We aim to recruit students from a variety of backgrounds including biology, physics, chemistry, computer science, engineering, and mathematics, who will work together to forge a new approach to biology that combines theoretical and experimental approaches. The typical student has a strong background in one of the disciplines relevant to Systems Biology and an interest in interdisciplinary research.

Please refer to the GSAS Admissions Page for further information on applying. Some of the most important details are noted here for your convenience.

Application Fee Waivers

If applying to the program causes financial hardship, you may request a fee waiver form by e-mailing the GSAS Office of Admissions at admiss@fas.harvard.edu. Please include "fee waiver" in the subject line. Requesting a fee waiver does not affect your chances of admission.


Application Assistance Program

We understand that depending on their current position and institution, applicants to SSQBio may have differing levels of support available when applying to graduate school. During Fall 2020, current SSQBio students are piloting an Application Assistance Program (AAP). The goal of the AAP is to ensure all applicants to SSQBio have sufficient resources and guidance while applying to the grad program.


The AAP is available to students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences, including but not limited to: under-represented minorities, first-generation college students, socioeconomically disadvantaged students, LGBTQ+ students, and individuals with learning differences. Eligible applicants to the AAP will be matched with a current student mentor. Mentors will provide feedback on application materials as well as answering any questions about graduate student life in SSQBio. If you are applying to SSQBio and are interested in participating in the AAP, please apply here. We will match applicants to mentors on a rolling basis until November 1.


We require on-line submission of the application. Applicants should submit a scanned copy of their transcript(s) online. Official hard copy transcripts will be requested when the applicant is admitted and accepts the offer of admission. TOEFL scores should be sent to Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences code R-3451. GRE scores will no longer be required as of June 2018.

Applicants must hold the equivalent of a US bachelor's degree (BA or BS) from an institution of recognized standing (either a three or four year undergraduate degree).

Applying to more than one HILS Program

The Systems, Synthetic, and Quantitative Biology Program is one of the programs in the Harvard Integrated Life Sciences, which facilitates collaboration and cross-disciplinary research. 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).  You may request a fee waiver form by e-mailing the GSAS Office of Admissions at admiss@fas.harvard.edu or the Office of Diversity and Minority Affairs at minrec@fas.harvard.edu.  All online candidates submitting multiple applications should follow the instructions on the online system. 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.

Faculty contact/interests

Please be sure to list faculty that interest you as part of the online application. Students are not required to contact any faculty in advance, but are welcome to.

Interview and campus visit

Applications are reviewed by the admissions committee during December and early January.  Selected applicants are then notified if they have been chosen for an on campus interview. The campus visits will be held on one of two weekends (January 25 -28 2018 or February 8 - 11, 2018). These visits provide students with the opportunity to meet with faculty and current students and to get a better feel for our community and the types of research conducted here. Applicants invited for an interview who reside overseas and cannot visit the Harvard campus may interview via Skype or telephone.

Our current students have also authored a blog post about what to expect in grad school interviews.