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HILS Preview Weekend

Important Dates

  • Application Opens: April 15, 2024
  • Application Deadline: June 17, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. ET
  • HILS Preview Weekend: September 26-28, 2024

Please read the program description, eligibility criteria, and application instructions before beginning your application.

Program Description

The goal of the Harvard Integrated Life Sciences (HILS) Preview Weekend is to provide an in-person academic professional development and community building experience for prospective HILS PhD program applicants who have not previously had the opportunity to visit Harvard and become familiar with its programs and resources. Core to the mission of the HILS Preview Weekend is the promotion of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging in STEM.

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Students talking outside of Lehman Hall

At the HILS Preview Weekend, participants will:

  • connect and network with HILS PhD program students, staff, and faculty
  • gain insights into the application process and how to prepare a strong application for HILS PhD programs
  • learn about resources, support, and the life sciences research environment at Harvard
  • explore the city of Boston.

Lodging, airfare, and all meals are covered for HILS Preview Weekend participants.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligible applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • US citizens, permanent residents, or non-US citizens with DACA 
  • individuals who will be applying to PhD programs in the life sciences in 2024
  • must be available to attend the entire in-person program.

Individuals ineligible for the HILS Preview Weekend include those:

  • who have participated in summer research, postbaccalaureate, or other outreach programs at Harvard, its affiliated hospitals and/or institutes
  • who are current or former research assistants or master's students at Harvard or its affiliated institutes.

Please note that applications that do not meet these eligibility criteria will not be considered.

Who Should Apply?

  • college seniors, postbaccalaureate students, research assistants, master's students, and STEM professionals

Individuals with:

  • a demonstrated interest in pursuing a PhD in the life sciences
  • a strong interest in HILS PhD programs
  • prior hands-on research experience in a wet lab or dry lab environment.

We especially encourage applications from students who are from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds (see also NOT-OD-20-031). Applications are open to all, and HILS does not consider race, ethnicity, or national origin in reviewing applications.

Application Components

The HILS Preview Weekend application consists of the following components:

  • personal, academic, and research background
  • unofficial transcripts
  • statement of purpose – see instructions below
  • personal statement – see instructions below
  • a letter of recommendation (from a faculty member in whose laboratory you have performed research) – see instructions below
  • resume – see instructions below
  • Note: There is no application fee for the HILS Preview Weekend.

Please note that incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Stay tuned for the launch of the application!

Statement of Purpose (750 words max)

Your statement of purpose should be clear, concise, and coherent, including all of the following components.

  • Describe your reasons and motivations for participating in the HILS Preview Weekend and pursuing a PhD in your chosen field(s), including how you will benefit from the HILS Preview Weekend. 
  • Briefly indicate your career objectives. 
  • Most importantly, detail your research experience. Your description of your research experience should include:
    • the central question and/or hypothesis driving each of your research projects or research experiences
    • key methods, results, and conclusions
    • your specific experimental and intellectual contributions to the work.

Your statement should be free from spelling or grammatical errors, well structured with transitions, labeled with your first and last name, and comprehensible for someone who is not an expert in your field. Please upload your statement of purpose as a PDF.

Personal Statement (500 words max)

A core part of the Harvard Griffin GSAS mission is to identify and attract the most promising students to form a dynamic and diverse community. We are committed to training individuals who reflect the growing diversity of society today and who will contribute to our commitment to sustain a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive environment. Please briefly describe your personal journey to graduate education and how your experiences have impacted your decision to pursue graduate study. In addition, please describe any personal experiences in your education or upbringing—including opportunities, hardships, or obstacles—that you believe to be pertinent to your application.

Letter of Recommendation

Please have a faculty member in whose lab you have conducted research submit a letter of recommendation for you, describing and discussing (1) your work in their laboratory, (2) academic performance, (3) intellectual potential, (4) motivation for graduate study, (5) creativity and originality, and (6) other qualities that make you a strong candidate for PhD programs in the life sciences.

Note: You are responsible for ensuring that the faculty member writing your letter of recommendation submits it by the application deadline. Applications without a letter of recommendation will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.

Resume (1-2 pages)

Your resume should include a brief overview of the following elements, as applicable: your relevant education, research experience, laboratory skills, teaching experience, presentations, publications, honors and awards, and relevant leadership, outreach, and extracurricular activities. Resumes that are longer than two pages will not be reviewed.

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