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Understanding the Harvard Referencing System

One of the challenges of academic writing is formatting the finished paper. Each professor, course and publication has slightly different requirements for everything from setting up the margins to using punctuation in the bibliography. You also have to give credit to your sources or risk the consequences of a plagiarism charge.

In most cases, you use in your paper two types of citations. The first is a list at the end of the document that lists each source you used in your research. The other is an in-text citation that shows which source you used to develop a specific idea in the paper. When you write these in-text citations in parentheses, you’re using the Harvard Referencing System.

Development of the Harvard Referencing System

Parenthetical citation first appeared in a 1881 paper by famed scientist Edward Laurens Mark. In his landmark work about the embryogenesis of the common garden slug, Mark listed the author and publication year of another work. He included an explanatory footnote for further information.

Before this moment, all citations within a text used printer symbols like asterisks and crosses to denote the reference. Mark’s parenthetical citation was groundbreaking because it was a convenient way to show the reader the connections between the text and the bibliography. In 1903 he received formal credit for the new format.

Parenthetical citation first appeared in a 1881 paper by famed scientist Edward Laurens Mark. In his landmark work about the embryogenesis of the common garden slug, Mark listed the author and publication year of another work. He included an explanator

How the Harvard Referencing System Works With Writing Styles

The Harvard reference system is not a writing style like APA or Chicago Style. If fact, the publication guidelines produced by the American Psychological Association and the Modern Language Association use Harvard referencing because they require parenthe

Harvard Reference Generators

There are some Harvard Reference generators available online, but you don’t have to search for generators that specifically mention this format. Any citation generator that produces parenthetical citations is technically a Harvard Reference generator.

Tips for Formatting Citations

Several universities in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand rely on the Harvard Reference System for their research papers. They also offer tips for using parenthetical citations in text. For example, according to the University of Sheffield,

Tips for Quotations

When you want to quote direct information from another work, you have to do more than list the original author’s name and publication date. You also have to include the page number where you found the information in the original text. For long quotes, sta

Tips for Secondary Referencing

The sources you use for your research also have their own sources. You can acknowledge these secondary sources in your writing. The key is to make sure the reader understands which text you read. You do this by using the phrase “cited in” within the paren


phd requirements for harvard

PhD Program Requirements

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In addition to the common degree requirements expected of Harvard Griffin GSAS students, students must meet additional requirements specified by their department or program. This section provides additional degree requirements by academic program.


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Overview of the PhD Program

For specific information on the Computer Science PhD program, see the navigation links to the right. 

What follows on this page is an overview of all Ph.D. programs at the School; additional information and guidance can be found on the  Graduate Policies  pages. 

General Ph.D. Requirements

  • 10 semester-long graduate courses, including at least 8 disciplinary.   At least 5 of the 10 should be graduate-level SEAS "technical" courses (or FAS graduate-level technical courses taught by SEAS faculty), not including seminar/reading/project courses.  Undergraduate-level courses cannot be used.  For details on course requirements, see the school's overall PhD course requirements  and the individual program pages linked therein.
  • Program Plan (i.e., the set of courses to be used towards the degree) approval by the  Committee on Higher Degrees  (CHD).
  • Minimum full-time academic residency of two years .
  • Serve as a Teaching Fellow (TF) in one semester of the second year.
  • Oral Qualifying Examination Preparation in the major field is evaluated in an oral examination by a qualifying committee. The examination has the dual purpose of verifying the adequacy of the student's preparation for undertaking research in a chosen field and of assessing the student's ability to synthesize knowledge already acquired. For details on arranging your Qualifying Exam, see the exam policies and the individual program pages linked therein.
  • Committee Meetings : PhD students' research committees meet according to the guidelines in each area's "Committee Meetings" listing.  For details see the "G3+ Committee Meetings" section of the Policies of the CHD  and the individual program pages linked therein.
  • Final Oral Examination (Defense) This public examination devoted to the field of the dissertation is conducted by the student's research committee. It includes, but is not restricted to, a defense of the dissertation itself.  For details of arranging your final oral exam see the  Ph.D. Timeline  page.
  • Dissertation Upon successful completion of the qualifying examination, a committee chaired by the research supervisor is constituted to oversee the dissertation research. The dissertation must, in the judgment of the research committee, meet the standards of significant and original research.

Optional additions to the Ph.D. program

Harvard PhD students may choose to pursue these additional aspects:

  • a Secondary Field (which is similar to a "minor" subject area).  SEAS offers PhD Secondary Field programs in  Data Science and in  Computational Science and Engineering .   GSAS  lists  secondary fields offered by other programs.
  • a Master of Science (S.M.) degree conferred  en route to the Ph.D in one of several of SEAS's subject areas.  For details see here .
  • a Teaching Certificate awarded by the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning .

SEAS PhD students may apply to participate in the  Health Sciences and Technology graduate program  with Harvard Medical School and MIT.  Please check with the HST program for details on eligibility (e.g., only students in their G1 year may apply) and the application process.

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Admissions & Financial Support

Interested in applying to one of our fully funded PhD Programs? Before you begin, learn more about our application requirements. Please note that applicants are only required to possess a bachelors degree. Undergraduate applicants in their senior year are welcome to apply

We realize that the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, recent natural disasters, and other extenuating circumstances may have significant impacts on applicants’ academic and personal lives, including the ability to provide all required application materials prior to our stated deadlines. If this pertains to your circumstances, please review the information below for next steps.

Required Application Materials

  • Completed online application form
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcripts for all college/university degrees and courses Self-reported transcripts are accepted for both all programs at the application stage. Applicants must upload copies of his/her transcripts to the online application system. Hard copy transcripts will only be required if admitted to a program, prior to enrollment.
  • Current GMAT or GRE scores (see details below)
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (non-native English speakers see details below)
  • Three letters of recommendation (at least one from an academic source). Recommendation letters must be submitted online through the online application system. Hard copy recommendation letters will not be accepted.
  • $105 application fee via credit card
  • Optional writing sample (no more than 10 pages)


All applicants are required to take either the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Submitted test scores are valid for no longer than five years. If you are applying for admission for fall 2024, you may submit scores from tests taken no earlier than January 5, 2019. There is no minimum test score requirement, and admissions committee does not have a preference in tests.

  • Institution Codes for PhD Programs
  • GMAT: HRL-X8-30

A department code is not required for score submission.

We realize that the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, recent natural disasters, and other extenuating circumstances may have significant impacts on applicants’ academic and personal lives, including the ability to provide all required application materials prior to our stated deadlines. If you are unable to take the GRE or GMAT before the deadline, we still encourage you to apply, even if your scores are missing. Our application form includes a section for you to let us know about any of your materials that may be unavailable or delayed.

