Student Qualifications & Admission Requirements 

To qualify for admission, applicants must demonstrate strong enthusiasm and ability for the vigorous pursuit of scientific knowledge. Minimal requirements include a bachelor’s degree and undergraduate preparation in the sciences. The program in Bioinformatics requires a strong grounding in mathematics and quantitative sciences (e.g. computer sciences, physics and chemistry). 


Strong consideration is given to letters of recommendation, particularly to comments from individuals who have firsthand knowledge of the applicant’s research experience.


All of our Programs conduct personal interviews as part of the application process. Invitations for interviews are usually sent out between late December and early January depending on the program.


Harvard University's policy is to make decisions on the basis of the individual's qualifications to contribute to Harvard's educational objectives and institutional needs. It is unlawful, and contrary to Harvard University policy, to discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, veteran status, or disability unrelated to job or course of study requirements.

Applying to a Program in DMS 

Applicants can apply to the DMS programs listed. To apply to a DMS program, you should select "Division of Medical Sciences" as your program of choice from the pull down menu at the "Please select your program" box on the Program Selection page. Then using the pull down menu at the "Subject" box right below this, you must select one of these six specific subject areas within the Division of Medical Sciences.


  • Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics (BIG) 4450

  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences(BBS) 4420**

  • Immunology 4405

  • Neuroscience 4407

  • Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology (SHBT) 4419

  • Virology 4411


Those wishing to do research in Biochemistry and Proteomics, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Cellular Imaging and Image Analysis, Computational Biology, Developmental Biology, Disease Mechanisms, Genetics & Genomics, Human Biology, Immunobiology, Membrane Biology, Microbial Biology and Pathogenesis, Molecular Biology, Molecular Neuroscience, Physiology, Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Structural Biology, and Therapeutics, Targets, and Discovery usually apply through the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Program.  Applicants wishing to do research in Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics (BIG), Immunology, Neuroscience, Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology (SHBT) or Virology should apply directly to the relevant program.


Applicants can only apply to up to two DMS programs.


**BBS applicants should complete the “Areas of Interest” form on the online application.

Application Fees & Deadline

The cost to apply online is $105.00 U.S. (subject to change). The online application fee must be paid by credit card; no other form of payment is accepted. Your application will not be processed unless payment is submitted and received.


Applications for the 2018-2019 academic year will open on September 1, 2017. All applications and supporting materials must be submitted by the deadline of December 1, 2017, 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time in order to be considered.  A completed application includes submission of the online application form, scores from the Graduate Record Examination (General Test), and official transcripts. Applicants whose native language is not English, and who have not received a bachelor's degree from an English language institution, must meet minimum score requirements on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).


All materials, including letters of recommendation and official reports of the GRE, must be received by the application deadline. GRE tests should be taken no later than October 2017 for official scores to arrive in time.


Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test is required. The GRE Subject test is optional; if you choose to take a subject test, you can take it in the subject of your choice. When requesting GRE score reports, be sure to indicate the receiving institution as Harvard University, Graduate Division, Arts and Sciences code 3451. No department code is required.


We strongly recommend that applicants take the GRE General test no later than October 2017 to ensure that score reports arrive in time to be considered.


Scores are valid for five years.  They are valid from 10/1/2012 onward for the 2018 – 2019 application year. For more information, visit the GRE website or call the Educational Testing Service at 609-771-7670.


Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission.  Applicants whose native language is other than English and who do not hold the equivalent of a US Bachelor’s degree from an institution at which English is the language of instruction must submit scores from the Internet based test (IBT) of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), Box 899, Princeton, NJ  08541. 


When requesting official score reports, be sure to indicate the receiving institution as Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Code 3451.  If an “Applicant’s Score Confirmation Report” is available, scan and upload it as a pdf to the online admissions application.  However, the official institutional score report sent by ETS to the Graduate School (3451) is still required.  A minimum of 100 on the Internet based test (IBT) on the TOEFL is required for consideration by the Division of Medical Sciences’ programs.  No test other than the TOEFL IBT will be acceptable as proof of English Proficiency.


Applicants holding only a master’s degree from an English-language university will need to provide scores for the TOEFL test. This requirement cannot be waived.


Applicants who took the TOEFL two years prior to December 1, 2017 must repeat the test. For more information, visit the TOEFL website at or call the Educational Testing Service at 609-771-7100.


Financial Aid 

Applicants to the Division of Medical Sciences other than international applicants to the SHBT program should NOT­ complete the Statement of Financial Resources for Graduate Study. These students receive full tuition and stipend support while they are enrolled. International applicants to the SHBT program who are not permanent legal residents of the US must complete the Statement of Financial Resources for Graduate Study.


Official Transcripts 

Applicants must upload an official copy of their transcript/s to their online application by the admission deadline. Paper copies are not accepted during the admission process.  An official copy is one that is prepared by the Registrar of the applicant’s home institution/s and given to the student for the purpose of applying for admission.


Upon acceptance of the offer of admission and prior to enrollment, Harvard will require submission of a hard copy of official transcript/s sent to Harvard directly from their home institution/s. This transcript is considered official when it is sent directly from an institution to the Graduate School Admissions Office at Harvard University or when a copy is given to an applicant in a sealed envelope which has been signed on the back flap, and then mailed directly to Harvard University.  Once opened, the transcript is no longer considered official.  It must remain sealed when mailed to Harvard for the purpose of enrollment. 


Letters of Recommendation 

We do not accept any paper letters of recommendation. Be sure to register your recommenders’ information in your application, as all recommendation letters must be submitted online.  Paper letters of recommendation will NOT be included as part of your application.

Important Information About Applying

Apply Now!


The application for Fall 2018 matriculation wil go live on September 1, 2017 and can be accessed here. The deadline for submitting the application and supporting materials is December 1, 2017 5:00 pm est.


Below are the six programs within the Division of Medical Sciences that students can apply to. Please follow the steps below in order to apply to the PhD program for which you want to be considered:

  1. Select "Division of Medical Sciences" from the program selection drop down menu
  2. Select from the subject drop down the Ph.D. subject for which you are applying:
    • Bioinformatics & Integrative Genomics (BIG)
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS)
    • Immunology
    • Neuroscience
    • Speech & Hearing Bioscience Technology
    • Virology



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Please click here to see the answers to many commonly asked questions.


Contact Information


DMS Student Affairs Office

TMEC 435; Harvard Medical School
260 Longwood Ave
Boston, MA 02115

Telephone: (617) 432-0162



What is considered a completed Application


Items uploaded to the online application:

  • Completed online application
  • Statement of Purpose
  • CV
  • GRE Scores - student copy
  • TOEFL Scores (if applicable) - student copy
  • Transcripts - official copy
  • Certificates & other pertinent information (if applicable)
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • $105 application Fee


Other Featured Items

Richness through Diversity


We are committed to training the most talented individuals regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability status or any other dimension of diversity.


Please click here to learn about some of our diversity initiatives.

© 2014 by the President and Fellows of
Harvard College