Student Handbook

Office of the Registrar

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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


2. Academic Information and Policies


3. Academic Resources

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 HIPPA

4.19 Harvard University Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy


5. Combined Degree Programs


6. Financial Obligations

7. General Policies


8. Housing and Dining Services


9. Student Health


10. Services and Programs




Our Mission

To create and nurture a diverse community of the best people committed to leadership in alleviating human suffering caused by disease