MEMP PhD Application Process

MEMP PhD students in HST's Introduction to Clinical Medicine at Mount Auburn Hospital.


The Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) PhD program offers a unique two-pronged curriculum that combines a traditional graduate education in engineering or physical sciences with extensive training in medicine. MEMP students take medical school classes together with HST MD students and then spend twelve weeks in an Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) course, taught in a hospital setting, where they become fluent in the language and culture of medicine. MEMP students can choose from among faculty advisors with laboratories at MIT, Harvard, and affiliated hospitals for their thesis research. MEMP graduates are biomedical engineers and scientists who possess a deep understanding of the clinical environment; they are well-positioned to define new questions and formulate novel approaches to unmet needs in human health.

Here's what our alumni say about MEMP's unique Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM):

  • [This] experience allowed us to gain an understanding of the day-to-day workings of clinical medicine, which is very different from the way engineers typically operate. There are many practical problems and considerations in the clinic that would never be taught in a classroom setting, and would be difficult for engineers to appreciate if we didn't have any direct experience with them.
  • ICM continues to this day to give me credibility when dealing with my co-workers and (clinical) customers.  I can speak the clinical language, know the challenges of diagnosis, have many clinical experiences to draw upon in discussions, and inherently "know" how healthcare is practiced in the US.

WHO should apply to MEMP?

HST’s academic community prospers when minds from diverse backgrounds gather to tackle health care needs. Thus, we seek applicants who bring diversity of thought and experience to our student body. Each MEMP student has an undergraduate (bachelors/baccalaureate) degree in an engineering discipline or a physical/quantitative science (for example, chemistry, physics, computer science, computational neuroscience). In addition, successful candidates will have demonstrated a sustained interest in applications of engineering and physical/quantitative science to biology or medicine through courses, research, and/or work experience.

Individuals from groups underrepresented in STEM, students with non-traditional academic backgrounds, and students from academic institutions which have not historically sent many students to MIT are encouraged to apply. 

WHEN to Apply?

It is the applicant's responsibility to take standardized tests in time for score reports to reach us by the application deadline.

MEMP candidates may choose to apply through MIT, Harvard or both. We recommend that all candidates apply through MIT, independent of whether or not they choose to submit a Harvard application.

HOW to Apply via MIT? 

All applicants to HST via MIT should submit the following materials, written in English, through the online application, which opens on August 1:

  • Statement of Objective- Recommended length of 1-2 pages.
  • Unofficial Transcript(s) – Upload unofficial transcripts from any school where you received or expect to receive a degree. Please do not send official transcripts until you are invited to interview and prompted to submit official transcripts. We accept electronic transcripts; electronic transcripts with instructions for validation should be sent to hst-adms-team@mit.edu.
  • General GRE test scores - Use ETS codes 3514 (institutional code) and 0699-Health and Medical Sciences-Other (departmental code). If you have taken the GRE more than once, we will consider the best score on each section. Upload a PDF copy of your valid, un-expired test results and also arrange for ETS to send official scores to MIT. Official test scores sent by ETS to MIT will be matched to HST applications even if the department code is missing. 
  • Letters of Recommendation - Arrange to have a minimum of three individuals submit letters of recommendation on your behalf. At least two should be from people well acquainted with your academic work and research capabilities. Your recommenders must upload their letters online by the application deadline. The letter should be on institutional letterhead, written in English, and include a visible signature.
  • Please do not send copies of journal articles, certificates of graduation, completion of programs, or photographs; this material will not be reviewed.

Note that MEMP offers two specialized training programs in Neuroimaging and Bioastronautics. Candidates can indicate their interest in these specializations by selecting the Program option within the Application Information section of the MIT application. All other candidates should select MEMP/No training program.

Applying to graduate school can present a financial obstacle for many qualified applicants. Application fee waivers are available for US citizens and permanent residents who meet eligibility requirements set by the MIT Graduate Admissions Office.

Additional instructions for international applicants:

  • Transcripts - Upload transcripts as described above. Transcripts that do not already include English rendition must be accompanied by a certified English translation.
  • English language - You are required to take either the TOEFL or the IELTS exam unless you meet one of the following criteria: 1) English is your first language, or 2) English was the language of instruction in your high school/secondary school or you completed an undergraduate degree in the US or another English speaking program abroad. Contact hst-phd-admissions@mit.edu if you believe you have other circumstances that warrant consideration of a waiver.
    • HST requires a minimum score of 100 on the internet-based TOEFL test (iBT). Please have your official TOEFL test scores sent to HST at MIT using institution code 3514 and department code 99.
    • HST requires a minimum score of 7 on the IELTS test. IELTS does not use a code system; please designate Health Sciences and Technology (HST) as the MIT department.


Candidates applying to MEMP through Harvard must submit a full application to either the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) or the Program in Biophysics:

  • We recommend that all candidates apply through MIT, independent of whether or not they choose to submit a Harvard application. 
  • HST MEMP is not listed as an area of interest on the Harvard Integrated Life Sciences (HILS) Biophysics or Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) SEAS application. Please indicate your interest in MEMP as part of your essay.
  • For specific information on admission to MEMP via Harvard Biophysics, please contact Dr. James Hogle (james_hogle@hms.harvard.edu).
  • Notify HST of your application to MEMP via Harvard by sending a PDF copy of your completed Harvard application to hst-adms-team@mit.edu no later than December 16.
  • Once we receive the completed PDF of your Harvard application, we will make arrangements directly with staff in SEAS or Biophysics to obtain copies of submitted letters of recommendation.


Check out our MEMP Admissions FAQ. Still have questions?  Please contact us at hst-phd-admissions@mit.edu.