International Applications

Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Applicants whose native language is other than English and who do not hold a Bachelor degree or its equivalent from an institution at which English is the language of instruction must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Submitted scores are valid for no longer than two years. If you are applying for admission for fall 2024, you may submit scores from tests taken no earlier than January 5, 2022. The committee prefers scores of at least 100 on the the TOEFL internet-based test and at least 7.5 on the IELTS test. Applicants are strongly encouraged to choose the TOEFL internet-based test when possible.

Institution Codes for Toefl score reports PhD programs: 3451

Instructions for submitting IELTS score reports Designate Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as a recipient of your test results. Our address, for the record only, to identify us in the IELTS system, is 1350 Massachusetts Ave. Smith Campus Center 350, Cambridge, MA 02138. Paper test report forms will not be accepted at this address.

Accomodations for COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, or other extenuating circumstances


Applicants who applied last year are considered reapplicants. Those reapplying must submit a completely new application. The new application must include all required documents to be provided by the applicant - we will not re-use material previously submitted. These materials include an updated statement of purpose, transcripts, test score reports, updated letters of recommendation, the application fee, and any other supporting materials

Please note, Harvard University will accept no more than three applications from any one individual over the course of their lifetime. If your 2023 application is incomplete and you are denied admission, GSAS will not count it toward our lifetime limit of three total applications that an individual may submit due to the global pandemic.


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What is required for application to the Ph.D. program?

T he program is highly competitive – we can accept only 5-7% of applicants to the PhD. For that reason, we look for the most capable applicants, with excellent credentials in all areas.

  • A writing sample of no more than 20 pages in length.
  • Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate programs attended.
  • Recommendations from three faculty members who can speak to your academic capabilities.
  • TOEFL scores are required for all non-native English speakers unless they have received a Bachelor's degree from a university or college in which English is the language of instruction. Applicants must receive a score of 620 or higher on the paper-based test or 105 or higher on the Internet-based test.
  • Statement of Purpose (1,000 word or less); this should outline a proposed project that is interesting, clearly stated, and aligned with faculty strengths at Harvard.

NOTE: We do not accept GRE scores for PhD applications in the Study of Religion

Please note that there is only one application period; there are no rolling admissions.

For detailed application requirements to the Ph.D. program in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, please visit this page:

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phd requirements for harvard

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All About PhD at Harvard University

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All About PhD at Harvard University

Studying for a doctorate or PhD at Harvard University means immersing yourself in one of the world’s most vibrant and important intellectual communities. The diverse PhD programs at Harvard Graduate School of Education take advantage of the University’s remarkable multidisciplinary strengths. The Harvard University PhD enables aspirants to experience cutting-edge interdisciplinary research informed by Cognitive Sciences, Economics , Medicine , Humanities , and more. In this blog, we’ve covered everything you’ll need to know about pursuing a PhD at Harvard University .

PhD in USA: Everything You Need To Know

About Harvard University

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s main aim is to improve public health through learning, discovery, and communication . To achieve this goal, the School conducts research, reproduces knowledge via the higher education, and converts information into evidence that can be shared with the public, policymakers, and practitioners in order to improve population health. They want to achieve the following:

  • Deliver an evidence-based educational experience that prepares students to solve public health concerns in the twenty-first century via study, research, and practice.
  • To enhance public health locally, nationally, and worldwide, create and preserve a dynamic and inclusive intellectual community with an atmosphere that supports the development of knowledge and skills concerning diversity, equality, cultural competency, and advocacy.
  • Create and advance knowledge, as well as its translation into discoveries that lead to improvements in people’s and populations’ health.
  • Participate in service activities that help communities better their health.
  • Use new communication tactics to raise public knowledge of public health issues and remedies.

From advancing scientific discovery to educating national and international leaders, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has been at the forefront of efforts to benefit the health of populations worldwide. As we service society’s evolving health requirements, we will continue to prioritize shaping innovative ideas in our area and successfully conveying them.

Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

The Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) is Harvard University’s largest graduate school, with a total of 12 graduate schools. GSAS, which was founded in 1872, oversees the majority of Harvard’s graduate programs in different fields of study like Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences. The aspirants can pursue Harvard University PhD In around 58 disciplines.

The Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has consistently placed first among graduate institutions in the United States in terms of academic offerings. A varied group of renowned public officials and scholars have graduated from the School. The vast majority of Harvard’s Nobel Laureates received their education at GSAS. GSAS graduates have gone on to become US Cabinet Secretaries, Supreme Court Justices, foreign leaders of state, and heads of government, in addition to intellectuals and scientists.

The Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) oversees all Harvard University PhD programs and applications are conducted through the GSAS online application system.

Harvard University PhD Acceptance Rate 

Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has a low and highly competitive acceptance rate . This means that students have to really work or study hard to get admission into Harvard University PhD. The Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences received over 4300 applications for the fall 2020 class of graduate students across all PhD and master’s programs and the university has only admitted 301 applicants. As a result, the acceptance rate for the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is 7%. This means that out of every 100 applicants, only 7 applicants could make it to pursue the University of Harvard PhD programs.

Know about How to Get Into Harvard? [Complete Admission Guide] !

Harvard University PhD Programs

The Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offer an integrated PhD program in education. As a PhD student, you will work on innovative interdisciplinary research with researchers from all of Harvard’s graduate schools. Given below are some of the popular specialisations for aspirants to pursue Harvard University PhD programs along with the Harvard University PhD application deadline:

Research-Based Doctoral Degrees at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

HGSE switched from awarding a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Education in the fall of 2014. The Ed.D. was superseded by the Ph.D. in Education, a joint degree given in conjunction with the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, to better reflect the program’s research focus since its beginning in 1921, and to deepen relationships with academic departments across Harvard University.

The Ed.D. and Ph.D. in Education programs both provide intensive intellectual instruction to their graduates. Both degrees involve training that builds both knowledge and experience in the spectrum of quantitative and qualitative methodologies needed to undertake high-quality research, reflecting the multidisciplinary character of education. Our alumni do independent research in a variety of disciplines, including human development, learning and teaching, policy analysis and evaluation, institutions and society, and instructional practise, with the objective of having a transformational influence on education research, policy, and practise. Graduates of both programmes have and will continue to hold positions as university professors, researchers, senior educators, and policymakers.

How to Apply for PhD at Harvard University?

The following are the application process and the basic requirements for aspirants to know how to apply for PhD in Harvard University:

Application Process 

  • The first item to submit is a digital or online application. Only once the admission committee has received your completed online application form they will examine other application materials such as transcripts, test scores, essays, and so on. The Common Application (Common App), the Universal College Application (UCA), and the Coalition Application are all accepted by Harvard. Any of the application portals can be used to apply to Harvard.
  • Following the examination of all submissions, HGSE will invite chosen Ph.D. applicants to participate in a mandatory online interview with members of the admissions committee. 
  • The interviews will take place in January, with exact dates to be confirmed.

