The Harvard University

Biophysics Program

  • Program Description and Philosophy
  • Admissions  (and suggested undergraduate preparation)
  • Financial Support
  • Living and Housing Costs
  • Degree Requirements
  • Faculty and Graduate Students (use this link to access research descriptions and home pages)
  • Administration
  • Life in Cambridge and Boston
  • Links to Other Harvard Resources
  • Links to Other Harvard Graduate Programs
  • Biophysics-Related Links
  • Schedule- Student Research Talks
  • Relevant Predoctoral Fellowship websites
  • Description and Philosophy

    Initiated in 1959 by Arthur K. Solomon, the Committee on Higher Degrees in Biophysics at Harvard University has a long history of important research achievements. Over 60 faculty members from departments including Physics, Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Engineering Sciences, the Division of Applied Sciences, the Division of Medical Sciences (Genetics, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Cell Biology, Neurobiology and the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology), the teaching Hospitals (Childrens' Hospital, Beth Israel Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital), and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute participate in the training of students in the Biophysics Program.

    The program is designed to nurture independent, creative scientists. Applicants for graduate training should have sound preliminary training in the physical sciences, especially chemistry, physics, and mathematics. The primary objective of the program is to educate and train individuals with this background to apply the concepts and methods of the physical sciences to the solution of biological problems. Owing to the interdepartmental nature of the program, a student's research options are increased greatly. Research programs may be pursued in any of the departments or hospitals mentioned previously. 


  • To request an application, please write to the GSAS Admissions Office at the following address:
  • Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Admissions Office- Byerly Hall, 8 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.

    To request an application by phone, please call (617) 495-5315.

    **Please note that applications are not available through the Biophysics Program Administrative Office.**


    You can request a program booklet here.

    You can request an application here.

    Suggested Undergraduate Preparation for Application

    Writing with Sources. Published by the Harvard University Undergraduate Education Expository Writing Program.
  • For more information, contact Michele Jakoulov
  • To connect to the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Admissions Page

  • Financial Support

    All students accepted into the Biophysics program will be supported financially by fellowships from Harvard University or the National Institute of Health Training Programs. Students accepted in the Fall of 2003 will receive full tuition and health insurance of $28,404 and an annual stipend of $25,008 ($20,840 for a ten month period). This stipend has been increased in past years to offset the higher cost of living. Outstanding students often win outside fellowships from the National Science Foundation, The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, or the Hertz or Ford Foundations. Students are strongly encouraged to apply for these fellowships in their senior year of undergraduate study.

    Living and Housing Costs

    Accommodations in graduate residence halls are available. In addition, there are approximately 1,500 apartments available for graduate students in Harvard-owned buildings. Applications may be obtained fromthe Harvard University GSAS Housing Office, which also maintains a list of available private rooms, houses, and apartments in the vacinity.  The 2003-2004 on campus housing rates range from $4,244 to $6,670.

    Degree Requirements

    The majority of graduates in the Biophysics program have been undergraduate majors in physics or physical chemistry, although a few have come from areas such as biology and electrical engineering. Consequently, the course requirements for admission are elastic. Each student's program of graduate study is planned in consultation with an appointed faculty advisor (during the first two years of study) and later with their chosen thesis advisor. The degree program is designed to be completed in a maximum of six years. The program is flexible, and special effort is has been devoted to minimizing formal requirments.

    The first part of the program seeks to introduce the students directly to the faculty members and their research, enabling the student to make a considered choice of research advisor, and to involve the student in the diverse areas of biophysics through laboratory as well as course work. Biophysics 300r, Introduction to Laboratory Research, brings professors from all over the University for one-hour seminars on their specific areas of research interest, allowing the students a period of time to familiarize themselves with research opportunities at Harvard before choosing their first laboratory rotation later in the first semester.
    300r schedule Fall 1999

    First Year
    *Several rotations as well as course work are completed in the year to year-and-a-half of study.

    Courses offered in Biophysics
    Computational Biology Program within Biophysics

    Second Year
    *A semester of teaching is required in the second year.
    *Students chose their research advisor by the end of their second year.
    *Qualifying examination must be completed by end of second year.
      Student must pass this exam before beginning thesis research.

    Third Year and beyond
    *Student engages in a period of intensive research culminating in publications and the Ph.D. degree.

  • For more information, contact Michele Jakoulov

  • Administration

  • Dr. James Hogle chairs the Biophysics Program
  • Michele Jakoulov is the Biophysics Program's Administrator. You can contact Michele by
  • You can also request a biophysics booklet here .
  • To request an application.

  • Life in Cambridge and Boston

  • For more information about Cambridge, try the City of Cambridge Home Page
  • For more information about Boston, try Boston Online
  • M2 shuttle schedule (shuttle service to and from Cambridge and Boston Campuses)

  • Other Harvard Resources

  • Computational Biology Program within Biophysics
  • Countway Library's Harvard Medical Web Page
  • Divisionof Medical Sciences (DMS)
  • links to other Harvard graduate programs (e.g. BBS, Virology, Neurosciences)
  • MD/Ph.D. Program at Harvard Medical School
  • Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
  • FOCUS Publication
  • Harvard Medical School Home Page
  • Harvard University Biological Laboratories
  • Harvard University Home Page
  • Harvard University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS)
  • WWW Virtual Library: Biosciences
  • Hollis link to on-line journals
  • M2 shuttle schedule (shuttle service to and from Cambridge and Boston Campuses)

  • Biophysics-Related Links

  • Biophysical Society
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory- Protein Data Bank
  • The Net Advance of Physics

  • The Biophysics Home Page picture

    Poliovirus complexed with antiviral drug. Image provided by Dr. Jim Hogle and Dr. Bob Grant (Robert Grant, Chaitanya Hiremath, David Filman, Rashid Syed, Koen Andies, and James M. Hogle, Structures of poliovirus complexes with anti-viral drugs: implications for viral stability and drug design, Current Biology 4:784-797, 1994) 
    This page was last updated 4 April 2001 by gmc.  Please send comments to