Master's Student Handbook

Masters Student Handbook

At times, a mid-year review of academic, financial, or other considerations may lead to changes in policies, rules, and regulations. Harvard Medical School therefore reserves the right at any time to make changes to the Student Handbook that may affect such matters as tuition and other fees, degrees and programs offered (including the modification or possible elimination of degrees and programs), degree and other academic requirements, academic policies, rules pertaining to student conduct and discipline, fields or areas of concentration, and other rules and regulations applicable to students.


The Harvard Medical School Master’s Programs Student Handbook (“the Handbook”) begins with a brief history of Harvard Medical School (HMS) followed by information describing the rules, policies, and procedures governing the Master’s programs at HMS.

The Handbook includes descriptions of the curriculum and requirements (plans of instruction) for the Master of Medical Sciences (MMSc) and Master of Academic Discipline degrees and provides incoming and current Master’s students the information necessary to participate successfully in the programs.  The Handbook also provides answers to many questions students will have about specific aspects of education and student life at HMS.
Regular review of HMS academic and financial policies and/or curricular requirements may result in changes to rules and/or policies that are published in this document, which is updated at least annually. All students are also expected to be familiar with the policies of Harvard Medical School and Harvard University.

All information in this handbook and in the Course Catalogs of the various schools at Harvard University is subject to revision.  From time to time, changes are made in course offerings, academic rules and requirements, and the plans of instruction. Each School at Harvard reserves the right to alter, change, or amend any of these rules and regulations at any time without prior notice. HMS Master’s students are eligible to take courses in other Schools at the University and need to be familiar with and abide by the rules and regulations of each School at which courses are taken.  Students are encouraged to review School and program websites for current information.  The information contained in this Handbook supersedes any published previously and is subject to change.

Please forward any comments, updates, or questions to the Office for Graduate Education, at

Delivery of Educational Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Delivery of Educational Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The public health crisis occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented social and economic disruption worldwide, in the United States, and in the Boston/Cambridge area. Anticipating that continued in-person, on-campus instruction would increase the risk of infections in our community, the University acted promptly in March to “de-densify” its campus and transition to online instruction. Harvard reached this decision after careful (but time- pressed) deliberation, drawing on insights and expertise from public health experts worldwide — including on the Harvard faculty.
As we look ahead to the fall and beyond, we are planning for several contingency scenarios that would protect the health and safety of our community, preserve our ability to adapt to evolving circumstances, and ensure the continuity of our teaching and research mission. Harvard Medical School continues to retain the discretion to apply its considered judgment to the question of how best to pursue its educational programs during the COVID-19 crisis, which may include, among other things, making recourse to online instruction and instituting compulsory testing and tracing programs as required conditions for accessing the Harvard campus or Harvard facilities.