Through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, prospective students apply for doctoral and master’s degree study at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). These programs lie at the interfaces of engineering, the applied sciences (from biology to physics), and technology. Graduate students work toward a degree in one of seven subjects—Applied Mathematics, Applied Physics, Computational Science & Engineering, Computer Science, Data Science, Design Engineering*, and Engineering Sciences, which includes bioengineering, electrical engineering, environmental science and engineering, and materials science & mechanical engineering. SEAS also offers an MS/MBA: Engineering Sciences program** jointly with Harvard Business School. PhD students are enrolled in and receive their degree from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, even though they may study primarily with SEAS faculty.

SEAS faculty members, nearly 30 percent of whom have joint appointments in other research areas, have close ties with the science departments (especially physics, the biological sciences, chemistry, and Earth and planetary sciences) in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and with Harvard’s professional schools (including Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard Kennedy School). Programs that include work in one or more science departments are common. Students may pursue collaborative options through the Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) program, which is part of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST), and supplement their studies by cross-registering in other Harvard graduate schools or at MIT.

*Prospective students who are interested in the master in design engineering degree program apply through the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

**Prospective students who are interested in the MS/MBA: Engineering Sciences degree program apply through Harvard Business School.​

Admissions Requirements

Students with bachelor’s degrees in the natural sciences, mathematics, computer science, or engineering are invited to apply for admission.

When applying, select “Engineering and Applied Sciences” as your program choice and your degree and area of interest in the Area of Study menu. PhD applicants must complete the Supplemental SEAS Application Form as part of the online application process. Applicants to our terminal master's degree programs need not complete the supplemental application. 

Harvard College students may apply to the AB/SM program, which enables them to earn a master’s degree in applied mathematics, applied physics, computational science and engineering, computer science, or engineering sciences while simultaneously completing their AB degree. Students interested in applying for the AB/SM should contact the Office of Undergraduate Education at Harvard College about eligibility.

Those interested in learning more about specific program requirements should consult GSAS Policies.

Special Instructions for Medical Engineering and Medical Physics

If you are also applying to the Medical Engineering and Medical Physics program, please review their admissions instructions. By December 15, you must send a PDF of your completed GSAS application to hst-adms-team@mit.edu.

Applied Mathematics

DEGREE OFFERED: PHD

Applied mathematics is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the creation and imaginative use of mathematical concepts to pose and solve problems over the entire gamut of the physical and biomedical sciences and engineering, and increasingly, the social sciences and humanities. Working individually and as part of teams collaborating across the University and beyond, faculty and students in applied mathematics seek to quantitatively describe, predict, design, and control phenomena in a range of fields. 

Graduate students in applied mathematics work with faculty researching:

  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Control Theory and Stochastic Systems
  • Economics and Computation
  • Modeling Physical/Biological Phenomena and Systems
  • Theory of Computation

Applied Physics

DEGREE OFFERED: PHD

Applied physics is at the intersection of physics and engineering. Applied physicists explore the phenomena that become the foundation of quantum and photonic devices and novel materials. They also study the fundamentals of complex systems, including living organisms. Applied physicists are problem solvers by nature, and our PhDs find employment not only in academia but also in non-profits and industry, including start-ups. 

Graduate students in applied physics work with faculty researching:

  • Biomaterials

  • Materials 

  • Photonics

  • Quantum Engineering

  • Soft Matter

Theses & Dissertations for Applied Physics

Computational Science and Engineering

Degree offered: SM, ME

Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) is an exciting and rapidly evolving field that exploits the power of computation as an approach to major challenges at the frontiers of natural and social science and all engineering fields. Sitting at the intersection of computer science and applied math, the master’s program offers students experience with mathematical techniques for modeling and simulation of complex systems; parallel programming and collaborative software development; and methods for organizing, exploring, visualizing, processing, and analyzing very large data sets.

Computer Science

DEGREES OFFERED: PhD

Computer science studies both the fundamentals of computation and computation’s interaction with the world. Computer scientists develop new algorithms, invent new systems and theories that empower people and society, and advance the science of computing while working with engineers, scientists, social scientists, lawyers, artists, and others around the University and beyond.

Graduate students in computer science work with faculty researching:

  • Architecture
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computational and Data Science
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Economics and Computation
  • Graphics, Vision, and Visualization
  • Information and Society
  • Programming Languages
  • Systems, Networks, and Databases
  • Theory of Communication
  • Theory of Computation

Data Science

Degrees offered: SM

Data science lies at the intersection of statistical methodology, computational science, and a wide range of application domains. The program offers strong preparation in statistical modeling, machine learning, optimization, management and analysis of massive data sets, and data acquisition.  The program focuses on topics such as reproducible data analysis, collaborative problem solving, visualization and communication, and security and ethical issues that arise in data science.

Engineering Sciences

Four variants of the engineering sciences degree are offered, plus a combined MBA and master of science degree.

Bioengineering

DEGREES OFFERED: PhD

Bioengineering is inherently interdisciplinary and combines faculty and research centers from across our campuses and Harvard teaching hospitals. In bioengineering, we integrate fundamental engineering disciplines such as thermodynamics and fluid mechanics with the physical and life sciences while drawing on mathematics and computational sciences. This convergence allows us to understand the operation of living systems and to design novel solutions to critical problems in medicine and biology. Bioengineers at Harvard are making advances in bio-inspired robotics and computing, biomechanics and motor control, cell and tissue engineering, biomaterials, and therapeutics. Graduate students in bioengineering work with faculty researching:

  • Bio-inspired Robotics and Computing
  • Biomechanics Motor and Control
  • Cell and Tissue Engineering

Electrical Engineering

DEGREES OFFERED: PhD

Electrical engineering (EE) studies systems that sense, analyze, and interact with the world. Electrical engineers invent devices for sensing and actuation, design physical substrates for computation, create algorithms for analysis and control, and expand the theory of information processing. Their practice is based in fundamental science and mathematics, and this creates opportunities for both theoretical and experimental research.

Graduate students in EE work with faculty researching:

  • Circuits and VLSI
  • Computer Engineering
  • Robotics and Control
  • Signal Processing

 

Environmental Science and Engineering

DEGREES OFFERED:PhD

Environmental science and engineering is an interdisciplinary program with the common goal of understanding, predicting, and responding to human-induced environmental change.

Environmental scientists at Harvard address environmental issues such as global warming, stratospheric ozone depletion, and local and regional air and water pollution. This work requires perspectives from a diverse set of scientific disciplines, including atmospheric physics and chemistry, oceanography, glaciology, hydrology, geophysics, ecology, and biogeochemistry. 

Graduate students in environmental science and engineering work with faculty researching:

Materials Science & Mechanical Engineering

Degrees offered: PhD

Materials science & mechanical engineering ranges from fundamental work in solid and fluid mechanics to diverse studies in materials, mechanical systems, and biomechanics. Characterizing the performance of such systems often depends on understanding behavior at several scales, requiring, for example, the mechanics of dislocations and other imperfections, grain boundaries, interfaces, and material heterogeneity.

Current graduate students in materials science and mechanical engineering work with faculty researching: