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History of Public Health at Harvard

Manuscripts and archival collections for researching the history of public health, including resources related to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

All Departments (current and historical)

The following is an alphabetical list of every department that has ever existed at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, spanning its founding in 1913 (as the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers) to the present. Clicking the link will take you to the modern equivalent of that department, and its timeline + chairs. An asterisk (*) denotes that there are institutional records in the archives for this specific department. To view those collections, please visit "Browse by Department" in this libguide. 

To see an isolated list of the first "departments" of the school, see The Early School (1913-1921).

Contact the archivist with questions or corrections. 


Applied Immunology – Serums and Vaccines

Applied Physiology


Bacteriology and Immunology

Behavioral Sciences

Biological Chemistry

Biostatistics (current) *

Cancer Biology

Cancer Cell Biology

Child Hygiene *

Communicable Diseases 

Comparative Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Comparative Pathology

Comparative Pathology and Tropical Medicine


Demography and Human Ecology

Environmental Health (current) *

Environmental Sciences and Physiology   

Epidemiology (current) *

Genetics and Complex Diseases

Global Health and Population (current) *

Health and Social Behavior 

Health Policy and Management (current) *

Health Services

Health Services Administration 

Hospital Administration 

Immunology and Infectious Diseases (current) *

Industrial Hygiene 

Industrial Medicine 

Industrial Toxicology

Maternal and Child Health *

Maternal and Child Health and Aging 

Mental Hygiene


Molecular and Cellular Toxicology 

Molecular Metabolism (current) *

Nutrition (current) *


Parasitology and Tropical Medicine

Personal Hygiene


Population and International Health *

Population Sciences

Preventive Medicine

Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology 

Preventive Medicine and Sanitary Science (may be same as Preventive Medicine)

Public Health Administration 

Public Health Bacteriology 

Public Health Engineering 

Public Health Practice

Sanitary Biology and Sanitary Chemistry

Sanitary Engineering 

Social and Behavioral Sciences (current) *

Society, Human Development, and Health *

Special Pathology

Tropical Medicine *

Ventilation and Illumination

Vital Statistics 


The Early School (1913-1921)

Formal departments did not exist in the early school, known as the Harvard MIT School for Health Officers. Rather, courses were grouped together in the catalog, and these specific “groups” were given titles. Students took public health courses at Harvard Medical School, Harvard University (in Cambridge), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (also in Cambridge).  Read more about Harvard Chan's history, or view digitized copies of course catalogs(1913-2021).

These early "groups" of courses offered by the school are as follows:

1913 (original course catalog | 1913-1914 course catalog)

  • Preventive Medicine
  • Personal Hygiene
  • Public Health Administration
  • Sanitary Biology and Sanitary Chemistry
  • Special Pathology
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Sanitary Engineering
  • Demography
  • Tropical Medicine


1915 (1915-1916 course catalog)

  • Preventive Medicine and Sanitary Science (changed from "Preventative Medicine")
  • Personal Hygiene
  • Public Health Administration
  • Sanitary Biology and Sanitary Chemistry
  • Special Pathology
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Sanitary Engineering
  • Demography
  • Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (changed from "Tropical Medicine")


1918 - School changes name to Harvard MIT School of Public Health. Industrial Hygiene and Laboratory Courses added as additional groups. 

1919 - Sanitary Engineering becomes Sanitary and Municipal Engineering

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