HST's Medical Sciences Program constitutes one of the five academic "societies" at Harvard Medical School (HMS)
. HST students are members of the Irving M. London Society of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. The curriculum leads to an MD degree from HMS and is oriented toward students with a declared interest in a career in biomedical research and a strong interest and background in physical or biological sciences.
The program is particularly appropriate for students who are planning multidisciplinary research careers in academic medicine. The curriculum, research, and clinical experience prepare students receiving the MD to excel as physician-scientists highly qualified to care for patients and participate in biomedical research careers where they will assume leadership positions. While the MD can be obtained in four years and all students do research, most pursue a more intensive research experience made possible by extension of the MD program over five or more years. Approximately 40 percent of HST MD students pursue a combined MD-PhD
The programs of study are designed to develop superbly trained, clinically and socially responsible physicians with a deep understanding of the underlying science of medicine. The approach is rigorous and quantitative and presents human biology in a fashion that incorporates fundamental features of molecular biology, biotechnology, engineering and physical sciences.
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. The 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 greatly enriches the MD student experience.
The program provides students with richly diversified educational opportunities specific to their interests, talents, and aspirations. The relatively small class size facilitates productive interaction between students and faculty.
HST MD students are required to become actively involved in independent research under the direction of a faculty member. Students are encouraged to slow the rate of progress through the formal curriculum in order to devote more time to research. Students making substantial research commitments may qualify for appointments as Research Assistants, which provide partial or full financial support through salary and tuition credits. The Research Assistantship program is described in more detail under Financial Support
Up to thirty HST students are admitted each year as candidates for the MD degree at Harvard Medical School. The Division has an established record of fulfilling its educational mission: a vast majority of graduates hold academic positions or leadership positions at federal research agencies or in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Most remain actively engaged in research. Most continue to care for patients and carry out research that has direct impact on patient care.