Applying to the HMS Exchange Clerkship Program

Due to the implementation of a new curriculum at Harvard Medical School, opportunities for visiting medical students will be limited starting August 2018.

Applicants are advised to read the detailed information provided before applying to the HMS Exchange Clerkship Program. Failure to comply with application instructions may result in not being scheduled and incomplete applications will not be processed.

HMS does not offer research opportunities and/or observerships for visiting students.

It is important to note that students remain registered at their home school while participating in visiting clerkships at HMS. Visiting students are not officially enrolled as students at Harvard University.

Due to the variable nature of clerkship offerings, HMS reserves the right to change clerkship assignments as necessary at any time. Information and eligibility criteria for the HMS Exchange Program are subject to change. All materials submitted become the property of the HMS Office of the Registrar.

Application Instructions

In order to apply to the HMS Exchange Clerkship Program, all applicants must complete in full a two-part application which includes an online application form and submitting required documentation to the Office of the Registrar. To ensure fairness to all eligible applicants, applications are reviewed only after the submission deadline.

Not First Come, First Served

Scheduling is assigned randomly based upon the demand and availability of clerkships. Applications are not processed based on date of submission so there is no benefit to early submission. Deadlines for each clerkship are listed on the calendar (Calendars for later academic years may be found on the bottom of this webpage).

Applicants can select from clerkships listed in the "Elective Courses" section of our online catalog. HMS students have priority for all advanced electives. Please read the course descriptions for detailed information - some electives are not offered year-round and some have restricted enrollment and may not be open to visiting students.

Applicants are advised to read the detailed information provided before applying to the HMS Visiting Exchange Clerkship Program. Failure to comply with application instructions may result in not being scheduled and incomplete applications will not be processed.

Part One: Online Application Form

Once you have determined that you are eligible to apply to the Exchange Clerkship Program, the first step in the process is to complete the online application form, where you will be able to select up to three rotation month blocks and specify up to 15 course selection choices.

IMPORTANT: You will not be able to make changes to either the month or courses selected once you have submitted your application. Choose carefully.

Online Application Form

Part Two: Required Documentation

All materials should be compiled in one packet and mailed to the Office of the Registrar. HMS does not accept faxed or emailed copies of application materials. Applications will not be processed unless all required documentation is submitted by the deadline. Application fees will not be refunded for incomplete applications.

Required Documentation Checklist and Forms

Completed documentation includes the following:

1. HMS Exchange Clerk Program Checklist

2. Dean or Registrar Verification form – To be completed by either your Dean’s Office or Registrar’s Office, NOT by students.

3. Official Letter of Support – Request a letter of support from your medical school indicating the month and year of your anticipated graduation, that you are approved to participate in an elective at HMS, and that you will have completed satisfactorily the core clinical clerkship requirements of the home school. Your letter of support should specify the core clinical requirements you will have completed. Letters should be original and printed on your school letterhead. HMS does not accept photocopies.

4. Official Transcripts – Transcripts should be original and printed on either official transcript paper or school letterhead. HMS does not accept unofficial copies, web printouts (even with school stamp), or photocopies. The transcript should include all the courses/clerkships taken in medical school, including transferred courses, and the grades awarded. International transcripts are required to be translated into English.

5. HMS Exchange Clerk Certificate of Immunization – Please see instructions for immunization compliance before completing this form.

6. Lab Reports – Photocopy of lab results confirming immunization compliance. These should be printed results from a recognized pathology lab or hospital. HMS does not accept handwritten confirmation.

7. Personal health coverage – This can be noted in the letter of support if provided by your medical school. Photocopy of insurance card is also acceptable. You may provide this documentation once you are placed in a clerkship.

8. Professional liability and malpractice coverage from your home school – This can be indicated in the letter of support or with a photocopy of the policy summary stating coverage dates. If professional liability and malpractice coverage is not provided by your school, you will be required to purchase a policy on your own. Malpractice insurance is required for ALL students applying through the Exchange Clerkship Program. You may provide this documentation once you are placed in a clerkship. HMS requires a policy with a minimum coverage of $1 million per incident and $3 million aggregate.

9. CORI Request Form – Massachusetts law requires a CORI check for anyone in a health care facility who has contact with patients or access to confidential patient records. Please complete and sign the form and HMS will submit for background check.

10. Medical English proficiency – All international students, regardless of language of instruction, must call HMS for a telephone interview. In addition, all international students whose language of instruction is not English must provide a TOEFL score. Students whose English language skills are not proficient during the interview may also be required to submit a TOEFL score. HMS requires a minimum TOEFL score of 100.

11. Application Fee – The application fee is a non-refundable processing fee of $115.00 USD for each month selected. The online application calculates total fees due.

Please make check payable to Harvard University. The application fee may be paid in one of two ways ONLY:

1. US check in US dollars drawn on a bank on US soil. If you do not have a US bank account, a family member or friend living in the US can issue the check on your behalf. In this case, send your documentation to the person providing the payment, have them attach the check, and send everything together as one packet as is required.

2. American Express Traveler’s Checks, which must be signed before submitting.

HMS does not accept wire transfers, note checks, bank drafts, or credit cards payments for the application fee. DO NOT send cash in the mail.


Online applications and supporting documentation cannot be submitted any earlier than SIX MONTHS prior to the start of the clerkship.

Please submit all materials in one packet to: Exchange Clerk Program Harvard Medical School, 25 Shattuck Street, Gordon Hall 213, Boston, MA 02115.

USA TIP: HMS suggests that you send your application packet using a trusted postal mail or other shipping tracking service.


Clerkship Rotation Dates, Application Deadlines & Tuition Fees

2018-2019 Calendar

2019-2020 Calendar