What is the GEMS program?

The Graduate Education in Medical Sciences (GEMS) program is a structured educational experience for MIT PhD students interested in working at the intersection where engineering and science meet medicine and real world healthcare. GEMS scholars learn how advances in basic science and engineering become medically relevant therapies and tools for the improvement of human health. GEMS is a certificate program for PhD students in MIT’s Schools of Engineering and Science and runs concurrently with the normal course of an MIT graduate education. 

Am I eligible?

Applicants must be currently enrolled in a doctoral program in a science or engineering department at MIT. (HST students are not eligible.) It is expected that most applicants will be in the first three years of their graduate studies, but more senior students with appropriate research interests will also be considered. 

What are the components of the GEMS program?

GEMS participants normally take a course in pathology during the first spring of GEMS enrollment, a medical pathophysiology course the following fall semester, and an intensive clinical experience tailored to individual student interests during the second spring.  In addition, GEMS scholars participate in a graduate seminar series that focuses on the professional skills required to succeed in interdisciplinary research. GEMS requirements can be completed in three semesters.

How will I benefit from GEMS?

GEMS scholars develop an appreciation for the science and art of medicine in a way that cannot be conveyed by textbooks. In addition, participants develop a professional network that includes physicians and physician-scientists as well as like-minded PhD students with complementary skill sets.

Who will be accepted to GEMS?

The GEMS program selects motivated graduate students from diverse disciplinary perspectives including, for example, graduate students in computer science working in computational biology and graduate students in biology working on basic biological mechanisms. The common characteristic of successful GEMS applicants is a commitment to integrate medical knowledge into their specific discipline so as to accelerate the translation of basic science or engineering discovery into clinical use. 

Can I use the GEMS curriculum towards my departmental minor requirement?

The program will work with GEMS scholars and their departments to determine if the GEMS courses can be counted toward a departmental minor requirement. 

Are there required prerequisites?

Knowledge of introductory biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology is required.

How long does it take?

Requirements for the certificate program can be completed in three semesters. 

Will the program interfere with my graduate degree program?

This three-semester program can be incorporated with little disruption into most graduate programs. 


What is IMES, and why is IMES offering the GEMS program?

The Institute for Medical Engineering & Science (IMES) aims to pioneer novel research and graduate education paradigms to advance health and educate a generation of leaders working at the convergence of engineering, science, and clinical medicine. MIT established IMES in 2012 to greatly increase the visibility and effectiveness of research and education at the convergence of medicine, engineering and science and to serve as a robust home for the Harvard-MIT Health Science and Technology (HST) program founded in 1970.

A key objective of the Institute is to bring together MIT’s strengths in engineering, basic science, innovation, and entrepreneurship with clinical practice and research by developing strategic partnerships with collaborating Boston area hospitals and biotech and medical device companies.  The convergence of multi-disciplinary approaches in IMES, spanning the range from discovery to deployment of therapies and diagnostics, accelerates innovation in healthcare and creates a unique educational environment.

Many MIT graduate students have approached HST over the years asking for the opportunity to participate in some of HST's courses. GEMS offers specialized training to MIT graduate students whose research interest is in the life sciences and biomedical engineering, and who seek to understand the clinical context that their discoveries ultimately seek to address.


How do I apply?

The GEMS program is not accepting applications this cycle, please check back in summer 2024.

The 2022 application is available here as a reference.


How can I get more information about GEMS?

For more information, please contact: gems [at] mit.edu (gems[at]mit[dot]edu)