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JD/MPH students may count a limited number of credits toward both their JD and their MPH degree. Credits are described as “HSPH credits” and “HLS credits” because the two schools do not count credits in the same way. Typically, HLS credits are transferred to HSPH credits as follows:
|HLS Credits||HSPH Credits|
HLS credits from courses at other Harvard schools are based on lecture hours (e.g., a course meeting three lecture hours per week for a full semester will receive three 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 NO MORE THAN TEN CREDITS toward both degrees. Students may double-count credits in any or all of the following three ways:
Example: Jim receives permission from his HSPH advisor to count Health Law and Regulation as 5 MPH credits in addition to the 4 credits he will receive at HLS. Jim registers for this course at HLS and provides the HSPH Registrar with a copy of his HLS transcript in the spring of his third year. Since Jim also plans to apply the 5 credits from his Administrative Law class toward his MPH, his HSPH transcript at the time of graduation will need to show (at a minimum) 32.5 credits taken at HSPH.
Q: I read in the HSPH Student Handbook that HSPH 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 HSPH 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 the Kennedy School of Government. This course is equivalent to 5 HSPH credits. If Jim had not been planning to double-count any of the eligible 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 and Regulation as well as the 5 credits from his Administrative Law class toward his MPH. This brings him to 10 credits from courses taught outside HSPH, so the Kennedy School class cannot also count toward his MPH. Jim decides not to ask the HSPH Registrar to count the 5 credits from the Health Law and Regulation class toward his MPH, and instead plans to count the 5 credits from the Kennedy School course. Health Law and Regulation will still count toward his Law School classroom credit requirement.
Q. Can I cross-register for courses at other Harvard schools (e.g., the Kennedy School) and apply those credits toward my JD?
A. You may cross-register for a limited number of courses (generally no more than three) outside the Law School, but these credits cannot count toward the JD degree requirements. Some state bars require that no more than 10 credits from courses taken in another school in the university be counted toward the JD degree. Because JD/MPH students already get 10 credits of their MPH coursework counted toward the JD, you cannot also count other cross-registration credits. You will register for these 10 credits as HSPH students, rather than cross-registering.
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