In order to provide valuable preparation for the study and practice of medicine, HMS recommends that candidates participate in courses, extracurricular experiences, and activities that prepare them to: 

  • understand human behavior
  • appreciate societal structure and function
  • achieve cultural awareness

In addition, courses in the following areas are also encouraged:

  • literature
  • languages
  • the arts
  • humanities
  • social sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, anthropology, and ethics)

The premedical curriculum should foster scholastic rigor, analytical thinking, quantitative assessment, and analyses of complex systems in human biology. The HMS Committee on Admissions considers preparation in the scientific method and scientific rigor to be more important than the mastery of specific content in the premedical sciences.

We adhere to the important principle that the college years should not be designed primarily to prepare students for professional school, but instead should be devoted to creative engagement in a broad, intellectually expansive liberal arts education.

You can read more about these principles in  in J.L. Dienstag’s “Relevance and Rigor in Premedical Education (PDF),” published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

  • Familiarity with computers is necessary.
  • Honors courses and independent study or research are encouraged, as they permit students to explore a particular area of knowledge in depth and provide a scholarly experience that will facilitate a lifelong habit of self-education. 
  • Mastery of a foreign language, although not required, is a valuable skill that expands intellectual and cultural horizons and that reinforces preparation for patient care in a multicultural society.