2.22 Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) is one component of a student’s application to residency programs. The MSPE is an objective letter of evaluation that summarizes a student’s academic record at HMS in a narrative format. The national distribution date of the MSPE to residency programs is October 1. 

In early spring of the penultimate year of medical school, information about production of the letters, including the role of the graduating student in providing biographical and other information to be included in the letter, is sent to all students who anticipate graduating the following year.  In late spring and throughout the summer, each student applying to residency programs meets individually with an assigned member of the faculty who has not served as advisor to the student during medical school. Student may request a switch to other faculty from the designated letter-writer with no explanation required. Students going into early matching fields should schedule their meetings in May or early June, with all meetings complete by August 1st. Students are urged to schedule the meeting with one of the MSPE letter writers as early as possible – there is no benefit to waiting. It is not necessary to have finalized a specialty choice to get this process started. The content and format of the MSPE is prescribed by the AAMC. It is a fairly formulaic, chronological summary of the student's activities and performance in medical school up to the point that it is uploaded into ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service).

Oversight of the HMS MSPE process is the responsibility of the Dean for Students, who will co-sign the MSPE letters for all students. The Office of Student Affairs ensures that all letters written by the faculty letter-writers, with the input of the individual student, are accurate and consistent across the School and submitted on time to ERAS.  Society Advisors are available to help students throughout the residency application and match process to provide advice about all aspects of these processes and to help students network with faculty in any field and at any hospital who might be helpful. Staff in the Office of Student Affairs and the Academic Societies are available to discuss the residency application and MSPE process and to answer questions.

Students have an opportunity to review their MSPE before it is sent, following AAMC policy:

Student review: The MSPE, as an institutional assessment, should be considered a component of the student’s academic record and, thus, be available for a student’s review. The student should be permitted to correct factual errors in the MSPE, but not to revise evaluative statements in the MSPE. 

Please Note: HMS does not rank students in any way in the MSPE. Some schools use formal rankings or “code words” such as “excellent” or “outstanding” in the final sentence of the MSPE to rank students into groups. No such words are used in the closing of HMS letters, to avoid misinterpretation. We also do not specify which specialty students are applying to in the MSPE, making the letter universally applicable for those students applying for different preliminary years, applying in more than one field, etc.

We are required to mention Academic Probation and leaves of absence in the MSPE, but, in complying with these requirements, we do everything possible to protect students’ privacy. 

Last updated 8/6/18