Academic Societies

Welcome to the Academic Societies at Harvard Medical School

  • Cannon Society

    Cannon Society

    Students participate in orientation at the beginning of their first year and in Society Olympics at the end of the year.

  • Castle Society

    Castle Society

  • Holmes Society

    Holmes Society

    Namesake Oliver Wendell Holmes wears a scarf on a particularly brisk day on campus.

  • London Society

    London Society

  • Peabody Society

    Peabody Society

    The Peabody Class of 2020 gather for a quick photo with society faculty and staff.


Established to support Harvard Medical School’s 230-year tradition of enhancing the interaction between students and faculty, the Academic Societies provide a community-based approach to medical education and an organizational framework to help students take full advantage of the plethora of opportunities available at HMS. Comprised of senior faculty members, students from all class years, and a program coordinator in each, the Societies encourage scholarship, personal growth, and collegiality through a system of academic advising and a series of enrichment programs. In addition, the Societies facilitate small-group learning and peer evaluation to help students develop a team-based investigative approach to the practice of medicine.

All Harvard medical and dental students are assigned to one of the five Academic Societies in their first year. Medical students remain a member of their society throughout their tenure at HMS. Each Society serves just over 40 first-year students (HMS/HSDS) and approximately 35 students in each of the successive years (HMS only). 

The Academic Societies serve the HMS mission to create and nurture a community of the best people committed to leadership in alleviating human suffering caused by disease.