Selection Factors

Admission to Harvard Medical School is very selective. We seek students of integrity and maturity who have concern for others, leadership potential, and an aptitude for working with people.

The Committee on Admissions evaluates applications based on several factors, including the following:

  • Academic records
  • Applicant essay(s)
  • MCAT scores
  • Letters of evaluation
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Summer occupations
  • Life experiences
  • Experience in the health field, including research or community work

The education of a physician is enhanced by the diversity of the student body.

The Committee on Admissions takes a holistic approach to application review.

We do not pre-screen applications. All applicants who submit an AMCAS application and designate Harvard Medical School will receive our secondary application.

Harvard Medical School does not have a rolling admissions policy. The timing of the submission or completion of an application will not affect the applicants chances of receiving an interview invitation. As long as all application materials are received prior to our final deadline, applicants will receive full consideration. Please see When to Apply for more information.

No preference is given to applicants who have majored in science over those who have majored in other disciplines. Students can be successful in their medical studies regardless of undergraduate concentration, providing they have had adequate science preparation. Students are urged to strive not for specialized training but for a balanced, liberal education.
Harvard Medical School is looking for applicants with broad interests and talents regardless of their undergraduate institution. Ivy League applicants do not have an admissions advantage. Students should attend an undergraduate college that will challenge them both academically and personally.
Accepted applicants must successfully complete all courses and programs in progress as indicated at the time of application, including course requirements for admission, at a standard comparable in quality with past academic performance. The majority of successful applicants will have completed most of the required courses prior to application.

HMS complies with Federal and State Law prohibiting discrimination against any applicant or enrolled student on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual preference, age, or handicap.

HMS complies with Federal and State Law prohibiting discrimination against any applicant or enrolled student on the basis of being differently abled. Applicants with disabilities will be evaluated on a case by case basis in accordance with technical standard guidelines as suggested by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

All students must possess the physical and emotional capabilities required to independently undertake the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the faculty. You may wish to review our technical standards in detail.

International Students

HMS welcomes applications from international students who have studied for at least one year at an accredited institution in the United States or Canada, and have completed the course requirements. Fluency in English is expected; however, the TOEFL is not required.

While we do accept applications from students with international educational backgrounds, candidates with degrees from accredited institutions in the US and Canada are strongly preferred. Students are required to complete at least three years of college work and a baccalaureate degree prior to matriculation.

A limited number of required courses taken outside the US or Canada may be used to fulfill requirements, determined on a case-by-case basis. Every effort should be made to take the majority of required courses at an accredited college or university in the US or Canada. In any case, at least one year of full-time academic work in the US or Canada is required.

International Students are eligible to apply for need-based financial institutional scholarships and loans. Please see Financial Aid for more information.

In many countries, students enter medical school directly from advanced secondary school, but to apply to Harvard Medical School you must first complete a bachelor’s degree. If you are currently enrolled in any medical school or were enrolled previously, you are ineligible to apply to Harvard Medical School. We also do not accept students who wish to transfer from another medical school. There are no exceptions to these policies.

For more information on Harvard University's worldwide presence, please visit Harvard Worldwide

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Status

Applicants with DACA status are considered for admission on the same standing as all other candidates. If admitted, DACA-eligible students are eligible for HMS institutional financial aid. Students are responsible for obtaining and maintaining DACA status. Please see Financial Aid and Undocumented at Harvard website for more information.

Non-Traditional Students

HMS welcomes applications from non-traditional students, such as those who have an established career, have a partner, spouse, or family, or have been out of school for two years or longer.

Students with Differing Abilities 

HMS offers on-campus housing for students with physical disabilities, learning resources for students with mental disabilities, and a disability coordinator to help with required accommodations. Please see Technical Standards for more information.