5.04 MD-MBA Program (Harvard Business School)
Vision and Mission
In 2004, recognizing the critical need in today's world for leaders who are educated in the intellectual disciplines and practices of medicine and management, Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Harvard Business School (HBS) established a joint MD-MBA program to develop outstanding physician leaders, skilled in both medicine and management, to take positions of influence through which they will contribute substantially to the health and well-being of individuals and society. The Harvard MD-MBA Program, structured to be completed in five academic years, educates prospective leaders of organizations that deliver and finance health services as well as those who develop and market pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other health-related products.
Revisions to the structure of the MD-MBA program will be made during AY16 to reflect the Pathways curriculum at HMS and changes in the MBA curriculum at HBS for students entering HMS in 2015 and later. HMS students in the Pathways, New Pathway, and HST programs may apply to HBS only during their second year at HMS and only in the first of three rounds of HBS admissions. Updates to the MD-MBA program requirements will be posted as they are determined to this section of the HMS Student Handbook.
The five-year MD-MBA Program integrates the curricula of both HMS and HBS and is rigorously grounded in the concepts and practice of medicine and management. The program provides opportunities for students and faculty to merge these disciplines through new course work and scholarly pursuits.
Students in the MD-MBA Program spend the first three years at HMS, completing preclerkship requirements and the Principal Clinical Experience. Students who entered HMS in 2014 or earlier are also required to complete the Introduction to Health Care Management course (HC706) in the spring semester of Year I and a suitable four-eight-week management experience during the summer between Years I and II of the MD program to be eligible for the joint program.
In the fall of Year III, during the PCE, joint MD-MBA students who entered HMS in 2014 or earlier are enrolled in a required Medicine and Management course (IN601.0) on Tuesday afternoons. The Primary Care Clerkship (PCC) requirement will be completed as a longitudinal weekly course on Tuesday afternoons between January and June during the PCE year. If students are enrolled in electives in May and June following completion of the PCE, the course or clerkship directors will be notified of the requirement to attend the PCC on Tuesday afternoons. Because of the stringent attendance requirements of the core subinternships (Medicine II; Advanced Pediatrics), students in the joint degree program will not be eligible to enroll in the required Medicine II or Advanced Pediatrics subinternship in May or June. Due to the complicated logistics of the PCC, there is no flexibility in this arrangement or its timing.
The fourth year of the joint program is spent at HBS, completing the requirements of the first-year core business curriculum (Required Curriculum or RC year). Students in the fifth year of the five-year joint program take courses in the Elective Curriculum (EC) of the MBA Program and courses at HMS. At HBS, students may take elective courses in one or both terms, including:
- At least 18 credits overall;
- At least 15 classroom-based credits; and
- A three-credit HBS field study course that will complete HBS elective requirements and also facilitate completion of the HMS Scholars in Medicine project requirement.
Joint MD-MBA students typically spend one semester of Year V at HMS and one at HBS. Because interviewing for residency programs is most intensive in the fall and early winter, many MD-MBA students do the EC at HBS during the spring semester of Year V.
Although HST students are eligible to apply to the program, completing the basic research-intensive HST curriculum and its required research thesis along with the MBA curriculum and its required internship make it difficult to accomplish all of the requirements in five years. In addition, the goals of the HST program and of the MD-MBA Program are quite different. For the unusual student who is judged by the faculty to be a candidate for successfully completing these two programs, the sequence in which the courses are taken and how to resolve conflicts in requirements for the two programs will need to be determined in consultation with the MD-MBA Program leadership.
Students who are currently enrolled at HMS and are interested in pursuing both MD and MBA degrees are advised to contact the MD-MBA Program's leadership for guidance (Stan Finkelstein, MD,
Students currently enrolled in the HMS MD program (New Pathway, Pathways or HST) may apply to HBS only during their second year at HMS and only in the first of three rounds of HBS admissions. HMS students who entered HMS in 2014 or earlier will be considered for the joint MD-MBA Program only if they have completed the Introduction to Health Care Management course in the spring semester of Year I and the Summer Management Experience during the summer between Years I and II of the MD program. MD-MBA prerequisite requirements for students in the Pathways MD program are to be determined.
The HBS Admissions Office will decide independently about which HMS MD program applicants are interviewed and admitted to the HBS MBA program and will advise applicants whether they will be admitted to the MBA program. A committee of the HMS Program in Medical Education will then review the HMS record of each student admitted to the MBA program. After a thorough review of the HMS records, the committee will determine which students will be invited to join the five-year joint degree program. If the committee does not support a student for the joint degree program, he/she will have the opportunity to pursue the two-year MBA to which he/she has already been admitted.
Once a student has been admitted to and enrolled in the joint MD-MBA Program, the student must complete satisfactorily the requirements for both degrees in order to achieve graduation from Harvard with MD and MBA degrees in the same year. If a student withdraws from HBS due to academic performance issues, the student must be enrolled for a full four years of medical school at HMS to fulfill requirements for the MD degree. If a student withdraws from HMS and wants to continue with the MBA program, the student must petition HBS for enrollment in the two-year MBA program. In neither instance will the student be allowed to complete a single degree in the abbreviated time afforded to joint degree students.
