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Harvard Adds Social Sciences to MD/PhD Program

Harvard University’s MD/PhD program is now offering a social sciences track in addition to its existing biomedical science track. The program is meant to serve students whose career interests span the fields of medicine and the social sciences. It is hoped that the program will make Harvard “a real center for research in social sciences relevant to medicine,” according Dr. Allan M. Brandt, Kass Professor of the History of Medicine and Chair of Harvard’s History of Science Department.
Students following the MD/PhD social sciences track will be able to combine study of anthropology, health policy, government, economics, psychology, and other disciplines with their study of clinical medicine. A typical student will spend two years at Harvard Medical School, move to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for four to five years of doctoral study and research, and then return to HMS to finish their degree.
Although HMS students have been able to take courses at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences since the early 80s, this is the first time a formal program has been available for Harvard students whose career interests span medicine and the social sciences. Similar programs are already offered at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania Perelman, and Johns Hopkins University Medical School.