Passionate about the place where science, engineering, and medicine intersect? Earn a PhD grounded in quantitative science or engineering, combined with extensive training in biomedical sciences and clinical practice.

Learn how to apply below, or explore the program further.

Who should apply?

HST thrives when it reflects the community it serves. We encourage students from groups historically underrepresented in STEMM, students with non-traditional academic backgrounds, and students from academic institutions that have not previously sent many students to Harvard and MIT to apply. 

What should I know before I apply?

The HST PhD Admissions Committee values new perspectives, welcoming students from a wide range of disciplines. Successful applicants will have a strong undergraduate background in an engineering discipline or a physical/quantitative science (for example, chemistry, physics, computer science, computational neuroscience).

In response to the challenges of teaching, learning, and assessing academic performance during the global COVID-19 pandemic, HST will take the significant disruptions of the outbreak in 2020 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials as part of our regular practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant.

In particular, as we review applications now and in the future, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Pass/No Record (or Credit/No Credit or Pass/Fail) and other grading options during the unprecedented period of COVID-19 disruptions, whether those decisions were made by institutions or by individual students. In addition, we no longer accept GRE scores. We expect that the individual experiences of applicants will richly inform applications and, as such, they will be considered with the entirety of a student’s record.

Ultimately, our goal remains to form graduate student cohorts that are collectively excellent and composed of outstanding individuals who will challenge and support one another.

How can I strengthen my application?

In addition to outstanding undergraduate performance, we look for students who have demonstrated a sustained interest in applications of engineering and physical/quantitative science to biology or medicine through classes, research, or work experience.

Are standardized tests required?

International applicants should review the additional requirements below. We do not accept GRE or MCAT scores.

What about funding? 

HST MEMP is a fully-funded program. Students in good academic standing receive full financial support - consisting of living expenses, tuition, and health insurance - for the duration of their graduate studies. This support comes from a combination of fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. For more detailed information regarding the cost of attendance, including specific costs for tuition and fees, books and supplies, housing and food as well as transportation, please visit the MIT Student Financial Services website.

MEMP PhD students enrolled through MIT can work in the labs of any Harvard or MIT faculty member, including those at the many local institutions affiliated with Harvard and with MIT

How do I apply?

All prospective MEMP PhD candidates must apply to HST via MIT.

Candidates who are simultaneously applying for graduate study with one of our partner units at Harvard - the Harvard Biophysics Graduate Program or the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) – may optionally follow these instructions to apply to participate in the MEMP curriculum in conjunction with their PhD at Harvard. This path is appropriate if you have a particular interest in the curriculum of Harvard's interdepartmental Biophysics Program, or if you’re interested in joining the lab of a Harvard SEAS faculty member to work on a SEAS-based project. 

How to apply

Applying to HST's MEMP PhD program via MIT

Ready to take the next step with HST? You’ll submit your application through MIT’s online application system. Our application will open and a link will be available here on August 1, 2023, for entry in fall 2024. Here’s what we’ll ask for:

1. Statement of objectives

Recommended Length: 800-1200 words

Please give your reasons for wishing to do graduate work in HST. Explain how your background has prepared you for this graduate program. Identify the research area(s) you plan to investigate during your graduate studies, the issues and problems you wish to address, and how HST's program supports your research interests. State your long-term professional goals and specify the unique aspects of the HST program that will help you to accomplish those goals.

  • Prepare your Statement of Objectives in whatever format clearly presents your views.
  • It is not necessary to name specific professors or labs you might want to join. HST requests that candiates wait to contact professors after applications have been reviewed.
  • If applicable, describe any specific academic or research challenges you have overcome. The Admissions Committee will welcome any factors you wish to bring to its attention concerning your academic, research, and work experiences to date.

