We’re sharing everything you need to know to get into Harvard Medical School. With an acceptance rate of 2.3%, it's a challenge to get accepted to one of the most prestigious Ivy League medical schools in the world, but it’s not impossible. This blog includes the admissions requirements, tuition costs, and expert insights to help you get into Harvard Medical School.

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Article Contents
10 min read

Mission Statement Harvard Medical School Admissions Statistics Harvard Medical School Eligibility Selection Factors at Harvard Medical School Interview Format at Harvard Medical School Acceptance and Waitlist Information Harvard Medical School Admission Timeline Tuition & Funding Opportunities Residency Match Rates Harvard Medical School Available Programs Campus and Faculty Affiliated Teaching Hospitals and Research Fields Notable Faculty FAQs

Harvard Medical School Mission Statement

"To nurture a diverse, inclusive community dedicated to alleviating suffering and improving health and well-being for all through excellence in teaching and learning, discovery and scholarship, and service and leadership.”

Harvard Medical School Admissions Statistics

Harvard Medical School overall acceptance rate

  • Success rate (In-State): 3.15%
  • Success rate (Out-of-State): 1.99%
  • Success rate (International): 1.75%
  • Average Accepted GPA: 3.96
  • Average Accepted MCAT Scores: 521

Harvard Medical School Eligibility

Harvard welcomes applications from all individuals, including International and DACA students. However, at least one year of study at a US or Canadian institution is required. Students who have completed a degree at a University outside of the US or Canada are rarely admitted.

At least three years of college work need to be completed before applying and a full baccalaureate degree is required prior to matriculation.

Students who have been previously enrolled in medical school are ineligible to apply, as are students who have applied for admission to Harvard twice already, whether or not you were accepted or rejected. Harvard does not accept transfer students.

Selection Factors at Harvard Medical School

The admissions committee at Harvard Medical School is focused on attracting and admitting students who possess maturity, have a commitment to helping others, leadership skills, and the ability to work with others. In addition, the following factors are used to evaluate applicants:


The median GPA of students admitted to Harvard Medical School is 3.96 and the median MCAT score is 521, with section scores averaging between 129 and 131.

Harvard has no minimum score for GPA or MCAT, although that doesn’t mean Harvard is a school that you can get into with a low GPA. If you do fall slightly below the average score, especially if there are extenuating circumstances, it is still worth applying.

Harvard Medical School Prerequisites

There is no requirement for a specific undergraduate major or programs before applying to Harvard. Given Harvard’s preference for “well-rounded” applicants it is a good idea to not only have the required courses and their upper-level equivalents, but also a breadth of courses. Make your application stand out with unique courses that showcase the soft skills necessary to become a doctor.

Recommended Courses

  • Behavioral Science
  • Biostatistics/Statistics
  • Calculus
  • College English
  • College Mathematics
  • Computer Science
  • Genetics
  • Humanities
  • Psychology
  • Social sciences

Applicant Essays

Harvard Medical School places high importance on applicant essays to determine who will be selected for interview and admission. Your medical school personal statement and medical school secondary essays need to stand out to the admissions committee.

Make sure that your Harvard medical school personal statement incorporates examples of how you possess the skills and qualities that Harvard is looking for. This can include broader things like Harvard’s mission statement and how it relates to your life goals or very specific research you’ve done like a particular faculty member you want to work with.

The admissions committee is reviewing hundreds of personal statements, and you want to get their attention. Dr. Monica Taneja, MD explains her strategy for a successful personal statement:

“I focused on my journey to medicine and opportunities that I sought out along the way. Everyone’s path and validation is unique, so walking the reader through your growth to the point of application will naturally be different. I also found it helpful to give schools a ‘punch-line’ as in I wanted them to remember 1-2 things about me that are my differentiators and I reiterated those throughout.” - Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, Harvard South Shore, Psychiatry

Check out our video for Harvard Medical School personal statement examples:


Extracurriculars for medical school should show that you have a proven track record of commitment, growth, and a desire to help others. They demonstrate that you have skills and experiences that will help you excel in all aspects of the Harvard Medical School program.

According to MSAR, successful applicants to Harvard had these types of experience::

Clearly, research experience is key to matriculation at Harvard and you should prioritize getting research experience in your undergrad. Shadowing a physician can also be a great way to get extracurricular experience and see first-hand the day-to-day responsibilities and challenges that doctors face. Check out our resources about how many hours of shadowing are required for medical school and how to ask to shadow a doctor.

