5.00 Enrollment in Additional Degree Programs during Medical School

Medical Education

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5.00 Enrollment in Additional Degree Programs during Medical School

Harvard medical students interested in pursuing a master’s degree at either a Harvard school or a program at another university in conjunction with the MD degree are eligible to enroll in a master’s program after successfully completing the first three years of medical school. The preclerkship and PCE years of the MD curriculum progress developmentally from normal systems and pathophysiology to clinical medicine in an uninterrupted temporal sequence in which each phase follows from, builds upon, and reinforces the preceding one. Interrupting the MD curriculum after the New Pathway, Pathways or HST preclerkship curriculum to pursue a master’s degree disrupts this sequence. Furthermore, most Master’s degree programs prefer or require that medical students complete three years of medical school before enrolling in the master’s curriculum. Lastly, entering a master’s program prior to the completion of the Principal Clinical Experience (PCE) creates logistical and scheduling problems for both the MD and Master’s programs due to misalignment of the MD and master’s degree academic calendars. Completing the PCE prior to entering a master’s program also allows students to take the Comprehensive OSCE following the PCE and to enroll in clinical electives and/or a subinternship in May or June (New Pathway and HST students) or in Year III (Pathways students). However, priority for core subinternship slots will be given to students who are planning to graduate the following May.

Students pursuing a master’s degree following the PCE are eligible for HMS financial aid through June of the third year of the MD program; financial aid during the master’s degree year is administered by the school providing the master’s degree. Ordinarily, financial aid during the master’s degree year is not available until the student is enrolled in that program (typically beginning in September).

NB: One-year master’s degrees must be completed prior to the final graduating year at HMS. Students in the MD-MBA program must begin the MBA at HBS between the third and fourth years of the MD program and complete both degrees in the fifth year of the combined program.


Last updated on 7/30/15