PhD in Harvard University Requirements

A complete application to the PhD program typically consists of the following, submitted to the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS):

  • Online application form (accessed through GSAS’s website )
  • Statement of Purpose
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL or IELTS .
  • Transcript (s)
  • Application Fee : 105 USD(7,790 INR)
  • Supplemental form for the PhD in Education

Here’s a List of Important Documents Required to Study Abroad

Harvard University PhD Fees

The following table denotes the current PhD in Harvard University fees for the academic year 2022-2023:

Living Costs

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How to Get Into Harvard: The Ultimate Guide

Chriselle Sy

Table of Contents

About harvard university, how hard is it to get into harvard, sat scores + act scores, gpa requirements, what classes should you take in high school to get into harvard, when should you start preparing to apply to harvard, application deadlines, graduate application requirements, apply to harvard early action if possible, choose your intended concentration wisely, choose your recommenders wisely, if you have time, work on your “spike”, work on your personal statement, ensure your harvard application is as well-rounded as possible, do some interview prep, does harvard accept ap credit, does harvard require an interview as part of its application process, will visiting harvard help me get in, does my race or ethnicity impact my chances of getting into harvard, how hard is it to get into harvard.

Harvard is one of the top universities in the world. It has a dozen graduate schools offering education in almost any subject that you can think of. Alums from this institution often go on to make a significant impact on the world, with many finding great success in their lives.

As you know, though, getting into Harvard isn’t easy. As an Ivy League school, its prestige means it’s one of the most selective institutions out there, but if you’re eager to work with some of the best and brightest (and have the application to cut it), it’s worth applying.

In this guide, we’ll talk about this prestigious institution and discuss how to get into Harvard with tips that might just help you succeed. So let’s get to it!

Founded in 1636, Harvard is one of the oldest and best-known universities in the United States. It is considered one of the top schools in the world and boasts many famous alumni, including politicians, celebrities, businessmen, and entrepreneurs.

harvard financial aid

Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and with a subway stop named after the school, Harvard is in the heart of the Boston metro area. It gives students easy access to all the experiences and amenities of the Boston area.

Harvard also has the largest endowment of any school in the United States, with more than $40 billion in its accounts as of 2019. This endowment is essential to Harvard’s mission of providing an education to all students, regardless of their financial ability. Harvard is also known for its generous financial aid. 55% of students receive aid from Harvard, and a good 20% pay nothing at all.

Related: How to Get Into Harvard Law

You probably already know that Harvard is one of the most challenging universities to get into in 2023. Its acceptance rate has continued to trend downward over the years. Just look at this graph  from The Harvard Crimson that shows an admission rate of nearly 6% in 2013 and 2014.

6% is a low enough acceptance rate on its own, but then you’ll see that in 2020, that acceptance rate dropped to 4.9%. If you think that’s bad, 2021 saw an admission rate of 3.4%. And 2022’s? A mere 3.2% .

If there’s anything that this information tells you, it’s that Harvard is an incredibly selective school. Getting in is challenging , to say the least. In 2022, there were over 61,000 applicants. This is the level of competition you’ll see should you also choose to apply — at least for undergrad.

How hard is it to get into Harvard grad school? Well, graduate school is a different story. Admissions can be just as challenging, especially for programs that have an incredibly limited number of slots for students. The process isn’t as simple this time around either, as graduate programs often have their own requirements on top of the standard application requirements for Harvard.

If you’re wondering what kind of students get into Harvard, how to get into Harvard graduate school, and how to apply to Harvard, read on!

Related: How to Get Into Harvard Medical School

Undergraduate Application Requirements

Harvard’s admissions office states that “there’s no formula for gaining admission to Harvard.” However, the application process is the same for each person who wants to get into the school, at least for undergrad.

harvard undergrad requirements

If you want to apply to Harvard, there are a few requirements you’ll need to complete. These are:

  • A completed application such as the Common Application, Coalition Application
  • Answers to Harvard’s supplemental questions
  • A midyear school report
  • Two teacher evaluations for the admissions officer to read
  • Optional SAT or ACT scores (Harvard has made these standardized test results optional for the 2023-2026 admissions cycles )
  • Optionally, you may submit additional material, such as artwork, pieces of music , or academic samples

To know more about Harvard’s application requirements, you can visit this page .

Harvard doesn’t publish any minimum SAT or ACT score requirements for applicants, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any unspoken ones. Because Harvard is a highly competitive institution, students who apply often aim to have the most impressive academic backgrounds possible, and that translates into standardized test scores as well. Thus, many applicants often have high scores on both the SAT and the ACT, whichever one they choose to submit.

The 25th percentile for SAT scores at Harvard is 1460, which means fewer than 25% of the applicants submitted scores that fell below this number. The 75th percentile, on the other hand, is 1570, which means 75% of applicants scored 1570 or below. And then, you have the few who scored above 1570 — a near-perfect score for the SAT, which maxes out at 1600.

For the ACT, the 25th percentile is around 33, while the 75th percentile sits at 35, making the average composite ACT score around 34.

The numbers above might tell you that if you want the best chances of success when you apply, you should aim to be over the 25th percentile. Ideally, you would want to get as close to the 75th percentile as possible.

Note, however, that submitting standardized test scores is optional  during the 2023-2026 admissions cycles. Harvard will accept and consider your scores as part of your application should you choose to submit them. However, if you choose not to, you will not be penalized. Students are evaluated fairly whether they submit scores or not.

Also, take note that Harvard does not superset scores. If you choose to submit yours, you should ensure that you are satisfied with your overall results beforehand.

Like with SAT and ACT scores, Harvard does not publish its GPA requirements. However, if you want your application to be competitive, you’ll want to submit near or exceeding the average GPAs of past successful applicants. So what grades do you need for Harvard?

The latest available data sets  provided by Harvard show that the average GPA of admitted applicants was around 3.9, unweighted. When weighted, this translates to a 4.15.

If you’d like to know more about the GPA requirements at Harvard, check out our article here .

If you’re asking, “How do you get into Harvard? What classes do you need to take?” Well, the answer is below.

According to Harvard, there is no one path for applicants to follow during secondary school, so there’s no single formula for you to recreate during your high school career. However, if there’s one thing that you might want to do to become a strong applicant, it’s to take the hardest courses offered in your school

Harvard does  recommend some courses, as seen below:

  • 4 years of English, ideally with a challenging writing component
  • 4 years of Mathematics
  • 4 years of Science (biology, physics, chemistry, and an advanced course)
  • 3 years of history, including US and European history
  • 4 years in one foreign language (choose a language and stick with it)

If some of the subjects on this list aren’t offered at your school, there’s no need to worry. Harvard does not penalize applicants for not having certain classes on their records. Nevertheless, Harvard considers academic rigor,  the difficulty of each subject. That means that if you take AP classes, these will count more towards your application than the non-AP versions.

