Health Sciences & Technology

Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST)

The Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology (HST) is a unique collaboration that brings together Harvard Medical SchoolHarvard UniversityHarvard-affiliated teaching hospitals, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and local research centers to integrate science, medicine, and engineering to solve problems in human health. The HST mission is to educate outstanding minds and cultivate leaders who will explore fundamental principles underlying disease and develop preventative, diagnostic, and therapeutic innovations. This academic mission cannot be accomplished by either Harvard or MIT acting alone, but rather requires substantive contributions from both.

HST students learn to carry their engineering and scientific expertise from the laboratory bench to the patient's bedside and to bring clinical insights from the bedside to the bench. The hallmarks of HST's academic programs are: 

  • Academic excellence in traditional disciplines and interdisciplinary fields
  • Strong scientific, technical, and quantitative orientation
  • Structured, multidisciplinary educational experiences in clinical settings to produce graduates fluent in the language and culture of medicine
  • Interdisciplinary research opportunities that transcend institutional boundaries, encouraging students to work in laboratories and engage mentors at Harvard, MIT, and affiliated hospitals

Program of Study

In HST prior to their core clinical year, students engage in two preclinical years of coursework. Rigorous and quantitative, this approach incorporates fundamental features of molecular biology, biotechnology, engineering, and physical sciences into the teaching of human biology. The curriculum, research, and clinical experiences prepare students to excel as superbly trained, clinically and socially responsible physician-scientists. The program provides students with richly diversified educational and clinical opportunities specific to their interests, talents, and aspirations, preparing them for Steps 1 and 2 of the national boards. The relatively small class size facilitates productive interaction between students and faculty.

The courses in human pathophysiology, specially developed for this curriculum, represent the joint efforts of life scientists, physicians, physical scientists, and engineers selected from the faculties of both Harvard and MIT. Courses are presented at both universities and are organized in semester format to provide maximum scheduling flexibility and to interface easily with the academic schedules at MIT and Harvard University. The semester format enables MD students to take other classes throughout both universities and also permits HST PhD students to take some of the MD classes. This joining of MD and PhD students in the preclinical curriculum is another differentiating feature of the HST curriculum that enriches the MD student experience.

Principal Clinical Experience (PCE)

The PCE is a 12-month integrated program of study, and provides a clinical base for exposure to the broad disciplines of medicine and experiences essential to credentialing as a licensed physician. The PCE occurs primarily at a single hospital site and is comprised of clerkship rotations lasting 4-12 weeks and supplemented by a longitudinal multidisciplinary curriculum that incorporates primary care experiences, mentoring, multi-disciplinary clinical science case conferences, and developing physician sessions.

Anchoring Clinical Experience (ACE)

ACE is a two-month clerkship designed to ground the clinical skills learned in Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) for HST students doing a research project between their second and third years of medical school. Held at Mount Auburn Hospital, an academic community teaching hospital, the clerkship will be divided into one month of outpatient/ambulatory medicine split between a primary care site as well as subspecialty clinics, and one month of inpatient medicine on the hospital wards. In addition to attending the daily hospital based teaching conferences for Mount Auburn internal medicine residents, students will have a case-based didactic curriculum that will focus on core topics in internal medicine. Finally, students will be expected to complete a case presentation with a focus on applying primary basic science and clinical trials literature into a discussion of clinical reasoning and decision-making.

HST MD Research and Thesis Requirement

HST MD students are required to become actively involved in independent research under the direction of a faculty member. Such research may be conducted longitudinally throughout a student’s medical studies, if carefully planned. Students are also encouraged to slow the rate of progress through the formal curriculum and take an extra year in order to devote more time to research. As a requirement for graduation, every HST student must present evidence of original, scholarly and creative work in the form of a thesis based on laboratory research or clinical investigation. The thesis topic is to be chosen with the advice of a member of the Faculty, who agrees to act as the thesis supervisor.

Matthew Frosch: Helping students who are scientifically and experimentally minded

More Program Details:

HST Requirements - HST, PCE, Advanced Experiences, and Examination requirements
Student Funding - Funding for Fifth Year, Clinical Elective/Travel Abroad, Community Service, Fellowships

Please note that the curriculum is undergoing continuous review and improvement and is subject to change at any time.