Student Handbook


HMS first year medical students reciting their oath during their White Coat Ceremony. Image: Gretchen Ertl


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 the School. 

The Handbook includes descriptions of the curriculum and requirements for the MD degree in the Pathways, 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 many questions students 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 Program in Medical Education at

White Coat Day