About DMS

The Division of Medical Sciences (DMS) at Harvard Medical School with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University offers six interdisciplinary programs leading to the PhD degree in the biomedical sciences:

  • Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics (BIG)
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) (includes faculty from the Departments of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Cell Biology, Developmental and Regenerative Biology, Genetics, Microbiology and Immunobiology, and additional faculty from other departments, hospitals and research institutes)
  • Immunology
  • Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology (SHBT)
  • Virology

These six programs share a common purpose: to foster a stimulating and supportive environment for research training in the biomedical sciences.


The Division of Medical Sciences was established at Harvard University in 1908. The Division was designed to provide students wishing to pursue careers in research and teaching with a broad education in basic biomedical science fields and specialization in one of them. Classroom and laboratory instruction are conducted primarily by approximately 570 faculty members of the basic sciences departments and affiliated hospital laboratories of the Harvard Medical School (HMS) in Boston. The Ph.D. degree is awarded by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) of Harvard University. For over 100 years, this fruitful collaboration has spawned research achievements across the spectrum from basic science to experimental medicine. Since 1909, over 2,200 Division graduates, including six Nobel Laureates, have gone on to distinguished careers in biomedical research, university teaching, and a number of increasingly diverse careers.


The Student Body 

Each year, about 90-100 students begin graduate study. Current enrollment is 655, with affiliated faculty numbering slightly lower at 614. Our students come from a variety of undergraduate institutions throughout the United States and from many foreign countries. Women account for about one-half of the enrollment. To see the current student body demographics please click here.


Research Facilities 

Located in the Longwood Medical Area of Boston, the Division brings together faculty in the biological sciences throughout Harvard University. The Medical Area, which includes Harvard Medical School, a cluster of affiliated hospitals and research institutes, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and the Harvard School of Public Health, comprises one of the most concentrated areas of scientific research facilities in the United States. The interaction between the various programs in the Division, through joint teaching and research as well as the contact with the affiliated hospitals investigating clinical problems, enables the Division to serve as a meeting place for the biological, medical, physical, and chemical sciences, providing students and faculty with a wider range of experience and techniques than can be found in any single discipline or department.

Many of our faculty are based in the seven basic science departments on the Medical School Quadrangle: Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Cell Biology, Genetics, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Neurobiology, Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, and Systems Biology. Other faculty have their laboratories at:


  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Children’s Hospital
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Harvard Institutes of Medicine (HIM)
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Harvard School of Public Health
  • Harvard University in Cambridge
  • Immune Disease Institute
  • Joslin Diabetes Center
  • Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI)
  • Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH),
  • McLean Hospital
  • Schepens Eye Research Institute


The main Harvard University campus in Cambridge encompasses a wide variety of strong academic departments and facilities in the humanities and sciences. The division specifically interacts with the biological sciences programs in biophysics, chemical biology, molecular and cellular biology, organismic and evolutionary biology, biological sciences in public health, and systems biology.




Division of Medical Sciences

Harvard Medical School

260 Longwood Avenue

T-MEC 435

Boston, MA 02115


(617) 432-0162


view map of the Longwood Medical Area


© 2014 by the President and Fellows of
Harvard College