Student Handbook

Medical Education

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Harvard Medical School Student Handbook

The Harvard Medical School (HMS) Student Handbook begins with Being a Student at Harvard Medical School, which describes the aspirations of the Harvard Medical School faculty for students’ experience here. It is followed by a brief history of Harvard Medical School.

The Handbook includes descriptions of the curriculum and requirements for the MD degree in both the New Pathway and HST Programs and provides incoming and current MD students the information necessary to successfully participate in the program. The Student Handbook also provides answers to the many questions students will have about specific aspects of education and student life at HMS.

Review of HMS academic and financial policies and/or curricular requirements may result in changes to rules and/or policies that are published in this document, which is updated annually. All students are expected to be familiar with the policies of Harvard Medical School and Harvard University.

All information in this handbook and in the HMS Course Catalog is subject to revision, and, from time to time, changes are made in course offerings, academic rules and requirements, and the plan of instruction. Harvard Medical School reserves the right to alter, change, or amend any of these rules and regulations at any time without prior notice. Information contained herein supersedes that published previously and is subject to change.

Please forward any comments, updates, or questions to the Office of the Dean for Medical Education, at


© 2013 by the President and Fellows of Harvard University


Table of Contents

Being a Student at Harvard Medical School

Being a Student at HMS

History of Harvard Medical School

History of Harvard Medical School

1. The MD Programs at Harvard Medical School

1.00 The Learning Environment at Harvard Medical School

1.01 Plan of Instruction for Cannon, Castle, Holmes, and Peabody Societies

1.02 Plan of Instruction for the London Society of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST)

1.03 Course and Examination Requirements for the MD Programs (New Pathway, Pathways and HST)

1.04 Student Assessment in the MD Program

1.05 Five-Year MD Program

1.06 Five-Year MD Program – HST

1.07 MD Degree with Honors in a Special Field

2. Academic Information and Policies

2.01 Academic Calendars

2.02 Attendance

2.03 Grading and Examinations

2.04 Adding or Dropping Courses

2.05 Cross Registration

2.06 Licensure

2.07 Full or Part Time Status Requirements

2.08 Policy on Length of Time to Complete the MD Degree

2.09 Leave of Absence

2.10 Withdrawal

2.11 Readmission

2.12 Credit for Work Done Prior to Matriculation

2.13 Credit for Special Programs or Extramural Work

2.14 Rules Governing Other Educational Experiences

2.15 Transcripts and Enrollment Confirmation Statements

2.16 Access to Student Records

2.17 Advanced Standing Students

2.18 Curriculum Continuity: Policy on Interruption

2.19 Satisfactory Academic Progress

2.20 Student Workload and Duty Hours on Core and Elective Clinical Rotations

2.21 Pregnancy and Childbirth during Medical School

2.22 Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) - Dean's Letter

3. Academic Resources

3.01 Registrar's Office

3.02 Academic Societies

3.03 Office of Advising Resources

3.04 Office of Student Affairs

3.05 Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs

3.06 The Council of Academic Societies

3.07 Advising and Career/Specialty Choice Advising

3.08 Scholars in Medicine Office

3.09 Office of Curriculum Services

3.10 Educational Computing

3.11 Center for Evaluation

3.12 Tosteson Medical Education Center

3.13 Gilbert Medical Simulation Center

3.14 HMS Exchange Clerkship Program

3.15 Academy Center for Teaching and Learning

3.16 Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine

3.17 Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Office of Dental Education

3.18 Division of Medical Sciences

3.19 Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership

3.20 Harvard University Resources for Students

4. Student Conduct and Responsibility

4.00 Principles of Student Conduct and Responsibility

4.01 Responsibilities of Teachers and Learners

4.02 The HMS Promotion and Review Board (PRB)

4.03 PRB Student Disciplinary Actions

4.04 Appellate Review

4.05 General Principles for Consideration of Student Performance and Conduct

4:06 Falsification of Admissions Application

4.07 Procedures for Consideration of Academic Performance

4.08 Policy and Procedures for Consideration of Unprofessional Conduct

4.09 Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism

4.10 Violation of Examination Rules

4.11 Submission of Written Work

4.12 Submission of the Same Work to More than One Course

4.13 Library Policies

4.14 Conflict of Interest

4.15 Policies Regarding Drugs and Alcohol

4.16 Policies Regarding Hazing

4.17 Financial Aid Fraud

4.18 Patient Confidentiality and HIPAA

4.19 Harvard University Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy

5. Combined Degree Programs

5.00 Enrollment in Additional Degree Programs during Medical School

5.01 MD-PhD Program

5.02 MD-MPH Program (Harvard School of Public Health)

5.03 MD-MPP Program (John F. Kennedy School of Government)

5.04 MD-MBA Program (Harvard Business School)

6. Financial Obligations

6.01 Tuition, Fees, and Living Expenses

6.02 Tuition Requirements for MD Degree Candidates

6.03 Students Withdrawing Mid-Term

6.04 Medical Fees

6.05 Payment of University Obligations

6.06 Dishonored Checks

6.07 Financial Aid

7. General Policies

7.01 Harvard University Policy Regarding Religious Holidays

7.02 Vacations and Holidays

7.03 Transportation Policy

7.04 Weather and Emergency Conditions

7.05 Program Evaluation

7.06 Student Identification Cards

7.07 Computers, Networks and Technology Requirements

7.08 Student E-mail Accounts

7.09 Electronic Communication and Social Media

7.10 Privacy of Information

7.11 Criminal Offender Record Information

7.12 Sign and Banner Posting

7.13 Firearms, Explosives, Combustible Fuels, Fireworks, and Dangerous Weapons

7.14 Obscene or Harassing Telephone Calls

7.15 Patents, Trademarks, and "Use of Name" Regulations

7.16 Discrimination, Harassment, and Student Mistreatment

7.17 Stalking

7.18 Missing Persons Policy

7.19 Emergency Notification System (MessageMe Policy)

7.20 Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Annual Notice to Students

7.21 University-Wide Statement on Rights and Responsibilities

7.22 Harvard University Policy on Access to Electronic Information

8. Housing and Dining Services

8.01 Vanderbilt Hall

8.02 Harvard Real Estate Services

8.03 Off-Campus Housing

8.04 Housing for Students with Disabilities

8.05 Housing for Married Students or Students with Children

8.06 Campus Dining

8.07 Crimson Cash

9. Student Health

9.01 General Information

9.02 Harvard University Health Services (HUHS)

9.03 Student Health Program

9.04 Work-Related HIV Benefit Plan

9.05 Center for Wellness and Health Communication

9.06 Reproductive Health

9.07 Standard Precautions

9.08 Disability Insurance

9.09 Precautions Against Communicable Diseases

9.10 Drug and Alcohol Abuse and Dependence

10. Services and Programs

10.01 Student Organizations

10.02 The Office of Communications and External Relations

10.03 Services for Students with Disabilities

10.04 Office for Research Subject Protection

10.05 The Ombuds Office

10.06 Harvard University Events and Information Center

10.07 Vanderbilt Hall Athletic Facility

10.08 Harvard International Office

10.09 Work/Life and Family Resources

10.10 Religious Activities

10.11 Security and Police

10.12 Transportation Services

10.13 Harvard Longwood Campus Map

10.14 Voter Registration

10.15 Veterans Benefits

10.16 Harvard University Title IX Coordinators

10.17 Harvard University Office Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (OSAPR)

10.18 Global Supported Services (GSS)



Last edited 5/19/16