at HLS for an Administrative Law class for 4 HLS credits and asks the Harvard Chan School Registrar to apply this as 5 credits toward his MPH degree.
2. Up to 5 Harvard Chan School credits from an approved list of health law classes taught at HLS may be counted toward the MPH degree.
If students earn additional credits in these courses beyond that number, they may count those credits toward the requirements for the JD degree, but not both degrees. Because the courses may have overlapping content, students must obtain approval from their Harvard Chan faculty advisor for the credits/courses that they intend to count toward both degrees. Courses offerings vary from year to year. For the 2023-2024 academic year, the eligible health law courses include (but are not limited to) the courses listed below. For other health law courses not on this list, students must obtain approval from the faculty co-directors. Students should consult the HLS Course Catalog for the meeting times of the eligible health law courses.
Food and Drug Law
Drug Product Liability Litigation
Food and Drug Law
Food Law and Policy
Health Care Rights in the Twenty-First Century
Health Law and Policy Clinic of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation
Health Law, Policy, Bioethics, and Biotechnology Workshop
Public Health Law and Policy
For other health law courses not on this list, students must obtain approval from the faculty co-directors. Students should consult the HLS Course Catalog for the meeting times of the eligible health law courses.
Example: Jim receives permission from his Harvard Chan faculty advisor to count Health Law toward his MPH degree as 5 credits, in addition to the 4 credits he will receive at HLS. Jim registers for this course at HLS. Since Jim also plans to apply the 5 credits from his Administrative Law class toward his MPH, his Harvard Chan transcript at the time of graduation will need to show (at a minimum) 35 credits taken at the Harvard Chan School.
3. Up to 12 converted credits from courses taken at the Harvard Chan School may be counted toward the upper-level credit requirement for the JD degree at HLS.
Example: Jane registers at the Harvard Chan School in a course that meets for 90 minutes twice per week for 6 weeks; this course will convert to 1 HLS credit.
Q: I read in the Harvard Chan School Handbook that Harvard Chan School students can count up to 10 cross-registration credits toward their MPH. Does this rule apply to JD/MPH students?
A: No, a special rule concerning cross-registration credits applies to JD/MPH students. They receive the 5 Harvard Chan School credits for HLS classes under Rule A.1. above and may count 5 additional cross-registration credits toward their MPH degree only if they do not intend to double-count any of the health law courses listed above under Rule A.3. If health law courses are double-counted, the 5 additional possible cross-registration credits are proportionately reduced.
Example: Jim becomes interested in a class on Science, Technology and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. This course is equivalent to 5 Harvard Chan School credits. If Jim had not been planning to double-count any of the eligible HLS health law classes, he could apply the Kennedy School course credits fully toward his MPH. However, Jim’s plan is to apply the 5 credits from Health Law as well as the 5 credits from his Administrative Law class toward his MPH. This brings him to 10 credits from courses taught outside Harvard Chan School, so the Kennedy School class cannot also count toward his MPH. Jim decides not to ask the Harvard Chan School Registrar to count the 5 credits from the Health Law class toward his MPH, and instead plans to count the 5 credits from the Kennedy School course. Health Law will still count toward his Law School classroom credit requirement.
Q: Can I cross-register for courses at other Harvard schools (e.g., Harvard Kennedy School) and apply those credits toward my JD?
A: Not without special permission. JD/MPH students can receive up to 12 converted credits from qualifying MPH coursework; therefore, if approved to enroll in a cross-registered course, it is likely that the credits will not count towards the JD degree requirements. This will be assessed and determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on current credit conversions and counts. Please contact the HLS Registrar’s Office (email@example.com) to discuss further.