Harvard University COVID-19 updates

Graduate Application Requirements

Application Requirements

Applications are managed by the Harvard Griffin GSAS Office of Admissions, and become available in September. Admission is for the fall term only. Please note all supporting materials and required components must be submitted electronically as part of the application. Harvard Griffin GSAS does not accept materials in any other way.

  • Application
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • Recommended Coursework
  • English Proficiency
  • Application Fee



Applications are submitted through the Harvard Griffin GSAS Applicant Portal and will become available in September 2024. You can access the application by clicking the apply button on the apply page. Please note all supporting materials and required components must be submitted electronically as part of the application. No materials will be accepted in any other way. The application includes biographical and academic information, an abstract of all courses, and a statement of purpose. Although the abstract of courses may duplicate information available on your transcript(s), it is essential that the admissions committee receive this orderly summary of your courses.



Describe your reasons and motivations for pursuing a graduate degree in your chosen degree program, noting the experiences that shaped your research ambitions, indicating briefly your career objectives and concisely stating your past work in your intended field of study and in related fields. Your statement should not exceed 1,000 words.

In addition to the above guidance, your statement of purpose should also address the following questions:

  • What do you consider your most significant personal scientific discovery?
    • The focus of this question should be a discovery in which you had substantial engagement and personal impact on the research. Do not reference a large group project simply because it was interesting.
    • If you have not had significant research experience, please describe a scientific discovery that motivated you to pursue research.
    • Using simple language, describe what you or others did, why, and what it means.
  • Describe your research interests within the following areas:
    • Molecular Mechanism
    • Cell and Developmental Biology
    • Molecular Ecology and Evolution
  • Choose two MCO faculty members that you are interested to work with and explain why using a specific example from their published work.



Submit a minimum of three letters of recommendation from professors or others qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study. At least one letter should be from a faculty member at the last school you attended as a full-time student unless you have been out of school for more than five years. Substitutions for faculty recommendations may include work associates or others who can comment on your academic potential for graduate work. Indicate on the recommendation form whether you are waiving your right to see the letter of recommendation.

Please note that your letters must be received by the application deadline in order for your application to be evaluated by the Admissions Committee. Please note that recommenders must submit their letters through the recommender portal: letters submitted any other way will not be accepted.



Applicants are required to upload transcripts from each institution attended as part of their application. We do not accept mailed or email transcripts during the application submission and review process. Any transcripts sent in this manner will be discarded.

Official transcripts are only required from those who have been admitted and accepted the offer of admission. Instructions for submitting official transcripts will be provided in spring/summer prior to enrollment.

Transcripts from international institutions must be in English or be accompanied by a certified English translation. All translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records. International transcripts should include:

  • Courses, seminars, and examinations taken
  • Grades, scores, and grading scales
  • Confirmation of degree conferral and date

Students who are unsure of the U.S. equivalency of their degree(s) should consult a reputable credential evaluation service.

The University reserves the right to request additional academic documents.



Entering students should have a record of introductory courses in chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics. While the following courses should not be regarded as prerequisites for admission to graduate study, most admitted students have completed these courses as undergraduates:

  • Biology (at least one general course in biology and two terms of biology at a more advanced level)
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Physics (a general course)
  • Mathematics (a basic knowledge of differential and integral calculus). Competence in elementary programming is also desirable.
  • Laboratory in Biology, Biochemistry, or Instrumental Analysis.



Adequate command of spoken and written English is essential to success in graduate study at Harvard. Applicants who are non-native English speakers can demonstrate English proficiency in one of three ways:

Please refer to all policies and instructions regarding English proficiency on the Griffin GSAS Admissions website.


The application fee is $105 payable by credit card. Harvard Griffin GSAS is committed to ensuring that our fee does not create a financial obstacle. Applicants can determine eligibility for a fee waiver by completing a series of questions in the Application Fee section of the application. Once these questions have been answered, the application system will provide an immediate response regarding fee waiver eligibility. The application fee is not refundable


Please note that GRE scores are no longer accepted.


Application Questionsadmiss@fas.harvard.edu

Phone Hours:
Monday and Wednesday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Tuesday, 2:00 p.m. — 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time