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

Established at Harvard University in 1908, the Division of Medical Sciences (DMS) provides students wishing to pursue careers in research and teaching with a broad education in basic biomedical science fields and specialization in one of them. Classroom and laboratory instruction are conducted primarily by faculty in the basic sciences departments and affiliated hospital laboratories of Harvard Medical School, leading to a PhD awarded by GSAS. For over 100 years, this fruitful collaboration has spawned research achievements across the spectrum from basic science to experimental medicine. Since 1909, more than 2,800 division graduates, including six Nobel Laureates, have gone on to distinguished careers in biomedical research, university teaching, and a number of increasingly diverse careers.

DMS offers six interdisciplinary areas of study leading to a PhD in the biomedical sciences, which share a common purpose of fostering a stimulating and supportive environment for research training in the biomedical sciences: Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics, ​Biological and Biomedical SciencesImmunologyNeuroscienceSpeech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, and Virology.

DMS students are enrolled in and receive a PhD from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, even though they may work primarily with Harvard Medical School faculty. 

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the Division of Medical Sciences and requirements for the degree are detailed in GSAS policies.

Admissions Requirements

Please review GSAS admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the Division of Medical Sciences.

In the application for admission, select “Division of Medical Sciences” as your degree program choice and your area of interest from the Area of Study drop down.

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


All DMS programs conduct personal interviews as part of the application process. Invitations for interviews are usually sent out between late December and early January, depending on the program.

Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics (BIG)

Applicants to the BIG program typically have majored in a quantitative field (e.g., computer science, mathematics, statistics, physics, bioengineering) with a demonstrated interest in biological sciences OR have majored in a biological science but with considerable aptitude in computer programming and quantitative methods.

Neuroscience (PiN)

While there are no specific degree subject, course, or research requirements, applicants are expected to have rigorous undergraduate coursework in the sciences, including biology, chemistry, and physics, and prior lab research experience. Applicants who have trained outside of neuroscience and biology are expected to have a demonstrated interest in neuroscience.

The statement of purpose should help the admissions committee get to know each applicant as a person and as a scientist. How did your background and lived experience help shape you as a scientist? What are your interests and goals in graduate school? How do your research experiences and goals fit within this context? You should briefly establish a contextual framework, provide a summary of your research experience, including the question(s)/topic(s) of your research, their importance, your hypotheses, how you tested your hypotheses, your findings, possible outcomes, and how you interpreted those outcomes.

Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology (SHBT)

Applicants who are invited for on-campus interviews are notified in late December. Interviews generally occur in late January as part of a series of activities beginning on a Thursday evening and ending the following Sunday. Travel and hotel expenses for this visit are covered by the SHBT Program. Invited applicants should make every effort to attend the interview weekend, but those who are unable to do so should inquire about other arrangements.

Theses and Dissertations

Theses & dissertations for Division of Medical Sciences

Division of Medical Sciences Faculty