Our History

The School of Graduate Studies at Meharry Medical College began in 1938 as a series of short courses in the basic and clinical sciences. In 1947, a Master of Science Degree program was implemented as the first graduate degree; a Ph.D. program was established in 1972 and an M.D./Ph.D. program in 1982. Since 1970, the School has awarded more than 15 percent of the biomedical science Ph.D.s earned by African American scientists in the U.S. and is currently ranked ninth nationally by Diverse Issues in Higher Education for the number of African American biomed Ph.D.s the School produces.


The Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) Program at Meharry was established in 1974 and graduated its first class of one student in 1978. To date the program has graduated approximately 300 professionals who occupy positions of leadership in many public and private sectors of the country. In July 2020, the Meharry Board of Trust approved a degree name change to MPH in Public Health Practice. The Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (M.S.C.I.) was established in 2004 and its graduates are at the forefront of clinical and translational research. In 2005, Meharry began the rigorous process of accrediting its public health program, and in 2010 the Council on Education for Public Health conferred accreditation on Meharry’s M.S.P.H. degree. During this time, the College also established the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy, which grants the Certificate of Health Policy. Its inaugural certificates were awarded to 10 graduates at Meharry’s 136th commencement in May 2011.

Meharry’s Mr. Atwater “The Storyteller”