Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about career interests:

Q: Do I need to be pursuing a career in industry in order to join the TGP?

A: No, the TGP prepares students for careers in all areas of therapeutics discovery and development, including academia, consulting, analytics, policy, venture capital, pharma, and biotech, among others.


Q: Do I need to know what career path I want when I join the program?

A: No, in fact, most of our students do not know this. Our goal is to plant the seed early for students to begin thinking about careers following their PhD training in order to make career decisions with purpose, armed with data, skills, and experience. Students work together with the TGP Executive Director to explore career interests through a variety of formal and informal avenues including networking (both peer and professional networking), informational interviews, and work with the FAS Office of Career Services.



Questions about admissions:

Q: When can I apply to the TGP?

A: Students can apply in their G1, G2 or G3 year.


Q: Can postdocs and fellows apply to the TGP?

A: No, at this time we accept only Harvard PhD students.


Q: Do G3 applicants need to fulfill the same requirements?

A: Yes, all students must complete all programmatic requirements regardless of their matriculation timeline.


Q: How many students are accepted into the program each year?

A: We no longer have a cap on the number of students we accept into the program. Over the past four admissions cycles, we have increased the TGP acceptance rate from 83% of applicants to 95% of applicants.


Q: If I am not accepted into the program, can I re-apply the following year?

A: Yes, and historically, all students who re-apply are accepted into the program. We encourage students to reach out to the TGP Executive Director to discuss any questions regarding admissions decisions.


Q: How are applications reviewed?

A: Applications are reviewed by the TGP admissions committee, which is composed of 5 faculty members including the TGP Executive Director.


Q: What are you looking for in a strong application?

A: We look for a thoughtful statement of career, scientific, and personal goals that clearly outlines how the TGP can help the applicant achieve these goals. Strong statements include discussion of the three major program components: scientific curriculum, paracurricular activities, and the internship. We also look for dedication to being an active member of the program and commitment to fostering a strong and inclusive community.


Questions about internships:

Q: When during graduate school should I complete my internship?

A: Students can complete their internship any time during the year and any time before graduation. Although we encourage students to consider doing their internship early in their graduate careers, most students complete their internship in their G4 year.

Note for consulting and VC internships: these are typically done at the end of graduate school – i.e., in G4-G5. However, students need competitive resumes in order to do these internships. Students interested in these fields should participate in ongoing professional development from G1 through G4 in order to be competitive; TGP will work with such students to network and identify relevant activities that increase their competitiveness.


Q: How long are internships?

A: Full-time internships are 2-4 months in duration.


Q: Do internships have to be done in Massachusetts?

A: No. To date, we have had students do internships in Massachusetts, California and Washington, DC.


Q: Is there an administrative process to complete before doing an internship?

A: Yes, after speaking with the TGP Executive Director to create a plan with specific goals, you need to obtain your PI’s approval to do the specific internship in which you are interested.* Some programs also require DAC approval. The Program in Graduate Education (PGE) internship approval form and additional details can be found here: Students will also sign up for the MedSci 325 class for 4 credits. This course requires planning with pre- and post-internship evaluations.

*Note: The TGP internship requirement is something that should ideally be discussed with your PI (G2+) or potential PIs (G1s) as early as possible.


Q: Can international students do internships?

A: Yes. Since the internship is a program requirement, international students can get CPT approval to complete their internship and sign up for the MedSci 325 internship course.


Q: How do I find an internship? Do I need to find one on my own?

A: No, you do not need to find an internship on your own. You can work with the TGP Executive Director to find an internship that fits with your goals. That said, over the past 2 years the majority of students have found internships on their own through their own networking. In either case, TGP oversees the administrative processes and evaluations of the internship experience.


Q: How many internships can I do?

A: Program in Graduate Education (PGE) guidelines stipulate that you can complete one full-time internship during graduate school.


Questions about the curriculum and paracurricular activities:

Q: Do I have to take the classes in a certain order?

A: No, although we prefer students to begin in January with the BCMP 301qc bootcamp course (Translational Pharmacology: The Science of Therapeutic Development). However, we understand that certain programs have programmatic conflicts.


Q: Do I need to take the classes before the internship?

A: Students have found the core Drug Discovery classes (BCMP 301qc, BCMP 236) to be extremely valuable for their internships. Based on our students' experiences, we recommend that students take these courses before they do their internships.


Q: I have extensive background in one of the requirements; do I still have to take it?

A: It depends on the type of experiences and background. We work very hard to tailor our curriculum as much as possible to students’ needs and goals. Our goal is for our curriculum to add value, not to “check boxes” with strict requirements. Please reach out with any questions about specific course requirements.


Q: I am interested in therapeutics but not necessarily drug development, e.g., diagnostics; do I need to take the drug discovery classes?

A: The goals of the program are to train students in the field of therapeutics and to work with students as they achieve their individual career and scientific goals. Therefore, in this example, we would work to identify more appropriate course work for the student to fulfill the TGP requirements.


Q: The Quantitative and Physiology/Toxicology requirements are listed as selective modules, what does that mean?

A: These are more flexible options. Students can take any one of several relevant courses to fulfill these requirements. They do not, however, need to be credit bearing courses (e.g., online courses can count towards these requirements).


Q: Do the TGP classes count toward my PhD degree requirements?

A: This depends on your PhD program’s requirements, but in the vast majority of cases, they can.


Q: My interests are primarily computational and I don’t do much wet lab work for my project. Do I need to take the experimental design class given that it is more focused on wet lab work?

A: Not necessarily – we will work to identify a suitable replacement for the class that is more in line with the student’s dissertation work.


Q: When is the best time to take Experimental Design?

A: Students have found the best time to take this class is right before/around the time of the qualifying exam (PQE).


Q: Do I need to attend all paracurricular activities?

A: Yes. We meet monthly and expect our students to make all efforts to attend our activities. Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, all programming has been moved online.