Applying to a HILS Program for Fall 2015 Enrollment

(updated September 17, 2014)

To apply to a Harvard Integrated Life Sciences (HILS) program, students complete and return the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) admissions application. HILS students are admitted to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, and register in one of the 14 life sciences PhD study areas that are members of the HILS federation. 

 

Summary HILS Admission Data

Here's what the most recent (Fall 2013) HILS entering class looks like:

  • Number of applicants to HILS programs and subject areas: 2,209
  • Percentage of HILS applicants offered admission by Harvard: 18%
  • Number of entering HILS students: 234
  • Percentage of entering female students: 48%
  • Percentage of entering international students: 29%
  • Percentage of entering U.S. minority students: 7%


Application, Deadline, and Fee Information

Applications and supporting documentation for the 14 HILS PhD member programs must be received by GSAS by December 1, 2014, at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time along with a $105.00 application fee. The 14 HILS member programs and subject areas are:

 
* Applications to the Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics (BIG), Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS), Immunology, Neuroscience, Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology (SHBT), and Virology subject areas are received and processed by GSAS; admissions decision-making for these disciplines is managed by the Division of Medical Sciences (DMS), an administrative unit based at the Harvard Medical School that coordinates biomedical PhD admissions and academic activities at the Longwood Medical Area.

 

About Our Two Newest Study Areas: Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics (BIG) and Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology (SHBT)

There are two new interdepartmental subject offerings within the Division of Medical Sciences — Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics (BIG) and the Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology (SHBT) — that are admitting PhD students for Fall 2015 enrollment.

Admission applications to BIG and SHBT are accessible via the HILS application website and share the December 1, 2014 deadline; they will be received and processed by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and admissions decision-making will be managed by the Division of Medical Sciences.

Detailed descriptions of both of these study areas can be found as follows:

Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics (BIG)

The Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology (SHBT)

 

HILS Application Overview

Ordinarily, students apply to one HILS program, and we strongly recommend this targeted approach. While each program’s admission committee makes its admissions decisions independently, the committees also consider each candidate’s suitability in adjacent HILS programs as part of their evaluation process, and will transfer files accordingly. You will be notified by the GSAS Admission Office if this occurs.

For candidates who nonetheless wish to formally apply to more than one program, HILS will accommodate the submission up to three applications to its member programs under a single $105.00 application fee. Note that the HILS application fee must be paid by credit card. Each application must be unique, containing a separate Statement of Purpose for each program applied to as well as separate copies of transcripts, recommendations, and test scores.  

Life sciences students wishing to apply to the Molecules, Cells and Organisms (MCO) and Engineering and Physical Biology (EPB) training programs should do so via the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB), which serves as their host department and admission portal. Applicants are limited to submitting one application to the MCB admission portal (e,g, either to MCO or EPB); this will be considered—and counted—as one department choice by HILS and GSAS.

Note that for application purposes, the subject areas within the Division of Medical Sciences — Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics , Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Immunology, Neuroscience, Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, and Virology — are considered to be one department. Applicants are thus limited to submitting one application to one DMS subject area, which will be considered—and counted—as one department choice by HILS and GSAS.

Online submission of the application for admission is required. We recommend that you use a desktop computer or a laptop computer to complete your application(s) and not a mobile device.

 

Applying to One HILS Program

The first step for online candidates is to establish an online account and log in. Once you’ve done this, you will be prompted to select your HILS subject area from a droplist at the "Program Selection" screen. After saving your choice, follow the instructions on the subsequent online pages to complete your application.


Applying to a DMS Subject Area Within HILS

Applications to the Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics , Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Immunology, Neuroscience, Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, and Virology subject areas are received and processed by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS); admissions decisions for these disciplines are managed by the Division of Medical Sciences (DMS), an administrative unit based at the Harvard Medical School which coordinates biomedical PhD admissions and academic activities for these programs at the Longwood Medical Area. Prospective HILS students wishing to receive their PhD degree in a DMS subject area must complete the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences application and submit it to GSAS.

As noted above, for application purpose, the subject areas within the Division of Medical Sciences (DMS)-- Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics , Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Immunology, Neuroscience, Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, and Virology --are considered to be one department.  Applicants may thus submit just one application to one DMS subject area. 

NOTE: Applicants to BBS, BIG, Immunology, Neuroscience or Virology should NOT complete the Abstract of Courses section of the online application.  Applicants to SHBT MUST complete the Abstract of Courses section.

 

Applying to the DMS Subject Areas of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Immunology, Neuroscience, and Virology Within HILS

Once you’ve established an online account and logged in, you will be prompted to select "Division of Medical Sciences” from the droplist at the Program Selection screen.  Then pick the DMS subject area of your choice. 

Applicants wishing to do research in the DMS subject areas of Biochemical and Biophysical Mechanisms, Cellular Systems and Mechanics, Computational Biology,  Developmental Biology, Genomics, Immunobiology, Metabolism and Physiology, Molecular Genetics, Microbial Systems and Infectious Disease, Molecular Neuroscience, Proteomics, Regenerative Biology, Stem Cell Biology, Structural Biology, Synthetic Biology, Human Biology, Cancer Biology, and Therapeutics should apply through the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Program.  Applicants wishing to do research in Immunology, Neuroscience, or Virology should apply directly to the relevant DMS program.

Thus, on the online application form, DMS applicants will be asked via the "Subjects” dropdown list on the Program Selection page to select one of the four primary DMS subject areas (e.g., either Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS), Immunology, Neuroscience, or Virology). DMS candidates should then follow the application instructions in the subsequent sections and pages of the online system to complete their applications.

