PhD Programs of Study

Students in the MD-PhD Program pursue their PhD studies in a remarkable variety of fields. You can view major programs of interest here.

Students may apply as a Basic Science or Social Science MD-PhD student. You may only apply to one track. If you are not sure which is the best fit for you, please contact us.

Basic Sciences: Applicants in the basic and translational sciences do not need to complete a separate application to graduate school at the time of initial application. Application to the graduate program is made during the second year following matriculation in medical school.

Social Sciences: All social science applicants are required to complete a statement of purpose for the PhD program of interest on the Harvard Medical School secondary application.  Some social science applicants may also need to provide a writing sample, CV, or GRE General. To learn more about specific application requirements, please visit the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) website and navigate to your PhD program(s) of interest. On the right side of the individual program homepage(s), see the list under the heading "How To Apply" and sub-heading "Special Requirements."

Social science applicants in the fields of Anthropology, Economics, Health Policy, History of Science, Population Health Sciences and Religion are part of our One Application process and do not require separate, upfront graduate school applications. Applicants interested in also being considered for PhD only in parallel with their MD or MD-PhD applications may decide to apply directly through GSAS.

Other social science programs, such as Philosophy, Psychology, and Sociology, do require a separate application to GSAS. Social science applicants who must submit a separate GSAS application will need to provide a separate set of recommendation letters to the graduate program of choice.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the PhD program(s) of interest directly to learn more about PhD admissions criteria.