All students who are admitted to the joint MD-MBA Program must complete all of the requirements of the first three years of the MD Program in good academic standing, including successful completion of USMLE Step 1 and of the HMS Year III comprehensive exam following the PCE, prior to entering the first year at HBS. Students who encounter academic difficulty in the MD program and are sanctioned by the HMS Promotion and Review Board are not eligible to apply to the combined MD-MBA Program, and students accepted into the combined program will not be eligible to enter the MBA component of the program if they fail to maintain good academic standing at the Medical School before matriculation at HBS in Year IV of the five-year program.
Students in the joint MD-MBA program are required, as are all HMS students, to complete the Scholars in Medicine (SIM) requirement. A requirement to be admitted to the MD-MBA program is the completion of a management-related experience during the summer following the first year at HMS for students who entered HMS in 2014 or earlier. Many of the entries in the SIM database of mentors and projects are management-related. In addition, a special section of the database offers a selection of summer experiences intended specifically for prospective applicants to the MD-MBA program. Students who have questions about whether a selection from the database is a fit for the MD-MBA program should check with the SIM course directors or Dr. Stan Finkelstein, HMS Director of the MD-MBA program, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuition and Financial Aid
In Years I, II, and III of the joint MD-MBA Program, a student will be registered at HMS pursuing core medical school requirements and will be charged the prevailing HMS tuition and fees. Students may apply to the HMS Financial Aid Office for financial aid in these years and will be subject to standard HMS financial aid policies. In Year IV, joint program students are registered at HBS, pursuing the MBA required curriculum and are charged the prevailing HBS tuition and fees. Students may apply to the HBS Financial Aid Office for financial aid in Year IV and will be subject to standard HBS financial aid policies. In Year V, when the student is enrolled in both HMS and HBS, the student's primary school of enrollment will be HMS, and the student will be billed the prevailing HMS full-year tuition and fees. Students in Year V of the joint program may apply to the HMS Financial Aid Office for financial aid. For more information, students are urged to speak with the financial aid offices at each school.
Students in the joint MD-MBA Program pay 8 semesters of tuition to HMS and 2 semesters of tuition to HBS, or a total of 5 years of tuition. However, HMS reimburses HBS for tuition for one semester of the fifth year, so in effect joint MD-MBA students pay 7 semesters of tuition to HMS and 3 semesters of tuition to HBS. Joint MD-MBA students who enroll in HMS (with approval of both HMS and the MD-MBA Program) beyond the five years of the joint program will be assessed HMS tuition for a 9th semester, or a total of 8 semesters of HMS tuition, and will be charged the standard HMS facilities fee for the 9th semester of HMS enrollment, as is the case for all MD students who extend their MD enrollment beyond four years (or 8 semesters). See section 6.02: Tuition Requirements for MD Candidates for more information.
Detailed MD Degree Requirements in the Five-Year Joint MD-MBA Program – New Pathway and HST Students
- All MD program core courses for either New Pathway or HST students
- HC706.0 Introduction to Healthcare Management - Spring Semester (Two weeks of HMS non-clinical elective credit is given for this course.)
Summer Year I
- “Summer Management Experience” approved by MD-MBA leadership
- All MD program core courses for either New Pathway or HST students
- USMLE Step 1 prior to entering the PCE in May
PCE (May, Year II – April, Year III)
- All Core Clerkship and PCE requirements for MD students
- IN601.0 – Medicine and Management* – Tuesday afternoons, Fall Semester (Two weeks of HMS non-clinical elective credit is given for this course.)
- Primary Care Clerkship: Because MD-MBA students are enrolled in the required Medicine and Management course (IN601.0) on Tuesday afternoons in the fall of Year III, the Primary Care Clerkship (PCC) requirement, which begins in September and ends in April for 4-year MD students, will be completed as a longitudinal weekly course on Tuesday afternoons between January and June during the PCE year. If MD-MBA students are enrolled in electives in May and June following completion of the PCE, the course or clerkship directors will be notified of the requirement to attend the PCC on Tuesday afternoons. Because of the stringent attendance requirements of the core subinternships (Medicine II; Advanced Pediatrics), students in the joint degree program will not be eligible to enroll in the required Medicine II or Advanced Pediatrics subinternship in May or June. Due to the complicated logistics of the PCC, there is no flexibility in this arrangement or its timing.
- MD-MBA students are encouraged to enroll in clinical or other electives in May and June following the PCE, the remaining two months of Year III of the MD program (see below for Year IV/IV graduation requirements).