Harvard Medical School Secondary Application

The Harvard Medical School secondary essay is your opportunity to show the admissions committee that you are a good fit for the program.

Dr. Monica Taneja cautions students that secondary applications are a lot of work. She approached them in a methodical way that helped make the process much more manageable.

“I started to pre-write secondaries in mid-June. For each school I read their mission statement and tailored my answers to their priorities. Since many essays also overlap between schools I was able to morph different essays based on length to reduce overall writing. Pre-writing allowed me to have <1 week turn around on all of my secondary application returns.” - Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, Harvard South Shore, Psychiatry.

While it is possible there may be new prompts, preparing early will never be a bad thing. Remember that at schools like Harvard almost everyone will have good grades, extracurriculars, and MCAT scores. Secondary essays are the time for you to showcase how you are unique and what you will contribute to Harvard Medical School.

Here are the latest prompts:

  1. If you have already graduated, briefly (4000 characters maximum) summarize your activities since graduation.
  2. If there is an important aspect of your personal background or identity not addressed elsewhere in the application that may illuminate how you could contribute to the medical school and that you would like to share with the Committee, we invite you to do so here. Examples might include significant challenges in access to education, unusual socioeconomic factors, or other aspects of your personal or family background to place your prior academic achievements in context or provide further information about your motivation for a career in medicine or the perspectives you might bring to the medical school community. Many applicants will not need to answer this question. (4,000 characters)
  3. The Committee on Admissions understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted applicants in various ways. If you wish to inform the Committee as to how these events have affected you and have not already done so elsewhere in your application, please use this space to do so. (This is an optional essay; the Committee on Admissions will make no judgment based on your decision to provide a statement or not.) (4,000 characters)
  4. Interviews will be held virtually and is anticipated to run from mid-September through January. Please indicate any significant (three or more weeks) restriction on your availability for interviews during this period. If none, please leave this section blank. (1,000 characters)

Remember, these questions are meant to assess you holistically. You can and should include personal details and address any potential red flags that might be holding back your application.

Letters of Recommendation

Harvard Medical School accepts up to six letters of recommendation and requires a minimum of three letters. The admissions committee recommends the following:

  • At least two (2) should be from science professors.
  • At least one (1) should be from a non-science professor.
  • For the MD-PhD program or the MD program, letters from all research supervisors are required.
  • Additional letters can be included if they are from research supervisors.
  • If supplementing a premedical advisory committee evaluation, it counts as one (1) letter.
  • Letters from employers are not required, but if applicants have been working, a letter from their place of employment is advised.

When choosing someone to write a letter of recommendation, be sure to ask people who know you well enough to provide specific examples of your skills and personal qualities and can articulate how these factors make you a good fit for Harvard Medical School.

Interview Format at Harvard Medical School

Harvard Medical School’s Office of the Committee on Admissions Candidates emails candidates with available interview dates. Interviews are conducted virtually, in a 1-on-1 format.

The interview process is stressful and many students focus on making a good impression with their academic skills. Dr. Taneja took the time to prepare for the knowledge-based parts of the interview process, but also focused on another aspect that helped her stand out from the crowd:

“My strategy was usually to go into the interview with an agenda, but focus on being personable. Most of the time I knew who I was interviewing with in advance, so I would look them up and see if we had any similarities to highlight. When I was talking to a student the most important thing was seeing if this was someone I vibed with and making sure we had a friendly/jovial conversation. That impression tends to stick more than anything you say, so focus on being relaxed and happy.” - Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, Resident at Harvard South Shore, Psychiatry

Two resources that can help you prepare are our video interview guide and our tips on Harvard Medical School interview questions

Acceptance and Waitlist Information

Harvard Medical School does not have an early decision program or a rolling admissions policy. Because of this it is important to prepare early and think carefully about scheduling your medical school interview. All their admissions decisions are emailed in March, whether candidates are accepted, declined, or waitlisted. All admissions decisions are final.

If offered a position on the waitlist, the Office of Committee on Admissions will send you information about waitlist procedures. Learn how to get off a medical school waitlist in our blog.

Harvard Medical School Admission Timeline

The following deadlines are a general guideline. Make sure to check the official schedule on the school's website before you start preparing your application.

