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. 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 additional requirements below. We do not accept GRE or MCAT scores.

What about funding? 

Essentially all MEMP students in good academic standing receive full financial support - consisting of stipend, tuition, and health insurance - for the duration of their graduate studies. This support comes from a combination of fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. 

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 and research institutes.

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, 2021 for entry in fall 2022. 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. 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 diverse 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:

  • A personal challenge you have faced and how you overcame it;
  • Steps you have taken to advocate for others;
  • How you have fostered justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the past;
  • What you will do to foster justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and social consciousness in HST and in your future career; 
  • How the training you will receive in HST could help you address disparities in healthcare or biomedical sciences/technology;
  • How you have been, or will be, a leader to advance or serve your community.

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.

Notes on MIT applications

When applying through MIT, please do not send copies of journal articles, certificates, photographs, or any other materials; they will not be reviewed. In the Subjects Taken section you can skip entering textbook information.

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.

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.

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 Harvard application.

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

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

Information for international applicants

Information for international applicants

Whether you choose to apply through Harvard or MIT, there 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 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 for your secondary (high school) or undergraduate educationMore information here


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)

November 17, 2021, at 12pm
PhD Admissions Information Session - send questions to hst-phd-admissions [at] 

December 15, 2021, at 11:59pm
Deadline for applications via MIT

December 1, 2021 at 5pm
Deadline for applications via Harvard Biophysics

December 15, 2021, at 5pm
Deadline for applications via Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Mid-January 2022
Promising applicants invited to interview

Late January 2022
Virtual Interviews

Mid-February 2022
Admission decisions released

Late-February, early March 2022
Virtual Open House

April 15, 2022
Last day for applicants to declare admission decision