2. Personal Statement

Recommended Length: 400-800 words

The HST community is composed of individuals who come from a variety of backgrounds, may have faced personal challenges, and serve as leaders in society. Please discuss how your experiences and background inspire you to work for the betterment of your communities. Your response is not limited to, but may discuss, one or more of the following:

  • Personal challenges that you may have faced and how they acted to inhibit your scholarly growth; 
  • Strategies that you may have found or implemented to cope with challenges in your life or the lives of others;
  • How you have fostered justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the past, or how you will in the future at HST and beyond

3. Your unofficial transcript(s)

Upload unofficial transcripts or grade reports 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 them. More info here.

4. Letters of recommendation

Ask a minimum of three (and maximum of five) people to submit letters of recommendation on your behalf.

At least two letters 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 and include a legible signature.

5. Resume/CV

The online application will prompt you to upload a resume or CV.

Additional Notes

We do not accept copies of journal articles, certificates, photographs, or any other materials; they will not be reviewed. 

Training programs

MEMP offers optional training programs in Neuroimaging and Bioastronautics. To express your interest, simply choose one of these specializations from the Areas of Research section in your online application. Otherwise, you should select MEMP, with no sub-specialty.

Fee Waivers

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 Office of Graduate Education. All requests are made through the MIT Office of Graduate Education process. 

Information for applicants to Harvard

Joining HST's MEMP PhD program via Harvard

Are you simultaneously applying for graduate study with one of our partner units at Harvard? If so, you may optionally apply to participate in the MEMP curriculum in conjunction with your PhD at Harvard.

1. In addition to your MIT application (instructions above), submit a full application to either the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) or the Program in Biophysics.

2. Notify HST of your Harvard application.

Upload a PDF copy of your completed Harvard application to your MIT HST graduate application. 

Ideally, Harvard applications should be included with an MIT application and uploaded by our December 1 deadline. Harvard applications can be added to the MIT application until December 9.

If you cannot upload the PDF directly, email it to hst-phd-admissions [at] (hst-phd-admissions[at]mit[dot]edu). We can only accept and add Harvard applications until 5 pm (ET) on December 16. We will not accept or consider joint admission for Harvard applications received after December 16.

Additional Notes

Successful applicants to MEMP through Harvard must be accepted by both the Harvard program and HST. Candidates then have three options for enrollment

  • Participate in both programs - accept the offer from Harvard as your primary PhD institution and notify HST that you will participate in the joint program.
  • MIT MEMP PhD only - decline the offer from Harvard and accept the MIT HST offer.
  • Harvard PhD only -  accept the offer from Harvard only and decline MIT HST offer for both the primary institution and joint program.

Information for international applicants

Information for international applicants

Here are a few additional things to consider when applying from abroad.

1. Transcripts 
Submit transcripts as described elsewhere for all candidates. Transcripts that do not already include an English version must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

2. English language proficiency
You are required to take either the IELTS, Cambridge English or TOEFL exam unless:

  • English is your first language;
  • You have received a degree from a high school, college, or university where English is the primary language of instruction;
  • You are currently enrolled in a degree program where English is the primary language of instruction. 

More information here

Additional Notes

All applications are evaluated without consideration of nationality or citizenship. Funding offers to admitted candidates are typically the same for domestic and international candidates.

Have Questions?

Please check our PhD Admissions FAQ.

Still have questions?

Just email the hst-phd-admissions [at] (HST PhD Admissions staff). We’re here to help.

Key Dates (all Eastern Time)

October 17, 2023, at 12pm
Virtual PhD Admissions Information Session, event has passed. The Zoom webinar invitation is sent to all registered participants closer to the time of the event.

November 8, 2023, at 12pm
Virtual PhD Admissions Information Session, event has passed. The Zoom webinar invitation is sent to all registered participants closer to the time of the event.

December 1, 2023, at 11:59pm
Deadline for applications via MIT

Mid-January 2024
Promising applicants invited to interview

Late January 2024
Virtual Interviews

Mid-February 2024
Admission decisions released

Early March 2024
Open House for admitted applicants

April 15, 2024
Last day for applicants to declare admission decision