1.03 Course and Examination Requirements for the MD Degree (Pathways and HST)

For more details, please refer to the HMS MD Academic Calendars and Sections 1.04: Student Assessment in the MD Program and 2.19: Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Preclerkship Requirements

 

Pathways and HST

In order to participate in clinical courses at the Harvard affiliated hospitals and clinics, all students must complete certified training sessions in Mask Fitting (annual), Basic Life Support (BLS; recertify every two years, see more below) HIPAA and OSHA requirements; have an annual TB test; and provide certification that required immunizations are up-to-date. Students may need to meet other hospital-specific requirements as well, such as mandatory flu vaccines. Students in the Pathways curriculum must meet these requirements prior to beginning the Practice of Medicine course. Students in the HST curriculum must complete these requirements prior to beginning the Introduction to Clinical Medicine course.

The following courses must be passed prior to progressing to the Principal Clinical Experience (PCE) and as requirements for the MD degree at Harvard Medical School. For questions about preclerkship curriculum course requirements, please contact the Registrar’s office (registrar_hms@hms.harvard.edu).  See also Section 2.19 Satisfactory Academic Progress

 

Pathways Curriculum (Cannon, Castle, Holmes, Peabody)

 

Preclerkship Course Requirements

PWY100 Professional Development Orientation (longitudinal, August)
IN555 Introduction to the Profession
POM100 Practice of Medicine (longitudinal September-July)
PWY100 Foundations of Medicine
PWY110 Immunity in Defense and Disease
PDW1 Professional Development Week 1
PWY120 Essentials of the Profession: Evidence, Ethics, Policy and Social Medicine
PWY130 Homeostasis I
PDW2 Professional Development Week 2
PWY131 Homeostasis II
PWY140 Mind, Brain and Behavior
PDW3 Professional Development Week 3
PWY150 Transition to the Principal Clinical Experience (PCE)
 

Health Sciences and Technology (HST) Curriculum (London Society)

 

Preclerkship Course Requirements

Year I

PWY100 Professional Development Orientation (longitudinal, August)
IN555 Introduction to the Profession
HT015 Matlab for Medicine
HT146 Biochemistry and Metabolism
HT190 Introduction to Biostatistics
HT010 Human Anatomy
HT030 Pathology
HT160 Genetics in Modern Medicine
HT162 Molecular Diagnostics and Bioinformatics
HT175 Immunology
HT020 Musculoskeletal Pathophysiology
HT164 Principles of Biomedical Imaging
PWY120 Essentials of the Profession: Evidence, Ethics, Policy and Social Medicine
HT060 Endocrinology
HT080 Hematology
HT090 Cardiovascular Pathophysiology
HT100 Respiratory Pathophysiology
HT110 Renal Pathophysiology
HT199 Research
HT220 Introduction to the Care of Patients
 

Year II

HT040 Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenesis
HT070 Human Reproductive Biology
HT120 Gastroenterology
HT130 Neuroscience
HT199 Research
HT194 Epidemiology
HT150 Principles of Pharmacology
IN710 Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM)
PS700M.J Psychopathology & Introduction to Clinical Psychiatry

Thesis required. Due by the first Monday in February of Year IV.

 

Principal Clinical Experience (PCE) Phase Requirements Pathways and HST

In order to participate in clinical courses at the Harvard affiliated hospitals and clinics, all students must complete certified training sessions in Mask Fitting (annual), Basic Life Support (BLS; recertify every two years), HIPAA and OSHA requirements; have an annual TB test; and provide certification that required immunizations are up-to-date. Students may need to meet other hospital-specific requirements as well, such as mandatory flu vaccines. Students in the Pathways curriculum must meet these requirements prior to beginning the Practice of Medicine course in the second week of August, Year I. Students in the HST curriculum must complete these requirements prior to beginning the Introduction to Clinical Medicine course in January of Year II.

