Virology is an area of study within the Division of Medical Sciences, an administrative unit based at Harvard Medical School that coordinates biomedical PhD activities at the Longwood Medical Area. Students who study in Virology receive a PhD in medical sciences. Prospective students apply through GSAS; in the online application, select “Division of Medical Sciences” as your program choice and select "Virology" in the Area of Study menu.

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

New viruses—SARS, H1N1 influenza, and Nipah viruses among them—have emerged around the world; Ebola Chikungunya, and West Nile viruses have re-emerged; and the AIDS epidemic continues to sweep across sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. New vaccines for HIV, smallpox, avian influenza and genital herpes are sorely needed. New antivirals for Dengue, hepatitis C and HIV viruses are also desperately needed. The role of such viruses as Merkel cell polyoma, papilloma, Kaposi’s sarcoma and Epstein-Barr virus in human cancer highlight challenges to prevent and treat these diseases.

Researchers at Harvard University are working on all these biomedical problems. They conduct basic research defining new molecular structures of viruses and virus-encoded enzymes, new mechanisms within cells for molecular and organelle trafficking and function, and new mechanisms that control cell growth. Harvard researchers are among the world leaders in the design and testing of AIDS, genital herpes, and smallpox vaccines. The Harvard Program in Virology provides extraordinary opportunities to conduct graduate study for the PhD in these exciting areas of biomedical science.


Virology Faculty