Thus, it’s recommended to take as many AP classes as you can handle — but ensure that you do not overload yourself as you will want to get your grades as high as possible for them to look better on your record and your GPA.

If you’ve decided that Harvard is one of your dream schools or maybe even the  dream school, you probably want to know when you should start preparing to apply. The answer is: as early as possible .

Creating a strong Harvard application involves getting great grades and an impressive academic record. That means a high GPA and great standardized test scores. The earlier you start preparing for both, the better off you’ll be when you apply. Starting earlier also means you’ll be able to work on your extracurricular activities, helping you create a well-rounded application over time. It’ll also give you time to develop your spike.

Thus, you’ll often see recommendations to prepare as early as your freshman year. However, some may even recommend starting during junior high.

It’s worth noting that if you start later, you still have a chance at success. The only issue is you’ll be somewhat limited in what you can do to improve your application further.

If you’re wondering when to start prepping when it comes to how to get into Harvard master’s programs, the answer is — at least one year or more before you intend to apply. The more time you allow yourself, the better off you’ll be. Just remember to take note of any time sensitive Harvard graduate school requirements so you don’t accidentally let yours lapse.

How to Apply to Harvard

Applying to Harvard is quite simple — at least once you complete your application. All you have to do is gather all of your requirements and complete one of the accepted applications, the Common or Coalition Application. Once you have gathered all your requirements, you can then submit your application.

You can choose to apply Early Action or Regular Decision. If you can, apply for early action as Harvard has historically had higher acceptance rates for Early Action. You can see the deadlines below.

Harvard’s application deadlines are as below:

  • Deadline : November 1
  • Notification by mid-December
  • Deadline : January 1
  • Notification by the end of March

Harvard operates about a dozen graduate schools, each with its own specialization and application requirements. Though each has its own application, there are similarities between them.

For example, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences requires that students submit:

  • Online application form
  • Application fee payment ($105)
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Writing sample, where required

how to get into harvard

The application requirements for other Harvard schools are similar. However, it’s worth mentioning that not all programs will have the same requirements. Thus, the best thing you can do to help your chances is to ask your specific program for more information where possible.

How to Get Into Harvard: Tips for Increasing Your Chances of Admission

Getting into one of the most prestigious universities not only in the country but in the world can feel almost impossible. Year after year, it’s as if the acceptance rate simply continues to drop. For the class of 2027, a mere 3.2% of over 61,000 applicants received a coveted acceptance letter.

So what can you do to boost your chances?

Consider the tips below to help you as you complete your Harvard application.

One major tip you’ll get when you try to figure out how to get accepted at Harvard is to try for Harvard early action where possible. There’s a good reason behind this — the Harvard early action acceptance rate is significantly higher than regular admissions.

Harvard’s regular application acceptance rate is 2.3%  for the class of 2027. Early applications, on the other hand, saw an acceptance rate of 7.9% , a significant boost overall.

This tip won’t necessarily apply if you are trying to get into a graduate program instead, but you may still benefit from applying as early as possible, regardless.

When you apply to Harvard, you aren’t always required  to declare your intended major. In fact, Harvard doesn’t have “majors” — instead, students graduate with “concentrations”. Students also have the ability to choose a second field of study, much akin to a “minor” at other universities. The kicker is students are not even required to declare their chosen concentration during their first year of college.

That said, you might still need to declare an intended major when you apply. It is during this time that you might want to choose your concentration wisely.

Choosing an underrepresented concentration, such as the humanities, might make a small difference in your chances of admission. If you select one of the most common concentrations, such as the social sciences or biological science, you might end up competing with thousands of others who declared the same intent.

While selecting a less-represented major does not guarantee admission, it can reduce the amount of competition you’re up against during the admissions process.

When you look at tips on how to get to Harvard University and get accepted as a student, one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll see is to make sure you have high-quality recommendation letters. And, of course, one of the best ways to ensure that you do is to choose your recommenders wisely.

It’s wise to request recommendation letters from those who know you well. After all, if you ask just anyone to write them for you, there’s a good chance that they won’t know enough about your strengths to write a compelling letter that will make an impression on Harvard.

Choose from mentors, teachers, employers, and the like — and ensure that you give them ample time to write your letters! Don’t forget to thank them for their time afterward.

When you start doing research on how to get in Harvard University, you might come across the word “spike” now and again. But what exactly is it?

If you’re unaware, a spike is something that sets you apart from the rest of the applicants. It could be your extracurricular activities, especially if they’re unique or if you’re notably good at them. Your spike might also be your volunteer work or past work experience. If you’ve won academic accolades or awards, those can also qualify as your spike.

Having a notable spike can truly make you stand out from the sea of applicants hoping to be chosen for Harvard college admission just like you.

Although your personal statement alone won’t be enough to get into Harvard, it can still help you make an impression on the admissions committee. Indeed, your personal statement is another vital part of your Harvard college application.

Your personal statement is where you can introduce yourself to the admissions committee. It is also where you can show the admissions officers why you would be a good fit for acceptance and talk about your spike, goals, and other similar factors. A well-written statement can be compelling and may boost your chances of success.

Harvard uses what they call a “whole person review” process, which is essentially a holistic admissions process that takes your full Harvard application into consideration. With whole person review , Harvard avoids reducing applicants to their GPAs and SAT or ACT scores. The university is also able to look closer at why you would be a good candidate for acceptance.

If you’d like to potentially increase your chance to get into Harvard, work on making your application as well-rounded as possible. Don’t focus solely on your academic performance; ensure that you also have a spike and other factors that are unique and can make you stand out.

This advice applies whether you’re learning how to get accepted into an undergrad program or how to get into Harvard grad school.

Although you might think that an interview is part of the Harvard college application process, the truth is not all students are asked to sit for one. Your chances of getting invited for an interview might be higher as a graduate student than as an undergraduate, but nevertheless, you should always prepare for an interview just in case. Look at practice questions and ensure you prepare your answers so you can leave a positive impression.

Frequently Asked Questions

In 2020, Harvard changed their policies about awarding AP credit to students who earned such in secondary school. The institution announced in 2020 that they will no longer award credit from AP examinations and so on, but that AP classes and exams will still help count toward admission on an application. You can learn more about this announcement here .

