Q: How do I know which program I am eligible for?
If you have a doctoral degree, you will be eligible to apply to the accelerated 36-credit master's program, which can be completed in one academic year full time or two academic years part-time. If you hold a bachelor's or master’s degree as your highest obtained degree, you will be eligible to apply to the 48-credit program, which is completed in three academic semesters.
Q: If a student is admitted to the Accelerated MBI Program but later wants to switch to the 48-Credit program, is this possible?
•Students are accepted into a program based on their previous degree credentials. Students who hold a previously-earned doctoral degree or are at least 3 years into a doctoral program may only be admitted to and complete the Accelerated Program.
•Conversely, students whose highest attained degree is a Bachelor’s degree or another Master’s degree may only be admitted to and complete the 48-Credit Program.
What materials are required for application and what is the deadline?
Details on application materials, current deadlines, and access to the application portal can be found on our Application Information Page.
For both master’s programs, applicants must submit the following via the Harvard Medical School Graduate Education Application Portal
- Online Application form
- Letter of Interest
- 3 Letters of Recommendation
- Transcripts from all schools where you have received a degree, or completed coursework - uploads of unofficial transcripts are acceptable at the time of application. Official transcripts are required upon admission.
- English Proficiency Test Results if applicable.
Your application will not be reviewed until all aspects of the application have been received.
Can I enroll in the program part time?
You can enroll in the accelerated post-doctoral program part-time and complete the master’s degree over two academic years. You cannot complete the 48-credit post-baccalaureate program part time at this time.
Do you offer any online or evening courses?
All courses are currently offered between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:30 pm eastern time.
The Master of Biomedical Informatics program is an in-residence program that is intended to be offered fully in-person at the Harvard Medical School campus in Boston, Massachusetts.
For the 2020 - 2021 academic year, the MBI program is being offered fully online as a safety measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Decisions about whether the program will be offered in-person or online will continue to be made on a semester-by-semester basis depending on the course of the pandemic and current public health guidelines. The MBI program in fall 2021 will be offered either fully in-person or fully online. No hybrid format will be offered.
Applicants to the MBI program for fall 2021 admission must be prepared to be in-residence in Boston or complete one or more semesters online if current public health guidelines persist. Applicants should not expect to be able to complete the program entirely online.
What is the cost of the program?
Current year tuition and fees and be found on the following page:
Are scholarships available?
The MBI program is not able to offer direct scholarship support to students at this time. All prospective students are encouraged to seek sources of outside funding to support their studies. Possible opportunities can be found on the Harvard University Committee on General Scholarship Funds website at scholarships.harvard.edu.
Limited opportunities for reduced tuition from Harvard Medical School are as follows:
Master's Program Tuition Discount for Faculty and Staff at HMS and Affiliated Institutions
Full-time, benefits-eligible faculty and staff at HMS and affiliated institutions/hospitals are eligible for a scholarship equivalent to 10% of the tuition rate for any of the HMS Master's Degree Programs (tuition only). Prospective students who are eligible should indicate this in the appropriate field of the application.
Dubai Harvard Foundation for Medical Research Scholarship
The Dubai Harvard Foundation for Medical Research (DHFMR) offers tuition support to a limited number of selected candidates in the form of tuition reductions. Reductions will be funded at no more than 50% of tuition to candidates from the GCC and MENA region*, and candidates living and working in the GCC and MENA region, regardless of nationality. Tuition support is awarded on the basis of merit and financial need.
*The GCC and MENA Region includes: Algeria | Bahrain | Djibouti | Egypt | Iraq | Israel | Jordan| Kuwait | Lebanon | Libya | Malta | Morocco | Oman | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Syria | Tunisia | United Arab Emirates | West Bank and Gaza | Yemen
Eligible applicants will be contacted about this opportunity upon offer of admission to the program.
How much is the application fee?
The non-refundable application fee is $100, payable by credit card only. For those prospective applicants for whom the application fee would be a hardship, we offer fee waivers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about receiving a fee waiver.
How do I apply for financial aid?
Accepted students who are eligible for aid will receive instructions on applying for financial aid. For more information on the financial aid process, please see Financial Aid for Master’s Students.
Do I need to take the GRE Exam?
The MBI program does not require GRE scores. GRE scores that are submitted will not be reviewed as part of the application.
Do international students need to submit Proof of English Language Proficiency?
International student applicants for whom English is not their native language must demonstrate English Language Proficiency by meeting one of the following requirements:
- Hold a Bachelor's or Master's Degree from an accredited institution where English is the language of instruction.
- Obtain a score of 103 or higher on the TOEFL exam.
- TOEFL iBT Home Edition test accepted for Fall 2021 applicants.
- Obtain a score of 7.5 or higher on the IELTS exam
- IELTS indicator test results will only be accepted for application purposes. Applicants who are offered admission will need to provide official IELTS exam scores or official scores from another accepted exam.
- Obtain a score of 125 or higher on the Duolingo English Test
Applicants submitting a TOEFL score should select “3151 Harvard Med Sch Grad Educ MS.”