Year IV/V Graduation Requirements – MD-MBA Joint Program Students
Upon completion of all PCE core clerkships, joint MD-MBA students are required to complete the following MD requirements:
- Required subinternship at HMS – either Medicine II (ME550) or Advanced Pediatrics (PD550)
4 weeks (note: sub-I is required and is in addition to the advanced experiences itemized below)
- Advanced Experiences: Total = 28 weeks
- HC706 (Year I) and IN601 (Year III) = 4 weeks
- Clinical Electives - 8 weeks must be completed at Harvard affiliated hospitals (refer to online course catalog for advanced clerkship offerings)
- Unspecified Electives – 16 weeks (4 months) - can include clinical electives, away electives, independent research, international experiences
- Step 2 CK (by December 31) and CS (by November 1)
- Comprehensive Exam (one half-day, scheduled by the Center for Evaluation during the last two weeks of June following PCE; passing is a graduation requirement. See academic calendar for dates (http://mycourses.med.harvard.edu/ResCourses/CampusWide/academic_schedules.htm). AY2016 dates)
- Completion of Scholars in Medicine requirement
Available periods for post-PCE enrollment for MD-MBA students:
- May and June following the PCE year
- Possibly July following PCE (Students may be eligible for HBS financial aid during this month, if enrolled in an MD elective or subinternship – check with HBS Financial Aid Office.)
- June, July August following MBA RC year
- Fall or Spring Semester of Year V at HMS: September, October, November, December OR January, February, March, April
- Total available months to complete 28 weeks or 7 months of requirements: 9-10 months
- Total months available for sub-I and electives before MSPE is distributed on October 1 of graduation year: 6-7 months
Full Time Status in HMS Year IV or final MD year
Beginning with the advanced electives (Year IV), full-time status requires a minimum of twelve-week equivalents (generally, this is three 4-week equivalent clerkships) per semester. See HMS Student Handbook Section 2.07 for more information about requirements for full-time status.
Leaves of Absence and Additional Academic Year Policy
Harvard medical students have historically been allowed the flexibility to spend a year during medical school to do research or other scholarly “enrichment” activities and then return to complete their formal medical education (see Section 1.05). MD-MBA joint degree students are enrolled in a five-year, integrated program leading to both an MD degree and an MBA degree. The joint degree program has been constructed to allow students to, in essence, “save a year” of study. Given the integrated nature of the MD-MBA joint degree program and the stated goal of the program for students to complete the joint degree in a single five-year span of time, extensions to this program are exceptional and are considered on a case-by-case basis. This policy delineates the circumstances under which joint degree students will be allowed to request a leave of absence or an additional scholarly enrichment year from the joint program.
For MD-MBA joint degree students, the policy of the joint degree program is to permit an enrichment/scholarship year only after the fourth year of the joint program. This policy allows the student to spend three years at HMS and one year at HBS, thus completing a significant portion of the joint/integrated curriculum prior to the scholarly enrichment year. Scholarly enrichment years will normally be for the period of July 1 to June 30. Additional enrichment/academic years must be completed prior to the final year of enrollment in the joint MD-MBA Program.
- Interruptions to the five-year curriculum are generally considered to be either voluntary leaves of absence (periods of time when the enrolled joint degree student is not enrolled in the program for a specified period of time for a specific reason), scholarly enrichment years, or involuntary leaves (when a joint degree student is no longer enrolled in the joint degree program because of academic, conduct, or other serious reasons). See Sections 2.09 and 4.05 for more details about voluntary and involuntary Leaves of Absence.
- MD-MBA joint degree students required to take an involuntary leave for any reason will not be allowed to continue in the joint degree program. Under such circumstances, students wishing to pursue a traditional two-year MBA degree are required to petition HBS to be granted entry into the single degree program. If the student is granted entry into the two-year MBA and remains enrolled in the MD program, the MBA must be completed after all requirements for the MD program have been fulfilled and the student has graduated from HMS.
- Voluntary leave or scholarly enrichment year requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students must be in good academic standing at both the Medical School and the Business School and meet all applicable requirements and policies of the joint degree program and the partner schools.
- Students are required to provide a detailed, written petition to the MD-MBA Program Directors requesting a one-year leave of absence or an enrichment year addressing the activity to be undertaken during the year and the student’s individual goals in taking the LOA or enrichment year.
- The deadline for submitting a petition is March 1st or the first business day after March 1st of the calendar year.
- Students requesting an “enrichment” or additional academic year of enrollment at HMS must submit a proposal to and gain the approval of the Scholars in Medicine (SIM) committee through the SIM fellow in their Academic Society.
- Joint MD-MBA students who enroll in HMS (with approval of both HMS and the MD-MBA Program) beyond the five years of the joint program will be assessed HMS tuition for a 9th semester, or a total of 8 semesters of HMS tuition, and will be charged the standard HMS facilities fee for the 9th semester of HMS enrollment, as is the case for all MD students who extend their MD enrollment beyond four years (or 8 semesters). See section 6.02: Tuition Requirements for MD Candidates for more information.
NB: For students receiving the MBA degree as well as the MD degree, five years are required if in the joint MD-MBA Program; six are required if a student is in the two-year MBA program. On a case by case basis, a student may petition for one or two additional years. The student pays tuition for four years (8 semesters) for the MD degree and additional tuition for the Master's degree taken at another school of the University. Ordinarily a student in this category will not be permitted to remain at HMS beyond seven years. See Section 2.08 (Policy on Length of Time to Complete the MD Degree) for more information.
Last updated on 7/30/15