Prospective Students

Thank you for your interest in the Biological Sciences in Public Health (BPH) Program leading to the Ph.D. degree. This program is located at the Harvard School of Public Health and is offered through the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS). Our program was established in 1993 to train students in individual fields of biological research with a focus on prevention and better treatment of diseases affecting large populations. BPH students obtain a broad interdisciplinary knowledge of both mechanistic and quantitative approaches to biomedical research. Our faculty focus is uniquely on public health sciences.

The Biological Sciences in Public Health (BPH) Program is a member of the Harvard Integrated Life Sciences (HILS) consortium, a federation of Harvard life sciences PhD programs that facilitates cross-disciplinary academic and research collaboration. Students who wish to apply to the BPH Program must submit their application via the online GSAS Harvard Integrated Life Sciences (HILS) admissions application.  Please make it clear that you're interested in the Biological Sciences in Public Health (BPH) Program. See the HILS website for additional detailed application instructions and information about the GSAS online application system.

We suggest that applicants take time to familiarize themselves with program faculty to assess compatibility with their scientific interests. The statement of purpose is a particularly important part of our application. A well-crafted statement should address your motivation in seeking doctoral-level training in the BPH program; your career aspirations; a basic understanding of the field of public health; your particular research interests and any faculty whose research is of special interest to you.  In addition, a description of any past scientific research experience is very helpful.

We very much hope you will apply. If you have specific questions, please feel free to contact the Program Office for the PhD in Biological Sciences in Public Health at

Undergraduate Background

To qualify for admission, applicants must demonstrate strong enthusiasm and ability for the vigorous pursuit of scientific knowledge for optimal human health. Minimal requirements include a bachelor's degree and undergraduate preparation in calculus, physics, biology, and chemistry, both physical and organic.

Applicants wishing to do research in areas of metabolic dysregulation in complex disease (obesity, metabolic syndrome, cancer), health effects of environmental exposures (air pollution, lung infection, asthma), nutritional biochemistry (nutrient transport and metabolism), gene-environment interactions (epigenetics, inflammation, stress response), immunology and infectious diseases (host-pathogen interactions and protozoa, helminths, viruses or bacteria) usually apply to the Biological Sciences in Public Health (BPH) program.