Can international students apply?
Yes! International students will fill out the same application, and let us know through the online application whether or not they are an international candidate. If a visa is needed, Harvard will provide an F-1 visa for incoming students.
Do graduates of the program qualify for extended OPT?
Yes. Under current guidelines, the Master of Biomedical Informatics is considered a STEM degree, and eligible students who complete the degree on an F-1 visa have the option to apply for a STEM OPT extension after their initial post-completion OPT period. However, please note that guidelines for obtaining OPT can change at any time. Approval for OPT and extended OPT is not guaranteed by the MBI program.
What if my school does not issue a transcript in English?
If your institution does not provide a transcript in English, you must obtain a certified English translation through a credential evaluation organization such as World Education Services.
How do I apply for the NLM Biomedical Informatics and Data Science Fellowship?
To apply to the Biomedical Informatics and Data Science Research Training (BIRT) Program fellowship, candidates submit an application to the MBI program. No additional materials are required. Applicants for the BIRT program should request an application fee waiver. Please contact email@example.com to request a fee waiver.
Can I speak to someone on campus? Are there information sessions?
The Master of Biomedical Informatics program administration will be offering three information sessions in fall 2020 for prospective applicants. These sessions will be conducted via Zoom Webinar and will be recorded. Please view our MBI Information Sessions Page for dates and registration.
MBI Program staff are currently working from home due to COVID-19 and are not able to meet propsective students in-person at this time.
To discuss setting up a time to speak with a member of the MBI program staff, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who can I reach out to if I still have more questions?
If your question was not answered, please reach out to email@example.com .
When will my application be reviewed?
All applications are reviewed after the deadline for which they were submitted. We do not have rolling admissions.
Applications to the Accelerated MBI Program for those who have already applied to a Harvard-affiliated hospital Clinical Informatics Fellowship Program and/or wish to be considered for the BIRT Fellowship Program and meet the eligibility requirements will be reviewed after November 2, 2020, provided that they are complete by that date.
All other complete applications will be reviewed after the February 5, 2021, regular deadline,
Where is Harvard Medical School located?
The Harvard Medical School campus is part of the Harvard Longwood Campus located in the Longwood Medical Area in Boston, Massachusetts. Information on things to do in the Longwood Medical Area can be found at: longwoodarea.org.
Q: Where can I find information on the program curriculum?
The curriculum and course offerings for new students will be finalized and sent out to admitted students during the summer before matriculation.
Q: Are there opportunities to take electives?
•MBI students have the option to cross-register in courses at other Harvard schools and MIT for electives.
•Courses at other Harvard schools and MIT cannot be used to substitute for BMI course requirements.
•Elective courses at other Harvard schools and MIT cannot be taken if they have a schedule conflict with a required course.
•For a complete list of previously completed electives: https://dbmi.hms.harvard.edu/education/master-biomedical-informatics/electives
Q: For some courses (such as deep learning) that are also offered at other institutions, such as MIT, is it possible to take them at the other institutions?
Courses at other institutions cannot be used to substitute BMI courses. However, students are able to take some elective courses at other Harvard schools or MIT with permission of the program director.
Program Subject Areas
Which area will the program specifically focus on? Stats? Computer Science? Genomics?
All of the above! All of these areas are integral to the inherently interdisciplinary field of Biomedical Informatics.
Q: For the capstone project, can students be funded by their mentor if the mentor is willing?
The capstone project is completed for course credit as a program requirement, therefore work towards the capstone project cannot be paid for.
Q: Do students need to find their own mentor for the capstone project?
Students individually select and identify a mentor for their capstone project. MBI Program staff are available to help students identify potential mentors and introduce students to mentors when no previous relationship exists.
Funding for the MBI Program
Q: What opportunities are there for funding the program? Scholarships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships?
- At this time, there are very few funding opportunities available to Master’s students at Harvard Medical School. Partial scholarship funding may be available to qualifying Master’s students from Harvard Medical School and eligible admitted students will be contacted about these independently.
- TA and RA opportunities are limited and, although the majority are paid, they are not enough to cover the cost of tuition.
Q: What are the career outcomes for master’s students?
- Students graduating from the Accelerated MBI program have gone on to a broad range of informatics positions, including faculty positions at academic health centers, academic research laboratories, pharmaceutical, or healthcare technology companies. Some have started PhD programs in the field.
- Students graduating from the 48-credit program have gone on to PhD programs, MD programs, data science and data analyst positions in pharmaceutical and therapeutics companies, and bioinformatics roles at non-profits and research hospitals.
Summer and Winter Breaks
Q: What do MBI students usually do during their time off during the summer and winter months?
- Students in the 48-credit and part-time accelerated programs do not take classes during the summer months between their second and third semesters.
- There is also a shorter winter break between the Fall and Spring semesters. Students can use this as time off, to begin work on the capstone, or to cross-register into a 'January Term' elective course at one of the other Harvard Schools.
- Students spend their time off pursuing research and internship opportunities.
- Part-time accelerated students typically spend the summer months dedicating themselves full-time to their work or fellowship commitments.