Due to the interdisciplinary nature of our program, students come from virtually every field related to speech and hearing, from linguistics to molecular biology to mechanical engineering. There are no absolute requirements for entering the program beyond those required by the Division of Medical Sciences. That said, first year coursework does require solid quantitative skills, so experience with physics, calculus, and programming is recommended (but not required) for all for all entering students. Most importantly, candidates should have previous experience conducting research and a strong desire to contribute to the field of speech and hearing.  

The program is dedicated to recruiting and mentoring a diverse student body, especially from under-represented ethnic, cultural, and hearing-impaired backgrounds.


We realize that the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, recent natural disasters, and other extenuating circumstances may have significant impacts on applicants’ academic and personal lives, including the ability to provide all required application materials prior to our stated deadlines. We understand that these impacts may extend to recommenders and offices at institutions previously attended.

If any of these conditions apply to you, we encourage you to apply, even if required materials are missing. Our application form includes a section for you to let us know about any of your materials that may be unavailable or delayed. This information will be shared with the appropriate admissions committee and your admissions decision will be based on the materials available at the time of review. Please note that even though the online application system may indicate that your application is incomplete, it will still be reviewed by the appropriate admissions committee.

If you are able to gather missing materials after the admissions deadline, you will find that our application system does not allow applicants to attach new materials to an application once it has been submitted; please contact the GSAS Office of Admissions at for assistance. Any materials that become available before the admissions committee has finished deliberating will be passed along for consideration.

If your application is incomplete and you are denied admission, GSAS will not count it toward our lifetime limit of three total applications that an individual may submit.

How to Apply

Application to SHBT is through the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) - make sure to select Division of Medical Sciences and then SHBT as you progress through the site. 

A complete application consists of:

  • Online application form
  • Application fee payment ($105)
  • Transcripts uploaded to the application
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Demonstration of English proficiency, where required

**BBS applicants should complete the "Areas of Interest" form on the online application.

Application Fees & Deadline

The cost to apply online is $105.00 U.S. (subject to change) The online application fee must be paid by credit card, no other form of payment is accepted. Your application will not be processed unless payment is submitted and received.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

GRE scores are optional for all DMS programs. 

Demonstrate English Proficiency, Where Required

Adequate command of spoken and written English is essential to success in graduate study at Harvard. Applicants who are non-native English speakers and who received their undergraduate degree from an academic institution where English is not the primary language of instruction must prove their English proficiency by earning either a minimum score of 100 on the Internet based test (iBT) of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a minimum score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic test. Applicants who took tests more than two years ago (i.e., before September 1, 2018, for fall 2020 admission) must retake them. No test other than the iBT TOEFL or the IELTS Academic will be accepted as proof of English proficiency; a master’s degree is not accepted as proof of English proficiency.

For those students planning to submit TOEFL scores, please arrange to have an official score report sent to the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences using code 3451. If you have a copy of your Score Confirmation Report, you can upload it to your online application for consideration by the admissions committee. However, you will still need to ensure that Educational Testing Service sends an official score report.

For those students planning to submit IELTS scores, please note that we will only accept official IELTS Academic scores submitted electronically by the IELTS test center via the E-Delivery service. Scores from the IELTS General Training module are not accepted. At the time of test-taking, please specify Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as a score recipient. We do not accept IELTS paper Test Report Forms nor do we verify Test Report Forms (TRFs).

Applicants unable to take the TOEFL IBT, IELTS or IELTS indicator exams may apply without these scores, and if programs recommend these applicants for admission, their admission will be provisional until they provide scores from one of the accepted tests that demonstrate the required level of English proficiency.

Financial Aid 

Applicants to the Division of Medical Sciences - SHBT,  should NOT­ complete the Statement of Financial Resources for Graduate Study. DMS  students receive full tuition and stipend support while they are enrolled.

Letters of Recommendation 

We do not accept any paper letters of recommendation. Be sure to register your recommenders’ information in your application, as all recommendation letters must be submitted online.  Paper letters of recommendation will NOT be included as part of your application.

Fee Waiver

We are committed to ensuring that our application fee does not create a financial obstacle for prospective applicants. Application fee waivers are available to those for whom payment of the application fee would be financially challenging. A fee waiver can be requested in the "Applicant Fee" section of the application.


The interviews are to both recruit you and to determine if you are a good fit for the program. You will likely interview with 6-8 faculty from various backgrounds, and each interview will last around thirty minutes. At the conclusion of the formal interviews, there will be a series of events on Friday night and all day Saturday which allow you to interact with current students and faculty in more informal settings. You are also encouraged to visit any labs in which you may be interested in working.

You are encouraged to contact faculty members and schedule appointments to talk to them. In fact, it's an excellent idea and shows that you are really interested in the program. Given time constraints for the weekend, the best time to do so would be on Thursday afternoon before the interviews. That being said, you will get to meet quite a few faculty members the day of the interview. If there is a group that you're particularly interested in visiting that you will not be interviewing with on Friday, it definitely makes sense to try and get a visit in, as it is unlikely you'll have a chance to do so that weekend after the interviews are over.

Interviewees are typically housed with current students. We believe that staying with a student is invaluable because it provides the opportunity for you to talk one-on-one in an informal setting. Also, please let your host know when you will be arriving and leaving, so he or she can make sure to be available for your entire stay. More information on who to contact regarding staying with a current student during your interview will be available in your interview information packet and email. If you live locally, you will also be informally paired with a current student as a buddy.

Dress Code
We recommend business formal attire for the interviews. It's not required, but most men wear jackets (with or without a tie) while women wear a skirt or slacks. Interview day will be your most formal day. Any activities purely organized for students will be informal. Feel free to wear comfortable (warm!) clothing. We pack a lot into interview weekend, so be sure to layer for the cold and be comfortable enough to be at ease over the course of a long day. Be sure to check in on the weather in the week leading up to your visit. Boston can have cold winters and snow covered sidewalks in January, while other lucky interviewees may experience a beautiful, crisp sun...either way, you'll want to come prepared!

You will be fully reimbursed for train or air travel, and you will receive more information about reimbursement with your interview packet.


Application questions: Please refer to the GSAS Addisions website, call  617-496-6100 (please call between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday), or contact

Degree program questions: If you still have questions regarding the program, please reach out to

To speak with a staff member from the Office of Diversity and Minority Affairs, please contact or 617- 495-5315.