Diverse Student Body

  • From 2000 to the present, 124 individuals from traditionally under-represented groups have earned their Ph.D. degrees in the Division of Medical Sciences programs.
  • About half of these 124 graduates who are members of underrepresented minority groups are continuing in research training or in research careers at institutions such as Washington University, Stanford, the University of Michigan, the Centers for Disease Control, Harvard, Rockefeller, Scripps Research Foundation, or the University of Miami.
  • Many others are continuing research in industrial settings at places like Genentech, Pfizer, or Millennium (Takeda) Pharmaceuticals.
  • Several are completing MD/PhD training, or are in residency or fellowship training at such sites as the University of Washington, UCSF, Johns Hopkins, Harvard affiliated teaching hospitals, Northwestern, or Columbia University.
  • Others have entered careers in the fields of science writing, educational software engineering, science policy, consulting, and patent law.
  • 63.8% of SHBT students are female
  • 11.1% are under-represented minorities
  • Two out of 5 students in the entering class are women
  • One student in the entering class of 5 is from an under-represented minority
  • ~24% of DMS faculty are women

Diversity and inclusivity is central to the intellectual excellence, experience, and mission that is SHBT and Harvard Medical School.


We are dedicated to recruiting and mentoring a community of scholars that reflects the ethnic and cultural diversity of our society. We are committed to expanding the pool of talented students who apply to SHBT. To discuss your choice of the SHBT Program to pursue Ph.D. training, please reach out to SHBT Program Head, Bertrand Delgutte, or SHBT Director of Admissions, Sunil Puria. As well, always available is Dr. Sheila Thomas, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Minority Affairs.


Minority Biomedical Scientists of Harvard Medical School (MBSH) is a student organization within the Division of Medical Sciences at Harvard Medical School, whose mission is to meet the needs for career development of biomedical scientists from groups traditionally underrepresented in academic departments at Harvard Medical School and Harvard University. The intent is to fashion a networking, mentoring, and mutually invigorating society to support the growth of successful scientific careers. Specific goals:


  • Professional development of its members by honing skills such as grant writing (through workshops), lecturing and seminar presentation (through regular journal clubs), as well as other activities required for excellence in the competitive world of the biomedical sciences.
  • Networking among members and other persons in academia and industry, to promote a sense of family for the general improvement of minority scientists.
  • Outreach programs to encourage grammar and high school students as well as college undergraduates to consider careers in biomedical science.


The Office of Diversity and Minority Affairs at The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has detailed and useful information about Harvard and HMS and efforts to increase opportunities for minority students. Download Perspectives (PDF), a brochure for minority students considering Harvard GSAS. Please also view our recruitment calendar.


The Multicultural Student Alliance is comprised of six minority student health-related organizations. It implements programs and addresses issues that have an impact on current and prospective students in programs based at Harvard Medical School. The six organizations that make up the Alliance are: the Black Health Organization, Medical Students of Las Americas, the Student National Medical Association, Meeting of Students Addressing Intercultural Concerns, the Student National Dental Association, and the Native American Health Organization, which seeks to increase the awareness among members of the Harvard community of their Native American heritage as well as the health care issues affecting the Native American community.

Harvard Native American Program brings together Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students and interested individuals from the Harvard community for the purpose of advancing the well-being of indigenous peoples through self-determination, academic achievement, and community service.


W. E. B. Du Bois Graduate Society is an organization of GSAS students and others devoted to addressing minority issues. The aims of the society are twofold: to be a forum where students can meet to discuss concerns of race and ethnicity, and to provide a social, intellectual, and political institution for minority student activities. In addition, the society wishes to serve as a liaison to welcome new and visiting minority scholars to the Harvard community.

The SHURP Program of the Division of Medical Sciences. The Summer Honors Undergraduate Research Program (SHURP), begun in 1991, is intended primarily for college science students who are seriously interested in research and who are members of racial or ethnic groups underrepresented in biological sciences. SHURP students spend about 85 percent of their time pursuing research projects in the laboratories of Medical School and Division of Medical Sciences (DMS) faculty members. Students also participate in informal weekly seminars to teach each other about their research projects and in weekly career development discussions. SHURP student groups are paired with groups of graduate and MD/PhD students for informal peer mentoring. Past participants have found that the Program gives them an opportunity to apply what they have learned in coursework to their research. They also have a chance to build self-confidence in their science skills and in the career decisions they are making.

Selection for the program is based on an applicant’s interest in a career in biomedical research, previous research experience, letters of recommendation, and academic preparation. Students receive a summer stipend and housing is provided. Contact the Division of Medical Sciences at shurp@hms.harvard.edu or (800) 367-9019 for information.


Other important organizations and links

Biomedical Graduate Student Organization (BGSO)
Accessible Education Office
Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning
Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership Harvard
Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs (ORMA)
Harvard Graduate Women in Science and Engineering
Harvard Graduate Student Council (GSC)

© 2017 President and Fellows
of Harvard College