Harvard University, established in 1636, is the oldest college or university in the United States. Considered the best not only in the United States, but the world, Harvard is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The alumni of Harvard includes many distinguished individuals, including U.S. presidents, billionaires, Nobel laureates, and more. Of the many schools that make up Harvard, Harvard Medical School is well-known and also one of the best.

About Harvard Medical School Requirements

Harvard Medical School, founded in 1782, is a graduate medical school that a student would attend after four years of undergraduate school. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Harvard Medical School or HMS does not operate in conjunction with any hospitals but is affiliated with some teaching hospitals located in Boston. It is prestigious not only because it is part of Harvard University, but also because it is tops with advanced technology as well as scientific advances. Because HMS is considered one of the best, and because of its quality and reputation, it is difficult to get into. Thousands of people apply to HMS, but the Harvard Medical School acceptance rate is less than 200 admitted. Just having the best grades and the best scores doesn’t guarantee admission. After all, you’ll be competing with people who also have the best grades and the best scores. However, if you feel you have what it takes, what does it take to get into HMS?

Association of American Medical Colleges

Harvard Medical School requirements include factors specific to the medical school application. However, the school is a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges or AAMC. It is the medical school application that all people wishing to enter medical school must complete. Therefore, parts of the application for HMS are the same for gaining admittance in any medical school.

The American Medical College Application Service application or AMCAS, which opens May 1 and closes med-October of the following year, takes about five hours to complete and 4 to 6 weeks to process. The cost is $170 for one school and $40 for each additional school. AAMC offers financial assistance for the application costs. Part of the application is an area that allows listing 15 factors that you think would make you the right candidate. For example, any jobs or volunteer positions you’ve held, shadowing a doctor, etc.

Needed for the application:

  1. Your background information, which consists of factors such as race, citizenship, etc.
  2. Your course work and transcript information
  3. Your work experience, awards, extracurricular activities, etc. information
  4. Letters of recommendation (You should have three recommendations – two from science professors and one from a professor outside of the science and medical areas, such as an English literature professor.)
  5. You must indicate that you are applying to HMS, as well as any others.
  6. Your personal comments essay
  7. Your MCAT exam scores and any other standardized test information (Ensure that your test dates are available when May ends.)

You should aim to submit your AMCAS application and your HMS application well before September.

Medical School Rankings for GPA and MCAT Scores

It’s no surprise that your GPA and MCAT scores must be high. However, high GPA and MCAT medical school rankings do not guarantee admission. In fact, not everyone who gets into HMS has a 3.9 or 3.8 GPA score and 518 to 520 MCAT score.

The Medical College Admission Test or MCAT is required for every applicant of the medical school at Harvard. There is no minimum MCAT score requirement, but every student is expected to excel on this test. For each section, the test taker can score between 118 and 132. The maximum score is 528 and the minimum score is 472.

A good MCAT score for most medical schools is a total of 508 for all four sections combined. However, for students who wish to be accepted into HMS, the typical score is 518 for all four sections combined. This is the 97th to 98th percentile. Falling below the average of students accepted to HMS does not mean you absolutely won’t be accepted. Harvard looks at the application as a whole. However, the lower your scores, the harder it will be. 

The MCAT is separated into four parts:

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems or BBFL
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems or CARS
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior or CPBS
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills or PSBB

To do well on The MCAT it’s highly advised to take an MCAT preparation test to help you score as high as you can.

The average GPA for most students accepted into medical school is 3.71. However, for HMS, the average GPA is 3.80. 


Majoring in something like biology, chemistry, or physics is ideal. The benefit of these majors is that many of the requirements will exist that are requirements for HMS. If you major in a non-science field, such as sociology or English Literature, for example, the advantage is that it shows you are diversified. Still, the disadvantage is that if you are not strong in science fields, the diversification won’t help you.

Harvard Medical School requires:

  1. Biology (1 year)
    • With a focus on human biology as well as genetics and cell biology
    • AP credits do not apply
  2. Chemistry (2 years)
    • Must include general chemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry and biochemistry
    • AP credits can be used for one semester
  3. Physics (1 year)
    • AP credits can be used for one semester
  4. Laboratory
  5. Mathematics and Computational Skills (1 year)
    • Must include calculus and at least one semester of statistic
  6. Biostatistics preferred
    • AP credits can be used for the calculus requirement, specifically Calculus AB and/or Calculus BC
  7. AP credits cannot be used for statistics
    • Expository writing (1 year)
  8. Courses in social sciences or humanities may be counted
    • AP credits cannot be used

Other Requirements:

  1. Must be fluent in English
  2. At least three years of college completed and a baccalaureate degree
  3. You will be asked to submit a number of essays
  4. You will be required to interview with HMS. Interviews begin every year in September. The format of an interview is traditional. When you are interviewed, your application will have been reviewed ahead of time. The goal of the interviewer is to discover why you would be an ideal candidate and why you wish to attend the school.

Not Required But Should Be Taken Into Account

Although applicants are expected to be top of the line, intelligence is not the only factor in getting admitted to HMS. You must be able to show hard work and consistency as well as an ability to balance multiple responsibilities without procrastination. You won’t be able to get into the medical school if you’ve shown a lack of initiative and laziness. You must also show that you are committed to altruism. Getting admitted to the medical school means that you have a commitment to helping people and the community through not only medicine and serving patients, but also research and leadership.

For example, let’s say you have an interest in children with rare cancers, and you have volunteered at a children’s hospital every summer of your undergrad. Showing that interest is important for a medical school application. This also indicates that you are self-motivated, which is also important.

Secondary essays are a great way for a student to show HMS why you are an ideal candidate. For example, you can explain what you did between undergraduate school and your applying to medical school. How does this experience make you an ideal candidate? Another example? Let’s say you grew up in poverty, and now you’d like to be a doctor who helps inner-city residents. Explain why your experience growing up poor gives you empathy for other poor people. 

Tracks to Choose

  1. Pathways – Clinically focused
  2. Health Sciences and Technology Track or HST – Academic medicine and research as well as clinical care

You can go with one or both.

If you are a good candidate who can compete with the best of them, the Harvard Medical School acceptance rate will be tough for you, as it should be, but not impossible. You could be one of the few who gain admittance into HMS if you have good test scores, a strong academic background, and can show other activities and interests that make you the right candidate.

If you’re ready to apply to Harvard Medical School, contact us to learn how we can help you with a unique opportunity. We’d like to invite you to visit our website to apply to our healthcare internship program