Graduate Education at HMS

Graduate students at Harvard Medical School (HMS) are integral drivers of our research productivity and reputation, and are the intellectual engine that sustains our institutional excellence. Graduate education is a major contributor to the HMS mission, “To create and nurture a diverse community of the best people committed to leadership in alleviating human suffering caused by disease.” HMS graduate programs provide an integrative network allowing our students to work with researchers across a breathtaking landscape of multiple Harvard campuses and affiliated institutions. Nine life-science PhD programs are based at HMS, and students in these programs are enrolled in the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). HMS also offers two types of Master’s degrees in seven different research concentrations. Additionally, over the past decade, an exciting group of cross-campus graduate programs, certificate programs, and consortia have been created to enhance training and support for our highly distributed communities of scholars.

PhD Education at HMS

The nine life-science PhD programs at HMS span a wide breadth of inquiry. HMS graduate students have access to research advising and mentorship from many hundreds of world-class researchers across HMS, Harvard University, and the HMS-affiliated hospitals. These investigators study biological and biomedical questions ranging from structural interactions, molecular mechanisms, genetic and genomic underpinnings, cell biological processes, therapeutic discovery and translational research, to systems-level inquiry of complex biological interactions. PhD students at HMS not only learn to be outstanding experimentalists, but our programs also use professional development, para-curricular, and curricular resources that emphasize transferable skills and real-world training to actively prepare students to be leaders in a range of fields. 

Master’s Education at HMS

The seven master’s programs at HMS offer degrees for both medical professionals and students who are just embarking on their scientific careers.  The two-year Master of Medical Sciences (MMSc) degrees in Clinical Investigation, Global Health Delivery, Immunology, and Medical Education require the completion of 64 credits of didactic and scholarly work, including a 32-credit mentored research experience.  The Master of Bioethics, Master of Biomedical Informatics, and Master of Healthcare Quality and Safety degrees require the completion of 36 credits of didactic and scholarly work, including a 4-credit capstone project. Both types of degrees recognize the successful completion of advanced study within the degree field.  Graduates of these programs who enter with an existing professional degree go on to be leaders in their fields with new, specialized research training.  Graduates who enter as post-baccalaureate students receive research training that advances their studies in preparation for PhD or MD training, or that prepares them for careers in industrial research.