Harvard Medical School: Courses, Requirements, Admission, and Acceptance Rate 2021

Harvard Medical School is the best medical school in the World and ranked #1 in the year 2020 among other medical schools. In this article, we discuss the following details of Harvard Medical School.
  • The courses offering at Harvard Medical School
  • Harvard Medical School Requirements
  • The acceptance rate of Harvard Medical School
  • Harvard Medical School admission strategy for the year 2021
Harvard Medical School

Harvard Medical School(HMS) is Harvard University's graduate medical school and is based in the Longwood Medical Area in Boston. The HMS is established in 1782. It is one of the oldest medical schools in the U.S. and consistently ranks among the Top medical colleges in the World. Some facts about Harvard Medical School is summarized in the table below:



Total faculty


Nobel Prizes

10 prizes, 16 recipients

Total MD students


Total Ph.D. students


Total master's students


Total DMSc students








Average scholarship

$ 54,129

Tuition fees

$ 70,218

The facts such as the high faculty-to-student ratio and the presence of Nobel Prize winners among the faculties reveals the quality of education provided at Harvard Medical School. The research activities at HMS contributed key innovations to our society.

Harvard Medical School plays a vital role in the successful medical treatment methods that we use today. A few of the research innovations and contributions to the medical field by HMS are the following.

  • Smallpox vaccination

  • Introduced the usage of anesthesia in surgery

  • Insulin to treat diabetes

  • Paving the way for Polio vaccine development

  • Chemotherapy for childhood leukemia

  • Invented the implantable cardiac pacemaker

  • Developed artificial skin for burn victims.

  • First successful heart valve surgery

  • First successful human kidney transplant 

Courses at Harvard Medical School

The various medical courses at HMS are:
  1. MD Program
  2. Master Degree Program
  3. Dual Degree Program
  4. Ph.D. Program

MD Program

Harvard Medical School has undergone numerous curricular revisions to its MD Program. HMS has maintained a three-phase program with a pre-clerkship period focused in the classroom, a principal clinical experience (PCE), and a post-PCE phase. The applicants choose between two curriculum tracks - Pathways and HST.

The Pathways MD program combines educational strategies that promote independent learning and critical thinking, earlier clinical training, advanced clinical and basic / population science experiences, and a research project that helps each student to prepare an individual pathway to the MD degree—135 students are accepted into Pathways each year.

The HST program prepares you for a future in interdisciplinary study in academic medicine and clinical treatment. You will concentrate on the biological, natural, physical, and engineering sciences through a comprehensive and quantitative curriculum and work with the faculty of Harvard and MIT. Every year 30 students are admitted to HST.

Master's Degree Program

Harvard Medical School offers doctors, researchers, and other healthcare providers a wide range of postgraduate medical education. There are two types of Master's degree programs offered by Harvard Medical School: a Master of Academic Discipline and a Master of Medical Science. 

The various options in choosing a Master's Degree Program are shown in the following image.
Master's Degree Program in Harvard Medical School

Dual Degree Program

The dual degree program trains students to become leading doctor-scientists. Students are permitted to choose dual-degree programs only after getting admission to an M.D. program. The dual-degree programs available at Harvard Medical School are the following.
  • MD/Ph.D.
  • MD/MPH
  • MD/MBA
  • MD/MBE
  • MD/MMSc
  • MD/MPP
  • MD/MBI
Every year 40 students are admitted to the MD-PhD dual degree program at Harvard Medical School.

Ph.D. Program

HMS provides nine Ph.D. programs. The graph given below represents the Ph.D. courses in HMS.

Ph.D. programs in Harvard Medical School

Harvard Medical School Requirements

The admission committee at Harvard Medical School evaluates applications based on several factors such as the following.
  1. Prerequisite courses
  2. Applicant essay
  3. MCAT score
  4. Letters of evaluation
  5. Extracurricular activities
  6. Experience in the health field, including research or community work.
Harvard Medical School Requirements
There are certain eligibility restrictions that are listed by HMS such as a number of cycles a candidate can apply at HMS and criteria related to the transfer of a student from another medical college. Make sure that you meet the eligibility before applying.

Harvard Medical School Acceptance Rate

The acceptance rate of Harvard Medical School is very low. Out of 6815 applicants, only 948 are selected for interviews. That is, 13.91%. From this, only 227 are admitted to HMS. That is, 3.3%.

The acceptance in HMS is based on several criteria. An average GPA of 3.9 is preferred. The mean MCAT score of 520 and an average science GPA of 3.81 are the common scores of candidates who get admission at Harvard Medical School.

Admission at Harvard Medical School

The admission at HMS is based on several factors. All applicants are required to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Application to HMS is made through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS)

The admission committee of HMS evaluates applications based on a variety of criteria that range from students' academic records and MCAT scores to their extracurricular activities, research, and community service experiences in the field of healthcare.

The overall process of admission along with the important dates is listed below:
Harvard Medical School Admission Timeline
Summary: This article discussed various aspects of admission at Harvard Medical School. We explained the mainstream medical courses in HMS, the key requirements to get admission, the acceptance rate of HMS, and the admission procedure. The four medical courses in HMS are MD, Master's Degree, Dual-Degree, and Ph.D. The six key requirements to get in HMS are coursework, extracurricular activities, research, community service, applicant essay, and letters of evaluation. The acceptance rate of HMS is about 3.3%. The admission process at HMS spans almost a year that starts from the July month of the year the candidate applying till the August month of next year. Even though the admission at Harvard Medical School is a tough task, candidates with a strong determination can easily make this happen.
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  1. If I completed my high school from India, how do I continue and apply for Harvard Medical School.

    1. Hi Sofia,

      Thanks for reading this article.

      You would need to complete your undergraduate degree, including all the prerequisites for medical school, as well as engage in meaningful extracurricular activities.

      If you complete your degree outside the United States or Canada, you will need to complete one year of undergraduate studies at the American or Canadian universities.


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