Core Clerkships
Medicine I (12 weeks)
Surgery (12 weeks)
Obstetrics and Gynecology (6 weeks)
Pediatrics (6 weeks)
Neurology (4 weeks)
Psychiatry (4 weeks)
Radiology (4 weeks; longitudinal at BIDMC)
Primary Care Clerkship (longitudinal; varies by site)
Principal Clinical Experience (PCE) course (longitudinal)(including The Developing Physician II -tDP; longitudinal)
 
Students whose entry to the PCE is delayed should consult with their Society Advisory Dean or Advisor and the HMS Registrar regarding their PCE schedule and a plan for fulfilling their requirements for the MD degree.
 

For students who are unable to start their PCE clerkship rotations in October (Pathways) or April (HST), attendance at the longitudinal sessions is required beginning in October for Pathways and in April for HST and returning MD-PhD students (beginning with orientation to the PCE and including the multidisciplinary PCE course). It is anticipated that all students will satisfactorily complete the PCE core clerkships prior to entering the Post-PCE phase of the MD program (see Section 2.19: Satisfactory Academic Progress).

 

All core clerkships must be completed no later than November following the PCE. PCE core clerkships are the prerequisites to advanced electives; in the rare instance that a student is missing a core clerkship, the student will be required to complete the core clerkship prior to enrolling in the advanced elective (i.e., core psychiatry is a prerequisite to any of the advanced psychiatry electives).

 

Because the PCE is designed as a continuous, longitudinal block, every effort will be made by the faculty to help students complete the full 12 months of clerkships in sequence. Occasionally however, academic or personal issues may result in interruption of the PCE. In such cases, the following guidelines apply:

Students are required to complete the Primary Care Clerkship and all components of the PCE longitudinal curriculum. Arrangements for meeting these requirements will depend on the length and timing of the interruption and will be made in conjunction with the PCE director and the HMS Registrar.

 

  • If a student misses up to 3 months of the PCE, generally (and with the permission of the PCE Director), the student can re-enter the PCE with his/her class. The months of clerkships missed (but not the longitudinal curricular components of the PCE) will be made up at the end of the PCE, preferably at the original PCE site, if space is available. If the interruption occurs during a four-week or six-week clerkship, the entire clerkship must be repeated. If the interruption occurs during a 12-week clerkship, the student will re-enter at the beginning of a 4-week block of the 12-week clerkship, depending on when the interruption occurred. For example, if the interruption occurs during the second 4-week block, the student would re-enter at the beginning of the second 4-week block.
  • If a student misses 4-5 months of the PCE, a committee of PCE leadership will consider the optimal approach for the student to fulfill core clerkship and PCE requirements and will design an alternative schedule that ensures fulfillment of the educational requirements for the MD degree. The guidelines for up to 3 months will apply.
  • If a student misses more than 5 months of the PCE, re-entry is not an option, and the student will be required to restart the longitudinal components of the PCE during the next class cycle. Clerkships that were completed before the interruption need not be repeated unless there is an academic reason to do so. The guidelines for up to 3 months will apply in such cases as well.

 

Post-PCE Phase Requirements

 

Pathways and HST

  • Medicine II or Advanced Pediatrics - (subinternship, 4 weeks): Students must complete the subinternship by August of Year IV or the graduation year. Beginning with the class graduating in 2021, only Medicine II will fulfill the subinternship requirement. 
  • Clinical Electives - (12 weeks; must be completed at an HMS clinical affiliate)
  • Scholarly Project - Pathways - (Minimum of 2 months)
  • Advanced Integrated Science Courses (AISCs) – Pathways* - 2 months (at least 1 must be taken in Year III) – offered January, February, March, April
  • Essentials of the Profession II – Pathways - 1 month (October or March of Year III or Year IV)
  • Clinical Capstone - 1 month in January, February, March or April of Year IV or graduation year

See Section 2.03, for information about requirements and timing for Departmental Summative Assessments (DSAs) for residency application.

 

During the Post-PCE phase, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, which requires a minimum of twelve-week equivalents (generally, this is three 4-week equivalent clerkships) per semester. See Section 2.07 for more information about requirements for full-time status.