Applicants to the Division of Medical Sciences should NOT complete the Abstract of Courses section of the online application.

Note that if you are a BBS applicant, you will be asked to go to the "DMS Areas of Interest" tab on the left navigation menu of the GSAS online application form to choose up to 3 research interests within the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Program and rank them 1,2,3 in order of interest (this list consists of: Biochemical and Biophysical Mechanisms; Cellular Systems and Mechanics; Computational Biology; Developmental Biology; Genomics; Immunobiology; Metabolism and Physiology; Molecular Genetics; Microbial Systems and Infectious Disease; Molecular Neuroscience; Proteomics; Regenerative Biology; Stem Cell Biology; Structural Biology; Synthetic Biology; Human Biology; Cancer Biology; Therapeutics).  Your responses have no impact on admissions and do not constitute a commitment on your part to participate in a particular BBS subject area; the answers you submit will simply be used by the BBS Program as a guide in assigning you a mentor if you’re accepted.

 

Applying to the Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology (SHBT) DMS Subject Area

The SHBT admission application is accessible via the HILS application website; the program’s application deadline is December 1, 2014. 

Once you’ve established an online account and logged in, you should select "Division of Medical Sciences” from the droplist at the Program Selection screen and then choose "Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology" as your subject choice. SHBT candidates should then follow the DMS application instructions in the subsequent sections and pages of the online system to complete their applications. 

A reminder: SHBT applicants MUST complete the Abstract of Courses section of the online application form.

 

Applying to the Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics (BIG) DMS Subject Area

The BIG admission application is accessible via the HILS application website; the program’s application deadline is December 1, 2014. 

Once you’ve established an online account and logged in, you you should select "Division of Medical Sciences" from the droplist at the Program Selection screen and then choose "Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics" as your subject choice. 

Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics students will be joint members of BIG and a 'home program' they select during the application process from one of the of the four primary DMS subject areas (e.g., BBS, Immunology, Neuroscience, or Virology).  This BIG home program selection list will appear on your application screen as:

    • Bioinformatics & Integrative Genomics-BBS
    • Bioinformatics & Integrative Genomics-Immunology
    • Bioinformatics & Integrative Genomics-Neuroscience
    • Bioinformatics & Integrative Genomics-Virology

Once you've selected one of the BIG home program affiliations above, you should then follow the DMS application instructions in the subsequent sections and pages of the online system to complete your application. 


DMS Contact Information

Please be sure to check the DMS website as well as Important Information on the Application Process before contacting DMS.

If you still have DMS admission-related inquiries, contact:

Division of Medical Sciences
Student Affairs
260 Longwood Ave
TMEC Bldg. Room 435
Boston, MA 02115
Telephone: (617) 432-0162
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DMS Website

 

Applying to Multiple HILS Programs

HILS will accommodate the submission up to three applications to its member programs under a single $105.00 application fee (a reminder--this fee must be paid by credit card).  Each application must be unique, containing a separate Statement of Purpose for each program applied to as well as separate copies of transcripts, recommendations, and test scores.  Submission of the first application is required in order for the application fee to be waived on your second or third application. 

Remember that for application purposes the subject areas within the Division of Medical Sciences — Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics , Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Immunology, Neuroscience, Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, and Virology — are considered to be one department. Applicants are thus limited to submitting one application to one DMS subject area, which will be considered—and counted—as one department choice by HILS and GSAS.

Here are the 5 steps involved for applying to more than one HILS program:

Step 1: Complete, pay the application fee, and submit your first application.

Step 2: To begin your second or third HILS-affiliated program application, you must create a new account by clicking on the “Create Account” tab on the application system's login page.  You must use a different login name than you used on your first (or second) application; your password can stay the same throughout. 

Step 3: After you submit your new login information, use the “Click here to login and start your application” button to begin your second (or third) application.  The login page of the application system will open up again; be sure the “User Login” tab is selected and then log in using your second (or third) username and your password.  Click through to the “Program Selection” tab on the on the left navigation menu and choose your second (or third) HILS member program from the droplist. 

Step 4: After clicking the “Save and Continue” button on the “Program Selection” page, continue and complete all sections of the application.

Step 5: When you have completed your second or third HILS-affiliated program application and are ready to submit the application, click on “HILS Multiple Application Process and Submission” on the left navigation menu.  At the bottom of the “HILS Multiple Application Process and Submission screen, re-enter your original log in credentials (e.g. the Username and Password) you used for your first submitted application.  Then click the “Verify” button. The application system will verify the credentials from your first submitted application and you will not have to pay the application fee.  You can then submit your second or third application.  

Note that you do not have to submit your first application in order to get started on your second or third application. Submission of the first application is required, however, in order for the application fee to be waived on your second or third application.

Finally, our advice: think ahead!  We suggest that you submit your multiple applications well before the December 1 application deadline!

 

PLEASE NOTE: It is Graduate School policy that an individual may submit no more than three applications during the course of his or her academic career. This policy applies to multiple HILS applications --including those to DMS departments--whether or not they are submitted under a single admission fee. If you apply to two HILS PhD programs this admission cycle, for instance, you will be able to apply to just one Harvard PhD program in the future. If you apply to three HILS PhD programs this admission cycle, you will be unable to apply to any other Harvard PhD programs in the future.

 

Completed Applications

Each application is complete when the following materials are submitted:

  • Completed Online Application Form
  • Application Fee
  • GRE General Test Score Report
  • TOEFL (if required)
  • 2 or 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcripts
  • Statement of Purpose