Research course

Applied Mathematics

Harvard University

Entry requirements

Through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, prospective students apply for doctoral study at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). These programs lie at the interfaces of engineering, the applied sciences (from biology to physics), and technology.

When applying, select “Engineering and Applied Sciences” as your program choice and your degree and area of interest in the Area of Study menu. You must complete the Supplemental SEAS Application Form as part of the online application process. Please read the form carefully and indicate your specific interests only in the area to which you are applying.

Months of entry


Course content

"Among the many things that make graduate study at SEAS uniquely rewarding, two stand out: our world-class faculty; and the fact that SEAS is part of the larger Harvard community. Our students have limitless opportunities for fruitful collaboration with colleagues from preeminent programs in the sciences, and world-class schools of medicine, business, law, government, design, and public health."

-Dean Frank Doyle

John A. Paulson Dean, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; John A. & Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering & Applied Sciences

Applied mathematics focuses on the creation and study of mathematical and computational tools broadly applicable in science and engineering, and on their use in solving challenging problems in these and related fields. From ecological modeling to electromagnetic theory, from robotics to meteorology, areas of investigation in applied mathematics are diverse.

The interdisciplinary setting at Harvard provides an ideal environment for applied mathematics, with activities occurring both within and at the boundaries of many different fields, using a variety of mathematical and computational tools.

Research and educational activities have particularly close links to Harvard's efforts in Mathematics, Economics, Computer Science, and Statistics.

Researchers aim to:

  • understand the mathematical concepts and techniques used to analyze, explain, or predict information (whether it relates to scientific and engineering measurements or the less precise data that describe certain aspects of our social, economic or ecological environment);
  • study relations between models and observations; and
  • examine the mathematical foundations and limitations of models and techniques and develop extensions.

Graduate students in applied mathematics work with faculty researching:

  • Control theory and stochastic systems
  • Economics and computation
  • Modeling physical/biological phenomena and systems
  • Theory of computation

Fees and funding

5 years’ funding is guaranteed to all Harvard GSAS PhD students.

Applicants who are British citizens, normally resident in the UK and who are, or will be, graduates of a British university, are welcome to submit an additional application for a Kennedy Scholarship and/or a Frank Knox Fellowship. An application for either award is separate from and totally independent of an application to a particular programme.

Frank Knox Fellowship funding is advantageous in the taught-master phase of a Harvard doctorate. Both awards offer significant social and networking benefits.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    60 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

The first two years of the program are likely to comprise a taught-master.

Course contact details

SEAS Admissions
001 617 496 6100