Career Advising


Modeled after the AAMC Careers in Medicine Program, Harvard Medical School (HMS) has a longitudinal, phase-based career advising plan. Students are encouraged to begin their career assessment through the AAMC Careers in Medicine online program. Students need a log-in ID number to participate, which will be given at the beginning of their first academic year.

Coinciding with all of these opportunities is an advising relationship developed with the Society Advisors throughout students’ tenure at HMS and with the PCE and Post-PCE specialty advisors during the clinical portion of the curriculum. 

  • An MD student conversing with a faculty member within Brigham and Women's Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Image: Gretchen Ertl
  • Dr. Anita Vanka is seen mentoring two students by using the arm of one student to demonstrate the concept she is explaining. Photo: Grace Fehrenbach
  • A faculty member engaging with a student during a mock interview event. Photo: Lipofsky

HMS Careers in Medicine Program

Understanding Yourself

Self-exploration is essential to a satisfying specialty choice. During the HMS Preclerkship (Pre-PCE) phase, students establish connections with mentors and advisors, as well as explore specialty interests via:

Students can utilize the AAMC Careers in Medicine Program for detailed resources on self-exploration and exploring career options. (AAMC Careers in Medicine log-in required)

Exploring Options

Knowing about all career options that exist ensures well-informed decisions. During the PCE (Principal Clinical Experience) Phase, students begin planning for the Post-PCE Phase by meeting with their PCE and Society Advisors and have opportunities to explore within specialties through specialty-specific resources, residency panels and boards review sessions. 

Students can continue to utilize the AAMC Careers in Medicine Program for detailed resources on self-exploration and exploring career options. (AAMC Careers in Medicine log-in required)

Choosing a specialty and road to residency

Making a career choice that makes you happy is harder than you think. During the Post-PCE phase of the curriculum, students make their specialty selection and identify a Specialty Advisor. Students continue meeting with Society Advisors and begin preparation for the Road to Residency

Specialty-Specific Resources are individual HMS-created pages that contain ways for students to connect to Specialty Liaisons, Student Interest Groups and National Organizations, as well as explore and prepare for the residency application process. 

Students can utilize the AAMC Careers in Medicine Program for detailed resources on choosing a specialty and preparing for residency. (AAMC Careers in Medicine log-in required)

Upcoming Career Advising Sessions

Use the button below to view specific events listed in the program calendar. (HarvardKey log-in required)

Career Advising Program Calendar

Alternative Medical Careers

Information is also provided for exploring other options for medical careers and opportunities to pursue combined degrees. 

General Advising

Spanning all years, faculty and staff support HMS students through mentorship and enrichment opportunities in both individual and group settings.

Every student attends formal one-on-one advisory sessions during each phase of the curriculum (Preclerkship, PCE and Post-PCE) for a combination of academic, career and life advising. In addition to the formal, required advising sessions, students are encouraged to schedule informal advising sessions as well.

Students take advantage of the resources available to them throughout their training at HMS to help them shape their individual medical career experience.


Dean for Students

The Dean for Students works with students across all years and all Societies to explore ways to enhance or address aspects of the entire student experience, from education to student life to career planning, and works with students to develop innovative solutions to issues and concerns. The Office of Student Affairs features a career advising nook with Match resources, HMS-specific Match data, post-Match surveys, advisor list and specialty-specific resources.

Society Advisor

All students are assigned to an Academic Society and a society-specific primary advisor who acts as a “Primary Care Physician” of the advising team. The society advisor serves as a liaison to curricular, extra-curricular, research, career and specialty advisors throughout a student's journey at Harvard Medical School. Advisors help with finding a mentor and shadowing experiences, specialty choices, and the residency application process: MSPE (Medical Student Performance Evaluation) guidance, obtaining Letters of Recommendation, reviewing Personal Statements, filling out application sections and preparing for interviews.

Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs (ORMA)

ORMA focuses on the recruitment and support of medical students who are from groups underrepresented in medicine (URiM), including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ); first-generation college students; and students who are economically disadvantaged. ORMA fosters an inclusive and respectful environment that is supportive of all students, faculty and staff.

AAMC Careers in Medicine Program

Students can utilize the AAMC Careers in Medicine Program for detailed resources on self-explorationexploring career options, choosing a specialty and preparing for residency. (AAMC Careers in Medicine Log-in Required)

Residency Application Advisor

Toward the beginning of a student's graduation year, a faculty member in the specialty of interest will be selected to serve as the Residency Application Advisor. This advisor provides “specialty care” in the match process by supporting students throughout the Residency Application Process.

Example topics:
  • Developing personal criteria to identify residency programs
  • Selecting writers of letters of recommendation
  • Working out an strategy for interviews and post-interview protocols
  • Reviewing rank lists

Residency Application Advisors List

(HarvardKey log-in required)

Specialty Mentors

Every year graduates list specialty mentors and advisors within their HMS Post-Match Survey responses. These can be found under each specialty category in the report. This report is not comprehensive and students can reach out to other advisors to help them identify additional specialty mentors. (HarvardKey log-in required)

Alumni Advisors

HMS has formed a network of 400 alumni from throughout the US and some international locations representing a spectrum of medical specialties. They might be available for an email exchange, a phone call, a visit or shadowing at their workplace. Students may reach out to alumni at any time during their medical school career. Prior to the residency application process, students may check in with these alumni before interviews for specific details about particular hospitals, programs and careers.

To connect with Alumni Advisors, contact the Alumni Liaison (HavardKey log-in required) and send her a short description of your inquiry and/or interests. She will find someone to help you.