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Biological Sciences in Public Health

Biological Sciences in Public Health​ is one of the programs in the  Harvard Integrated Life Sciences, which facilitates collaboration and cross-disciplinary research.

Biological Sciences in Public Health​ is one of the programs in the  Harvard Integrated Life Sciences, which facilitates collaboration and cross-disciplinary research. Visit  HILS  for additional  application instructions. 

This program is built on three unique core pillars:

  • Biological research with a focus on understanding, preventing, and treating human diseases affecting large populations
  • Emphasis on laboratory sciences using biochemical, cell biology, molecular, genetic, and computational approaches to delineating disease mechanisms
  • State-of-the-art research facilities within the vibrant intellectual community of the Harvard Longwood Campus

You will choose from three major areas of investigation:

  • Metabolic basis of health and diseases, where you will study the control of cellular and systemic metabolism
  • Immunology and infectious diseases, where you will conduct laboratory research focused on infectious and immune-mediated diseases
  • Molecular and integrative physiological sciences, where you will investigate basic pathogenic mechanisms, adaptive stress responses, and other biological impacts on human health and disease.

Examples of student projects include understanding the effect of Mycobacterium tuberculosis genetic and phenotypic diversity, defining how the liver responds to fasting and feeding using genetic mouse models, and understanding how pulmonary airway epithelial cells communicate through extracellular vesicles.

Graduates have gone into academia at institutions like Harvard Medical School, University of Pennsylvania, and Dartmouth College. Others have secured positions in industry with companies like McKinsey & Company, Pfizer, and Novartis.

Students in the BPH program are enrolled in and receive a PhD from the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, even though they may work primarily with Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health faculty on Harvard’s Longwood Medical Campus. BPH is also one of the graduate programs in the Harvard Integrated Life Sciences.  

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the program in Biological Sciences in Public Health and requirements for the degree are detailed in Policies.

Admissions Requirements

Please review admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the program in Biological Sciences in Public Health.

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is a particularly important part of the application. Applicants should take time to familiarize themselves with program faculty to assess compatibility with their scientific interests and align their purpose and goals with the program.  A well-crafted statement should include a description of any past research experience, your current research interests, your motivation in seeking doctoral-level training in the BPH Program, the faculty members who most closely match your interests and why, and your current career aspirations.

If you have published articles, please list these in the Academic History section of the application for admission, citing the PubMedID.

Please note: For those admitted, the program begins in July each year.

Standardized Tests

GRE General: Not Accepted
iBT TOEFL minimum score: 100
IELTS minimum score: 7.5

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for Biological Sciences in Public Health


See list of Biological Sciences in Public Health faculty


Degrees Offered


Questions about the Program?