Minor Program in Speech & Hearing Bioscience and Technology



The Speech & Hearing Bioscience and Technology (SHBT) program of the Harvard Division of Medical Sciences (DMS) offers a minor program to Harvard graduate students interested in interdisciplinary study of speech and hearing.  The training involves a collaboration between the Harvard Medical School and Harvard teaching hospitals (such as the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary and the Massachusetts General Hospital).   US citizens and permanent residents of the US are eligible for support by a training grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The minor can be completed in one year concurrently with the preparation for a Ph.D. degree in the student’s own department.  Students enrolled in the minor program take coursework and conduct a research project related to speech and hearing sciences and disorders.  They develop relationships with other PhD students having complementary interests and skills and with researchers expert in communication and its disorders.

The need

Communication disorders (including disorders of voice, speech, language, and hearing) affect one of every six people in the United States, and are becoming increasingly prevalent.  Because human communication is a highly complex process, progress in the treatment of these disorders requires collaboration between basic scientists, clinicians, and engineers.   The SHBT program offers a broad interdisciplinary training in the sciences of human communication along with opportunities for clinical experience.  The program aims to prepare for research leading to treatments or devices that alleviate communication disorders.



Applicants must be enrolled in a science or engineering doctoral program at Harvard.  It is expected that most applicants will be in the first three years of their graduate studies, but more senior students with appropriate research interests will also be considered.  Only US citizens and permanent residents of the US may apply.


The application deadline is May 1 for admission to the minor program for the following academic year. 

Selection will be based on:


A complete application for training support includes:


Send the application package and inquiries to SHBT.Admissions@gmail.com


Academic Program

Students enrolled in the minor program must propose and pursue a coherent program of coursework and research related to speech and hearing. Specifically, the training program has three required components:

Trainees must take two graduate courses (or equivalent MIT subjects) relevant to the field of human communication and its disorders.  At least one of these must be a core SHBT subject.

Training in Scientific Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research
Students who have not had previous NIH-approved training in scientific ethics and the responsible conduct of research must enroll in either MedSci 300qc: Conduct of Science or HST.790 Research Approaches to Speech and Hearing.

Research training
Students must complete a research project in an area relevant to human communication and its disorders.  The project must represent the equivalent of at least 3 months of full-time effort.  All students give a public oral presentation of their research findings at the conclusion of their project.


Financial support

US citizens and permanent legal residents of the US admitted are eligible for one year of support through a training grant from the National Institutes of Health.  One additional year of support may be offered to students who continue doctoral research in human communication at the conclusion of their training.