*HST students and Pathways MD-PhD students are not required to complete AISCs.

NOTE: Students are limited to no more than two clinical electives representing the same course in the same medical/surgical discipline. Students who choose to take more than two will not receive additional academic credit to meet clinical elective requirements.

 

Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification Requirement

 

Basic Life Support (BLS) training and certification is required for all MD students participating in patient care. Students must be BLS-certified prior to starting the Practice of Medicine course (for Pathways) and Introduction to Clinical Medicine course (for HST). Students must recertify in BLS every two years as long as they are participating in clinical courses such as clerkships, electives, sub-internships and the Clinical Capstone. Students are responsible for keeping their certification current and should anticipate when recertification is due in order to complete their requirement prior to beginning clinical work. The PME provides initial training and recertification opportunities for students on campus at only three different points during the year:

  • Early August—initial certification for Pathways students beginning Practice of Medicine
  • Late September—recertification for students who have completed the PCE
  • Mid-December—initial/recertification for HST students and students entering the PCE in April
School-sponsored training dates are published on the academic calendar. Returning or off-cycle students who are due for recertification may contact the Office of Curriculum Services to register for an upcoming BLS offering. If students are unable or elect not to participate in a school-sponsored training session, they must enroll in a course at their own expense at an American Heart Association training center and provide documentation to the Registrar’s Office upon completion. Reimbursement will not be provided to students for off-site training and certification.

 

Examination Requirements for Graduation

 
The following examinations must be passed to receive the MD degree:
  • HMS Comprehensive Examination - (OSCE) [June/July following the PCE]
  • United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE)**
 
**Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), and Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS)
**USMLE examinations are scheduled by, and are entirely the responsibility of, the individual student.

 

USMLE Step 1

Students are required to pass Step 1 in order to graduate. Students in Pathways and HST take USMLE Step 1 following completion of the PCE – no later than December 31 of Year III for Pathways students, and no later than April 30 of Year III for HST students. Pathways students must have individual meetings with their Society advisors to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various scheduling options and are strongly encouraged to schedule one credit-bearing month during the three-month post-PCE period (i.e., a clinical elective, a core subinternship, Essentials II, research for the scholarly project requirement, or a non-clinical elective) during the quarter following the PCE. Students entering a PhD program after 9 months of the PCE (Pathways) or after 3 months of the PCE (HST) are required to take Step 1 prior to beginning the PhD.

 

USMLE Step 2 – Clinical Knowledge (CK) and Clinical Skills (CS)

Students are required to pass both parts of Step 2 – CK and CS – in order to graduate. Because of limitations in the availability of test slots and the extended reporting timeline for Step 2 test results, students are required to complete Step 2 CS by late October/early November (see USMLE Step 2 Scheduling Report for calendar) and Step 2 CK by December 31 of their final year.

Test scores must be reported to the HMS Registrar in order to receive the MD degree. If a student’s passing scores are not reported to the HMS Registrar before the last date of attendance in the graduating year as published on the academic calendar, that student will not receive the MD degree at graduation. Because failure to receive an MD degree will have an impact on a student’s ability to start postgraduate training, the Academic Societies require students to confirm their test schedules as they prepare the MSPE (Medical Student Performance Evaluation, or Dean’s Letter). More information about resources available to help with study strategies, exam taking, etc., can be found on the Office of Learning Resources and Support website and on the Office of Disability Services website. 

Students should be aware that some residency programs may require that students have passing scores available for all parts of USMLE, including Step 2CS, by the rank order deadline for the residency match (late February) in order to be considered for ranking by the program. Therefore, HMS requires students to take Step 2CS by late October/early November to ensure the results will be posted prior to rank. Students should check directly with the residency programs for specific requirements. For the USMLE CS Reporting Schedule, please refer to www.usmle.org/Examinations.

 

For more information about Assessment and Evaluation requirements, please refer to Sections 1.04 and 2.03.
 
For more information about Post-PCE requirements, advice about planning Post-PCE schedules, including sample schedules, and FAQs, please click HERE.

 

Last updated 5/23/2019