Tuition & Funding Opportunities

Funding Opportunities

According to their website, Harvard Medical School boasts one of the most generous MD financial aid programs in the nation. It maintains an average graduating debt at around half the national average for private medical schools and significantly below the national average for state schools. The Harvard Medical School Financial Aid Office provides financial support to 73% of students. 

Residency Match Rates

Harvard is a medical school with a very high match rate. While their match rate (~95%) may seem lower than other Ivy League medical schools, this reflects the fact that many Harvard graduates pursue specialized options such as the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery program or non-clinical research positions.

Around 75% of matches are within the state of Massachusetts, so it is a good idea to include a desire to work in-state if you are applying to Harvard. The most popular specialties are Internal Medicine and Obstetrics/Gynecology.

Harvard Medical School Available Programs  

MD Curriculum Tracks at Harvard Medical School

In addition to programs of interest, our admissions expert and current resident at Harvard South Shore emphasizes the importance of picking a medical school based on more than just its reputation, as there are multiple factors that should be considered when deciding where to settle for the next few years.

“My main priority was location. Since I knew I was going to spend four years there I wanted it to be in a location that I could see myself having support and enjoying. Beyond that I looked at opportunities for research support [and] patient population diversity”. - Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, Harvard South Shore Resident

Campus and Faculty

Harvard Medical School is located in the Longwood Medical Area of Boston, Massachusetts, a renowned hub for healthcare and medical research. The campus is situated in an urban setting, surrounded by some of the world’s leading hospitals and research institutions. Harvard Medical School is about 30 minutes from the main Harvard Campus and is a great option if you are a looking for a more urban setting for medical school.

Affiliated Teaching Hospitals

Harvard Medical School is affiliated with several famous teaching hospitals, providing extensive clinical and research opportunities. These include Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), one of the oldest and most prestigious hospitals in the United States; Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), renowned for excellence in patient care, medical education, and research in cardiovascular disease, oncology, and women's health; and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), which combines top-notch clinical care with a strong emphasis on biomedical research.

Research Fields

Harvard is renowned for its research across many key fields in medical science and healthcare. Some of the most prominent research areas include:

  1. Cancer Research: The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, an Harvard affiliate, is at the forefront of cancer research, focusing on understanding cancer biology, developing new therapies, and improving patient outcomes.
  2. Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology: The Harvard Stem Cell Institute engages in stem cell research and regenerative medicine, working on developing therapies to repair or replace damaged tissues and organs.
  3. Neuroscience and Neurology: The Harvard Brain Science Initiative integrates efforts across multiple departments and institutions to advance understanding in areas of neuroscience and neurology, including Harvard Medical School.

It can be useful to express interest in one or more of these institutions in your application or interview. This shows interest in Harvard and that you have done your research!

Notable Faculty

Harvard Medical School is home to numerous distinguished faculty members, including several Nobel Prize winners who have made significant contributions to medical science. Notable Nobel laureates include Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak, who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 for their work on telomeres, and William Kaelin Jr., who received the Nobel Prize in 2019 for his discoveries on how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.

Contact information

Harvard Medical School Admissions Page

Phone: (617) 432-1550

Email: [email protected]



Harvard Medical School does not require a specific undergraduate degree and believes students from any undergraduate concentration can be successful provided they have adequate science preparation. 


The median GPA is 3.96 and the median MCAT is 521.


The total annual cost for in-state students is $103,980 and $106,580 for out-of-state students. 


No. You are ineligible to apply if you are currently enrolled or were previously enrolled in any medical school. There are no exceptions.


Yes, but you must have studied for at least one year at an accredited institution in the United States or Canada, and have completed the undergraduate course requirements. Harvard Medical School is considered “Canadian-friendly” and welcomes students from north of the border. 


You can only apply for admission a maximum of two times. If you have already made two previous application attempts, you will be rejected. Note that incomplete application attempts count toward the two-time maximum.


No, prerequisites do not need to be completed in order to submit an application to Harvard Medical School. The required courses must be completed prior to matriculation. 


Yes, Harvard Medical School accepts updates through the “Application Updates” tab on the admissions portal. Applicants may provide up to two updates to the Committee.


All applicants who submit an AMCAS application and choose Harvard Medical School will receive a secondary application.


The maximum allowed time for an applicant’s response to an offer is three weeks. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results. 

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