The Systems, Synthetic, and Quantitative Biology Program is firmly committed to increasing diversity amongst our graduate students. We are proud to provide an atmosphere that is nurturing and supportive of all students. You can download Perspectives a brochure for minority students considering GSAS programs at Harvard.


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.


SSQBio Diversity Efforts

All first year SSQBio students take an orientation workshop and a three-part Identity and Empowerment in Science Workshop in the spring. These workshops were created through a collaboration between students and faculty of SSQBio and the HMS Systems Biology Department. It has run each year since 2016.

In July 2020, SSQBio students wrote a letter to the program leaders outlining a series of actions to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. Students are now working with SSQBio faculty and administrators to enact these changes.

Additionally, in July 2020 the HMS Systems Biology Department created several working groups dedicated to expanding the department’s efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion. These groups focus on mentorship, diversity in graduate admissions, diversity in postdoc and faculty hiring, outreach for undergraduates and K-12 students, and changing department culture to value these efforts. Several SSQBio students and faculty are involved in and helping to run these groups.


Summer Research Internships

There are several great paid summer research programs for undergraduate students at Harvard. A complete list can be found here. Many of our Systems, Synthetic, and Quantitative Biology faculty participate in the following two programs.

FAS Center for Systems Biology Undergraduate Research Internships

The SHURP Program of the Division of Medical Sciences

Off-Campus Recruiting

Meet with Systems, Synthetic, and Quantitative Biology faculty and administrators at events such as research talks on your home campus and national conferences and scientific meetings. In addition, representatives from the SSQBio Program attend the following two conferences every year.

The Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
The Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)

Resources for Current Students

GSAS Office of Diversity and Minority Affairs

Dr. Sheila Thomas, Dean for Academic Programs and Diversity
Stephanie Parsons, Assistant Director of Diversity and Minority Affairs, 617-495-5315


Minority Biomedical Students at Harvard (MBSH)
Minority Biomedical Students at Harvard is a student organization of the Division of Medical Sciences, the Graduate School’s interfaculty PhD program with Harvard Medical School. The mission of MBSH is to create a sense of community amongst the minority graduate and postdoctoral scholars working in the biomedical sciences. It publishes a weekly newsletter that includes links to numerous events of interest, including research seminars, seminars for professional development, job postings, and updates on accomplishments of MBSH members.

W. E. B. Du Bois Graduate Society is an organization of GSAS students and others devoted to addressing minority issues. The aims of the society are twofold: to be a forum where students can meet to discuss concerns of race and ethnicity, and to provide a social, intellectual, and political institution for minority student activities. In addition, the society wishes to serve as a liaison to welcome new and visiting minority scholars to the Harvard community.

Harvard Native American Program brings together Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students and interested individuals from the Harvard community for the purpose of advancing the well-being of indigenous peoples through self-determination, academic achievement, and community service.

Harvard SACNAS Chapter Student Chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health