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 diversity of the community it serves. While admission is very selective, we encourage students from groups historically underrepresented in STEM, 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 will not require 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 their coursework, research, or work experience.

What tests should I complete before applying?

HST no longer requires the GRE General Test. International applicants should review additional requirements. Be sure to schedule your testing so score reports can reach us by the application deadline.

Should I apply through MIT, Harvard, or both?

We recommend that all MEMP PhD candidates apply through MIT. MEMP students enrolled through MIT can work in the labs of any Harvard or MIT faculty member, including those at Harvard-affiliated hospitals.

You should consider also applying through Harvard if you have a particular interest in participating in the curriculum of Harvard's interdepartmental Biophysics Program, or you’re interested in doing thesis research with a Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences faculty member on a SEAS-based project. More info here.

How to apply through MIT

How to apply through MIT

Ready to take the next step with HST? You’ll submit your application through GradApply, MIT’s online application tool. GradApply opens on August 1, 2020 for entry in fall 2021. Here’s what we’ll ask for:

1. Statement of objectives

Recommended Length: one to two pages

Please give your reasons for wishing to do graduate work in HST. Explain how your background has prepared you for this graduate program. Describe any specific challenges you have overcome, if applicable. 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. The Admissions Committee will welcome any factors you wish to bring to its attention concerning your personal, academic, research, and work experiences to date.

2. 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.

3. 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.

Notes on MIT applications

When applying through MIT, please do not send copies of journal articles, certificates of graduation, completion of programs, or photographs. This material will not be reviewed.

Training programs

MEMP offers optional training programs in Neuroimaging and Bioastronautics. You can indicate your interest in these specializations by selecting the Program option within the "Application Information" section of GradApply. Otherwise, you should select MEMP/No training program.

One last thing to keep in mind

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.

How to apply through Harvard

How to apply through Harvard

Ready to apply to HST’s MEMP PhD program through Harvard? Here’s what to do:

1. Submit a full application to either the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) or the Program in Biophysics:

We recommend that all candidates completing a Harvard application also apply through MIT.

2. Indicate your interest in MEMP as part of your essay.

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 — so be sure to indicate your interest in HST’s MEMP PhD program while writing your essay.

3. Notify HST of your application to MEMP PhD Program.

Send a PDF copy of your completed Harvard application to the hst-adms-team [at] (HST PhD Admissions Team) no later than December 15.

Notes on Harvard applications

For specific information on admission to MEMP via Harvard Biophysics, please email james_hogle [at] (Dr. James Hogle).

HST will make arrangements directly with SEAS or Biophysics to obtain copies of your letters of recommendation.

What about international applicants?

What about international applicants?

Whether you choose to apply through Harvard or MIT, there are a few additional things to consider when applying from abroad.

1. Transcript translation
Submit transcripts as described above. Transcripts that do not already include an English version must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

2. English language testing
You are required to take either the TOEFL or 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 or undergraduate school. Contact the hst-adms-team [at] (HST PhD Admissions Team) if you believe that other circumstances 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.

Have Questions?

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

Key Dates

December 15, 2020, at 11:59pm
Deadline for applications via MIT

December 1, 2020, at 5pm
Deadline for applications via Harvard Biophysics

December 15, 2020, at 5pm
Deadline for applications via Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

January 2021
Promising applicants invited to interview

Late February or early March 2021

Mid March 2021
Admission decisions released