Harvard does not require all students to sit for an interview, and it really comes as no surprise. In 2022, over 60,000 hopefuls submitted a Harvard application, a number that is so large that interviews are unfeasible. The admissions committee may still ask students to sit for an interview, though this will mostly depend on the availability of alums in the applicants’ respective areas. More information is available here .

Unfortunately, no. Visiting Harvard will give you a better idea of what to expect and may help you write a more compelling personal statement. However, it does not in any way influence your chances of acceptance at the university. If you’d like to know more about how to get into Harvard University, check out our in-depth guide above.

Harvard looks beyond race when it comes to its whole person review process. However, in keeping with diversity, Harvard also strives to accept students of varying racial backgrounds. While your race might not necessarily influence your admission, Harvard may have certain unspoken policies that determine how many students of specific races they accept.

Harvard is easily one of the most selective universities around today. With an overall acceptance rate of only 3.2% for the class of 2027, we can easily say that Harvard is one of the hardest institutions to get into these days. To increase your chances, ensure you work on having a well-rounded application and a solid spike. Apply early action if possible, as early action applicants see a higher acceptance rate than regular applicants.

Harvard offers dozens of different programs and one of the best educational experiences in the world. While the competition is fierce, if you feel like you have a chance to get into the school, you should take that opportunity.

If you’re applying to graduate school, it’s understandable to be stressed about admissions decisions. For more advice, check out our tips to boost your grad school admissions odds .

We hope that this guide on how to get into Harvard has helped answer some of your questions about the admissions process. Good luck!

Do you feel like Harvard is not the right Ivy League for you? Check out our guide on How to Get Into Ivy League Graduate School  instead!

How to Get Into Ivy League Graduate School: Complete 2023 Guide

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July 3, 2019

Fully-Funded PhD Program at Harvard University: How I Got In

Fully-Funded PhD Program at Harvard University

Harvard is one of those places that people often talk about with admiration but rarely as an aspiration. “Could I ever get into Harvard?” is usually a question asked with a great deal of doubt and trepidation. However, thousands have graduated from Harvard over its lengthy and illustrious history, and those people are real people. They simply had two traits that made them eligible candidates, and the rest was up to chance! Those traits were: (a) an impressive portfolio (including high grades and varied and committed experiences, including leadership roles , etc.) and (b) confidence that they could indeed be accepted. This latter element is perhaps the defining feature of students accepted to Harvard—the belief that they could ever get in!

Harvard (or other Ivy schools) aren’t for everyone all the time

Let’s be clear: we are not all, always, ready to go to Harvard, just because we believe in ourselves. I applied to Harvard in high school and was rejected—and the truth is, though I was a committed and intellectually curious student, and though I feel I would have thrived at Harvard, I know I didn’t have the portfolio they needed. My grades were good, but not stellar ; my extracurriculars and summer experiences existed, but were not extensive or impressive; and, my confidence led me to seek very little advice or writing consulting for my personal statement , so that I did not submit my best possible work.

Thinking you can’t get in at one point in your life might be true, but it does not mean you are not “Harvard/Ivy League material” ever . After completing college at a marvelous liberal arts university (an experience I would choose again any day!), I knew my portfolio had changed. I had very good grades and had fostered deep and lasting connections with professors; I had been a research assistant, a student newspaper writer and editor, and a writing tutor; I had learned a tremendous amount and felt confident that I could submit a writing sample I was proud of.

This time, in addition to the necessary confidence and portfolio, I sought a writing tutor to help make sure my statement of purpose could be the best one possible, and off my application went! Lo and behold, I got into my dream school for an MA: the University of Chicago, or the “Harvard of the Midwest.” Not only that, but I unexpectedly was awarded a fully-funded fellowship , including full tuition coverage AND a stipend! You never know what can happen!

The importance of strong essays

During the last year of my MA, I again felt ready to submit applications to competitive schools; I’d kept up my grades and activities, I’d worked hard on a polished writing sample, and I made sure to consult with others about the quality of my statement of purpose; my years as a college writing tutor had taught me that we all need editors, from the least to most experienced writers. All of that, plus a big dose of luck, won me a place in a fully-funded PhD program at Harvard, where I am currently working on my dissertation (when I’m not advising Accepted’s clients ). So remember: confidence, a great portfolio, and assistance with one’s writing—these are the three things in your power; the rest is up to the big H!

I want to add one last thought: When applying to MA and PhD programs (as opposed to undergraduate programs), there is an additional key to a positive portfolio: demonstrating interest in the work of particular scholars with whom you’d like to work. This means two things:

  • Tailoring your statement of purpose to each school and its specific faculty members,
  • Reaching out directly to these scholars in order to express interest in their work. Ask to schedule a phone call and/or an in-person meeting. There’s no better way to make yourself stand out than to make yourself known in person.

Remember: if you don’t do this, you are an anonymous paper application swimming in a sea of similarly anonymous applications. If you were on the admissions end, wouldn’t you feel much better accepting a student you’ve had extensive contact with, have possibly even met, who made a good impression?

Your Ivy League checklist for admissions success

So, to sum up, here is your checklist for preparing to apply to Ivy League school PhD programs, including Harvard:

  • Honestly assess your own transcript: Are you seeing that the vast majority of your grades are A and A-? Is your GPA at the end of college a 3.7 or above? If you’ve answered YES to both of these questions, you might be a good candidate.
  • Consider your overall profile: What does it look like? (I’ll address how one constructs a great CV in another post.) Have you been involved in a sustained way (i.e., for a year or more) in multiple activities? Have you assumed leadership roles in some of these? Have you demonstrated commitments to these pursuits? If so, you might be a good candidate!
  • Think long and hard about your recommenders : Have you built sustained relationships with your previous teachers/professors? If you apply for a graduate degree, make sure your recommenders are known figures in your field, who know you well and can write from personal experience teaching or supervising you. Their credibility will build confidence in your application.
  • Have confidence! If you don’t believe you can get accepted, you very well might not. Confidence (to be clear, I do not mean arrogance!) shines through a good application.

I’ll write more in an upcoming blogpost about how specifically to approach potential advisors and other faculty members during the admissions process. But for now, good luck!

Are you aiming for acceptance at a top MA or PhD program? Explore our Graduate School Admissions Consulting & Editing Services and work one-on-one with an expert advisor who will help you GET ACCEPTED.

Plotting Your Way to a Phd - download your guide today!

With 30 years of career/admissions experience at four universities, including Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Business and College of Engineering,  Dr. Karin Ash  has met with thousands of recruiters seeking to hire the best students from leading schools. She has served as a member of the admissions committee, ensuring that the applicants who ultimately enroll are a good fit for the program and prime candidates for employers. Karin has been a Consultant with Accepted for 8 years and has facilitated students’ entry into top engineering, data science, MBA, and other STEM graduate MEng, MS, and PhD programs. Her clients have been accepted into MIT, the University of Chicago, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, UPenn, and USC.  Want Karin to help you get Accepted?  Click here to get in touch!

Related Resources:

  • Get Your Game On: Prepping For Your Grad School ApplicationGet Your Game On: Prepping for Your Grad School Application , a free guide
  • How to Write Your Master’s in Engineering Statement of Purpose
  • How This Student Got Accepted to MIT’s Engineering Program and Landed a Job at Apple , podcast Episode 460

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Graduate School Statement of Purpose , a free guide • Plotting Your Way to a PhD , a blog series • The Personal Statement That Got Me a Large Scholarship to Cambridge

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PhD Admissions FAQ

If you have questions, not answered here or elsewhere on our web pages, send an email to  hst-phd-admissions [at] (HST PhD Admissions staff) .

What is the MEMP PhD program?

The Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) PhD program trains students to advance human health. The MEMP program is a unique combination of curriculum, practice and community that integrates:

  • A thorough graduate education in a classical discipline of engineering or physical science
  • In depth training in the biomedical sciences and the practice of medicine through preclinical coursework alongside medical students and clinical experiences in hospital wards
  • Access to research opportunities in labs at Harvard, MIT and Harvard teaching hospitals
  • A community of peers with career paths in medicine, science, engineering, business, and government
  • Original research in the form of a doctoral thesis

What makes MEMP unique?

The MEMP program differs significantly from many biomedical engineering (BME) doctoral programs because of its breadth and its depth in multiple dimensions. It not only emphasizes grounding in a classical discipline but also provides much more exposure to the medical sciences than most BME programs. This exposure comes in many forms, including biomedical sciences coursework in which MD students are peers, as well as through multiple clinical experiences. The MEMP program also provides an open environment that allows students to follow their interests even when they cross the conventional barriers between disciplines, professions and institutions.

Alumni tell us that the HST Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM), which is the capstone experience differentiating MEMP from traditional BME programs, is transformative and has a major impact on their careers.

  • The clinical experience is priceless.  Provides months of real-world exposure to the challenges - and rewards - of medicine, from diagnosis to treatment
  • Doing ICM also made my coursework relevant - I saw myriad applications for engineering expertise and abundant problems needing to be tackled. ICM brought these to life in a way lectures or textbooks never would have.
  • The types of students who are drawn to MEMP because of Intro to Clinical Medicine (ICM) are those who want to understand problems from many different angles, not just their engineering discipline, and builds the interdisciplinary culture that HST strives for right from the beginning .
  • From direct observation from my peers and colleagues, HST alumni, that have entered both academia and industry, the ICM experience has prepared them in ways that may have otherwise taken years to learn in order to interact with physicians and advance translation of ideas and products... Medicine is a culture and knowledge base that needs to be experienced in the clinic, learning with patients, and cannot be appreciated solely in the classroom.

Is my background appropriate for MEMP?

MEMP applicants should have an undergraduate (bachelors/baccalaureate) degree in an engineering discipline or a physical/quantitative science field (for example, chemistry, physics, computer science, computational neuroscience). A masters degree is not required. Successful candidates will have demonstrated a sustained interest in applications of engineering and physical science principles to biology or medicine through courses, research, and/or industrial experience.

When members of the admissions committee review submitted applications, they are assessing whether applicants are prepared to succeed in graduate courses in engineering or physical sciences at MIT. To determine if your background provides sufficient preparation for our program, you can review the program’s requirements for a concentration area here and here . Materials for many of the classes listed on the TQE form are available on MIT Open Courseware , which allows you to see the level at which the material is covered.

Does HST offer fee waivers?

Applying to graduate school can present a financial obstacle for many qualified applicants. Application fee waivers are available for US citizens and permanent residents who meet eligibility requirements set by the  MIT Office of Graduate Education . All requests are made through the MIT Office of Graduate Education process. 

How do I apply to MEMP?

All MEMP candidates are required to apply through MIT, using the MIT online Application for Graduate Admission. Note that MEMP students enrolled through MIT can work in the labs of any Harvard or MIT faculty member, including those at Harvard-affiliated hospitals and research institutes .

Can I apply to MEMP through via Harvard?

Candidates who have applied to MEMP via MIT and are simultaneously applying for graduate study with one of our partner units at Harvard – the Harvard Biophysics Graduate Program or the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) – may optionally follow these instructions to apply to participate in the MEMP curriculum in conjunction with their PhD at Harvard. This path is appropriate if:

  • you have a particular interest in the curriculum of Harvard's interdepartmental Biophysics Program; or
  • you are interested in joining the lab of a Harvard SEAS faculty member to work on a SEAS-based project. 

Successful applicants to MEMP through Harvard must be accepted by both their Harvard program and HST. If you are accepted to MEMP through both MIT and Harvard, you can choose which offer to accept.

Can I apply to multiple PhD programs in the same year?

Yes, you may apply to multiple MIT graduate degree programs in the same admissions cycle. HST encourages applicants to consider the suitability of programs at different institutions and in other MIT departments. Each application to MIT is considered separately, and MIT will charge a separate application fee for each program that you apply to.

How do MEMP students select their research advisors and thesis project?

MEMP PhD students admitted through MIT work in a wide variety of research areas and can work in the labs of any MIT or Harvard faculty member. This includes research labs located at many institutions affiliated  with Harvard  and  with MIT .   Faculty formally affiliated with the HST program are listed at , but MEMP students are not restricted to working with these individuals.

As part of the admissions process, promising applicants are invited for interviews. After offers of admission have been extended, admitted candidates will have opportunities to interact with faculty and current students as part of MEMP Open House in early March. Due to the large number of applications, we do not encourage candidates to contact potential research mentors prior to being invited to interview.

When can I begin an application?

The application website opens each year on August 1 for admission in fall of the following year.

What is the deadline to apply?

Application deadlines  are typically in early December preceding the fall term in which you intend to enroll.

We appreciate receiving all letters of recommendation by the application deadline, as that will expedite the processing of your application. We will accept letters of recommendation received up to 7 days after the application deadline. Applications will be considered incomplete and may not receive full consideration if the required three letters are not received by that extended deadline.

It is not possible to make changes to your application after the deadline, even if new information becomes available regarding publications, awards, grades, etc. If you are invited to interview, you can share those updates with members of the admissions committee at that time.

Is the GRE required?

No, GRE test scores are not required or accepted.

I'm an international student. Is an English proficiency exam required, and how do I submit exam scores?

HST places a high premium on both written and spoken communication skills. International students applying to HST should select one of the following options.

Option 1 : Submit IELTS, Cambridge English, or TOEFL exam scores. You must schedule your test so official results will be sent and received by our application deadline.

  • HST requires a minimum score of 7 on the IELTS test. IELTS does not use a code system; please designate Health Sciences and Technology (HST) as the MIT department for sending your scores. 
  • HST requires a minimum score of 185 for the Cambridge English C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency assessments.
  • HST accepts all versions of the TOEFL iBT test and requires a minimum score of 100. Please have your official TOEFL test scores sent to MIT using institution code 3514 . A department code is not necessary. All scores received by MIT are matched to submitted applications. 

Option 2 : If you meet one of the following criteria, you are not required to submit IELTS, Cambridge English, or TOEFL scores:

  • English is your first (native) language;
  • You have received a degree from a high school, college, or university where English is the primary language of instruction;
  • You are currently enrolled in a degree program where English is the primary language of instruction

Please provide these answers in the  Personal Background  and Academic History  section of your MIT MEMP application. 

Option 3 : If you do not meet the criteria in Option 2 , but you believe that you have sufficient English proficiency for graduate study (for example, many years of professional activities reading, writing, and speaking English), you may choose not to submit test scores. In this case, you should do both of the following:

  • Describe your experience and skill levels in writing, reading, and speaking English in the Test Scores  section on your application. 
  • Ask one or more recommenders whose native language is English to include their subjective evaluation of your English language preparation for graduate study as part of their letter of recommendation.

If you cannot provide current IELTS, Cambridge English, or TOEFL scores and do not meet the criteria in Options 2 or 3 , you may apply to HST, but we cannot guarantee that your application will receive full consideration.

How do I convert international or letter grades to GPA?

Please include the cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) as reported on your transcript. You should not convert international or letter grades to a GPA. If there is no cumulative grade available, enter n/a for not applicable or 0 (zero).  

What supporting documents are required, and how do I submit them?

Specific instructions for submitting resumes/CVs,  transcripts,  and letters of recommendation  follow. Please do not send copies of journal articles, certificates, photographs, or any other materials; they will not be reviewed.

Test score reports: We do not accept GRE or MCAT scores. Detailed instructions for international applicants submitting TOEFL or IELTS scores can be found here .

Resumes/CVs:  The online application will prompt you to upload a resume or CV.

Transcripts: As part of the online application, you will upload grade reports or unofficial transcripts from each college or university where a degree has or will be earned.  Candidates who are offered admission and choose to enroll  will be asked to arrange for an official transcript to be sent directly from each school where a degree has been awarded.

Please do not send official transcripts until you are prompted to do so. We accept both paper and electronic transcripts. Transcripts that do not already include an English version must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

Letters of recommendation:  Three letters are required, and one or two additional letters (up to a total of five) will be accepted. At least two letters should be from people well acquainted with your academic work and research abilities. 

Each letter should be on institutional letterhead and include a legible signature. Letters should be received by the application deadline, but no later than December 9 .

Whenever possible, letters should be submitted online. We do not accept letters of recommendation by email or fax. If your recommender encounters difficulties, instruct them to  hst-phd-admissions [at] (contact us) for assistance.

May I include a publication that has been submitted or is currently under review, in revision, accepted for publication or in press?

Publication information should be listed in the applicant's CV.

Applicants may refer to submitted manuscripts - such as journal articles or conference proceedings - at any stage of the publication process. Please clarify the current state of the review process. If you are invited to interview, you may be asked to provide an update on the current status of a manuscript. 

May I send additional supporting materials?

No, please do not send additional supporting materials. They will not be reviewed.

What happens after HST receives my application?

Once your application is complete, you will receive an email confirmation. Due to the high volume of activity near the deadline, it may take a few days to receive this confirmation. We appreciate your patience and understanding. If your application is incomplete (for example, due to missing letters of recommendation), you will receive status updates via email until the application is complete or through December 20, whichever comes first. 

Applications are reviewed by multiple members of the HST PhD admissions committee, and selected candidates are invited to participate in virtual interviews that occur in late January. Offers of admission are sent by mid-February and admitted candidates are invited to visit Cambridge for a series of Open House events in late February or early March. Admitted candidates must accept or decline their offer of admission by April 15.

Can I send an updated material after I submit my application?

Unfortunately, due to a large number of applications, we are not able to replace material within a submitted application unless there is an egregious error (i.e. wrong letter of recommendation, a file will not open, etc.)

It is not possible to make changes to your application after the deadline, even if new information becomes available regarding publications, awards, grades, etc. If you are invited to interview, you can share those updates with members of the admissions committee at that time. 

When will I know if I have been selected for an interview? When are the interviews?

In mid-January, promising candidates will receive an email invitation to partcipate in video conference interviews. Candidates who are not selected to interview will receive formal notification of their status as soon as possible.

The remote interviews will be scheduled to take place in late January. Interviews will be offered at a variety of times throughout the day, Monday thru Friday. The specific time slots will be shared with candidates when they are invited to interview, and each interviewing candidate will ultimately be assigned to a single two-hour block. As part of that process, we will make every effort to accommodate scheduling constraints and preferences. 

How will I know whether or not I have been accepted?

Applicants invited to interview will be notified by mid-February of HST's decision. All notifications are sent via email.

Candidates offered admission will be asked to let us know their decision as soon as possible, but no later than April 15th. 

What are my chances of being accepted to MEMP?

The admissions committee reviews applications holistically, considering all aspects of an applicant’s life experiences in addition to academic achievements, research experience, and letters of recommendation. Successful candidates typically have a grade point average of 3.6 or higher on a 4.0 scale, strong letters of recommendation from faculty or others with whom they have worked closely, and relevant prior research experience. We understand that not all applicants have had the same access to undergraduate research experiences. 

Admission to MEMP is competitive, with approximately 10% of applicants invited to interview and offers of admission extended to roughly half of the interviewed candidates.

What types of financial support are available?

HST MEMP is a fully-funded program. Students in good academic standing receive full financial support – consisting of living expenses, tuition, and health insurance - for the duration of their graduate studies.  Almost all incoming students receive departmental fellowship support for the first academic year. In subsequent years, students receive full financial support from a combination of  research assistantships (RAs) , teaching assistantships (TAs) , and fellowships . HST is proud that more than 1/3 of our students are supported by external fellowships. More information is available here: . 

Where can I learn more about MIT’s tuition, fees, and estimated cost of living?

As described above, all students in good academic standing receive full financial support – consisting of stipend, tuition, and health insurance - for the duration of their graduate studies. For more detailed information regarding the cost of attendance, including specific costs for tuition and fees, books and supplies, housing and food as well as transportation, please visit the MIT Student Financial Services website at .  

I'm an international student. How does that effect my chances of being admitted and receiving first-year funding?

All applications are evaluated without consideration of nationality or citizenship. Similarly, funding offers to admitted candidates are typically the same for domestic and international candidates.  International students comprise approximately 25% of currently enrolled MEMP students.

If I'm accepted, can I defer my admission until the following year?

You should apply to MEMP by the application deadline that immediately precedes the fall term in which you intend to enroll. HST does not grant deferrals for students to pursue business ventures, work experience, public service opportunities, travel or educational programs unrelated to medical engineering. HST will consider requests for deferrals in cases where applicants receive opportunities for international study via the Churchill Scholarship, Whitaker International Fellowship, Rhodes Scholarship and other similar programs.

Can I apply to MEMP if my undergraduate major is in the life sciences?

A traditional life sciences curriculum is generally not adequate preparation for MEMP.  However, some successful applicants have an undergraduate (bachelors/baccalureate) degree in life sciences augmented by extensive coursework in mathematics, physics, engineering, and/or computer science. This may take the form of a formal minor program or a less-formal collection of courses that provide a similar level of expertise in a quantitative field.

When the admissions committee reviews submitted applications, they are assessing whether applicants are prepared to succeed in the relevant graduate courses at MIT. To determine if your background provides sufficient preparation, you can review the program’s requirements for a concentration area and the classes that fulfill that requirement . Materials for many of the concentration area classes are available here , which allows you to see the level at which the material is covered and to assess your preparation.

Can I apply to MEMP if I already have a medical degree?

The MEMP curriculum combines training in engineering or a physical/quantitative science discipline with classes in biomedical sciences and clinical experiences. The admissions process generally favors candidates who would benefit from both elements of the training over those candidates who already hold a medical degree. If you apply, your statement of purpose should specifically address the rationale for your proposed training in MEMP (as opposed to traditional science or engineering PhD program), given that you already have medical training.

Additionally, if you have not studied an engineering or physical/quantitative science discipline in addition to medicine, you should consult the FAQ here .

Can I apply if...

... I'm a first year grad student at MIT in Mechanical Engineering (or another engineering or physical/quantitative science discipline)? I didn't know about HST when I applied to graduate school, but now I'm really interested in MEMP.

Yes, you may. If admitted, you would transfer from Mechanical Engineering to MEMP. It's very likely that the coursework and research that you are doing in your first year of graduate school can be used to satisfy requirements towards your MEMP degree.

Will I have to take MEMP Quals if...

... I'm a first year grad student at MIT in Chemical Engineering ( or another engineering or physical/quantitative   science discipline ), I've already passed my quals in my department, and I've been accepted to MEMP for next year?

If you've already passed doctoral qualifying exams in another department at MIT, then you can submit a petition requesting to substitute that qualifying exam for your MEMP quals. The faculty committee that oversees MEMP quals will decide on your petition by reviewing your academic performance and comparing the ChemE quals to the MEMP quals.

Do MEMP students get a master's degree on the way to their PhD?

Master's degrees are not required in MEMP, and HST does not typically grant master's degrees to MEMP students. It is possible for MEMP students to earn a master's degree in a related field (for example, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering). If you are interested in this option, you must apply directly to the appropriate department for their master's program and notify HST if admitted.

In most cases, the coursework and research required for the master's degree can also be used to satisfy requirements towards your MEMP degree. Students will be assigned an Academic Advisor from both graduate departments and will complete master's degree requirements first.

Who do I contact for other questions?

We're happy to help. Just email us at  hst-phd-admissions [at] (subject: MEMP%20Admissions%20question) (hst-phd-admissions[at]mit[dot]edu)

MIT Admissions Blog

Learn more directly from HST students via  MIT's Admissions Blog .

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  1. How to Get into a Harvard PhD program

    phd requirements for harvard

  2. Harvard Admission Requirements

    phd requirements for harvard

  3. Harvard PhD Requirements

    phd requirements for harvard

  4. PhD Admission Requirements in USA 2018/2019

    phd requirements for harvard

  5. How To Earn A PhD From Harvard

    phd requirements for harvard

  6. PhD Degrees: Definition, Application Requirements, and Key

    phd requirements for harvard


  1. Best PhD Online!

  2. PhD Degree 22

  3. PhD Degree 20

  4. 2.0 PhD- Degree

  5. How to get a PhD: Advice from USC Stem Cell PhD student Kimberley Babos

  6. PhD Degree 12 Historical!


  1. The Ultimate Guide to Pursuing PhD Studies in Germany

    Are you considering pursuing a PhD and looking for an exciting and dynamic environment to conduct your research? Look no further than Germany. To embark on your journey towards a PhD in Germany, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with th...

  2. What Is Harvard Referencing Format?

    When you write academically, you will research sources for facts and data, which you will likely include in your writing. Using this information will require that you cite your sources. Your instructor may require Harvard referencing format...

  3. Understanding the Harvard Referencing System

    One of the challenges of academic writing is formatting the finished paper. Each professor, course and publication has slightly different requirements for everything from setting up the margins to using punctuation in the bibliography.

  4. Doctor of Philosophy

    PhD students must register full-time until receipt of the degree, for a minimum of two years. At the discretion of the program, this requirement

  5. PhD Program Requirements

    In addition to the common degree requirements expected of Harvard Griffin GSAS students, students must meet additional requirements

  6. Overview of the PhD Program

    General Ph.D. Requirements · 10 semester-long graduate courses, including at least 8 disciplinary. · Program Plan · Minimum full-time academic residency of two

  7. Application Requirements

    Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Applicants whose native language is other than English and who do not hold a Bachelor

  8. What is required for application to the Ph.D. program?

    A writing sample of no more than 20 pages in length. · Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate programs attended. · Recommendations from three faculty

  9. How do I get into Harvard for PhD?

    Really strong recommendation letters. · A strong quantitative and economic foundation. · A very high quantitative GRE score, usually minimum 167+ out of 170.

  10. All About PhD at Harvard University

    PhD in Harvard University Requirements · Online application form (accessed through GSAS's website) · Résumé/CV · Statement of Purpose · 3 letters of recommendation

  11. How to Get Into Harvard: The Ultimate Guide (2023)

    4 years of English, ideally with a challenging writing component; 4 years of Mathematics; 4 years of Science (biology, physics, chemistry, and

  12. Fully-Funded PhD Program at Harvard University: How I Got In

    They simply had two traits that made them eligible candidates, and the rest was up to chance! Those traits were: (a) an impressive portfolio (

  13. PhD Admissions FAQ

    What is the MEMP PhD program? · A thorough graduate education in a classical discipline of engineering or physical science · In depth training in the biomedical

  14. Ph.D. Courses at Harvard University

    Check Harvard University Ph.D. Courses fees, eligibility, application process & ranking. Know Harvard University all Ph.D. programs admission process