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HMS Exchange Clerkship Program


English Proficiency 
VISA Information 
Tuition Information 
Tuition Payment Options 
Tuition Refunds 
Tuition Waivers 

Harvard Medical School welcomes international students to apply to the HMS Exchange Clerkship Program. To ensure that students assigned to Harvard-affiliated hospitals are fully prepared to participate in our advanced elective experiences, HMS screens all applications and reserves the right to restrict those who may be assigned.

To be considered eligible to participate in the Exchange Clerkship Program, students must be in their final year of medical school. The educational systems of many non-US or Canadian medical schools range in duration from 4 to 6 years; thus, in a 6-year medical school system (e.g., German medical schools), students must be in their 6th year to be considered the equivalent of a US 4th year medical student. To be eligible for participation in the Exchange Clerk Program, students must be enrolled in a medical school that is part of a university. Students in "off-shore" medical schools, for-profit medical schools, proprietary medical schools, or stand-alone outside of a university are not eligible for this program.

At HMS, our goal is to provide every student scheduled through the Exchange Program the most successful educational experience possible. To achieve this goal, all students are expected to speak, read and write English with a high standard of proficiency, particularly in a fast-paced hospital setting.

As noted above, for students coming from medical schools in non-English-speaking countries, HMS requires attestation of an exchange clerk's English fluency from the Registrar or Dean of the visiting student's school. Based upon feedback from advanced electives, due to deficiencies regarding the proficiency of international students to communicate effectively, many clerkships have restricted international enrollment. Consequently, HMS requires that students applying from international medical schools call the Registrar's Office for a brief telephone interview before their applications will be considered for scheduling. You must call in for a telephone interview before you submit your supporting documentation as application fees are non-refundable even if you fail your phone interview.

Students who are scheduled and participate in a clerkship at HMS but are found to be lacking adequate English language skills may be withdrawn or reassigned from their scheduled clerkships.

Beginning in Academic Year 2013, official TOEFL scores will be required for all students from international medical schools in which English is not the language of instruction, if English speaking, HMS reserves the right to request a TOEFL score.

In order to meet our language proficiency all international students must meet one of the following guidelines:

  • Language of medical school instruction must be taught in English. If your language of instruction is in English, please have this indicated in your letter of support
  • AND successful completion of a telephone interview.
  • Successful completion of a telephone interview.
  • AND a minimum TOEFL score of 100.

Telephone interviews are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00am - 11:30am and 12:30pm - 2:00pm (EST). Please call 617-432-1515. Prior arrangements are not required.

International students may require a VISA for entry into the United States. HMS cannot provide advice regarding VISA status or requirements which are determined by the U.S. State Department.

However, there are a number of countries that meet the VISA Waiver Program (VWP). If you do require a visa, Exchange Clerkship applicants are eligible for the business VISA (B1) because our program is designed as a training program and does not provide employment and does not provide payment or reimbursement for your visit.

HMS does not sponsor any student VISAs because visiting students are not considered full-time degree candidates at Harvard Medical School. Exchange clerks are considered to be enrolled at their home schools.

For any questions or additional information about VISAs, please visit http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html

International students are charged tuition for each scheduled clerkship month. Tuition covers instruction, grade report, and library reading privileges. Tuition does not cover personal health insurance, athletic facilities, housing, or library borrowing privileges.

See the Calendars page for tuition amounts.

Tuition is subject to change annually beginning in September.

Please do not send any tuition payments until you have received official notification from HMS that you have been scheduled.

There are two payment options. In order for payment to be applied, the following information must be included: the student's name, the clerkship code, and the month for which the student is scheduled.

1. MAIL:

Tuition may be paid by a U.S. check drawn on a US bank (if you do not have a U.S. account, a family member or friend living in the U.S. can issue the check on your behalf). Please make check to Harvard University and include the students name on the check. Checks should be sent (via airmail or express mail service) to:

Harvard Medical School
Office of the Registrar
25 Shattuck Street
Gordon Hall, Room 213
Boston, MA 02115-6092, USA

2. WIRE:

Tuition may be paid in the form of a wire transfer of U.S. dollars directly to the bank account listed below. Wire payments to:

President and Fellows of Harvard College
Account# 805-09035
ACH ABA# 0110-00138
Wire ABA# 0260-09593
Swift Code - BOFAUS3N

Bank of America
100 Federal Street
Boston, MA 02110, USA

Banks often charge a fee for service for which you are responsible. You must contact your bank to determine the exact service charge to ensure that you send the full tuition dollar amount. Tuition not received in full may result in withholding grade certification for clerkships completed at HMS until the account is fully reconciled.

If you wish to cancel your clerkship, please contact us immediately. If you notify us at least 2 weeks before the start of the rotation, 90% of your tuition payment will be refunded. No refund will be given if notification is received less than 2 weeks before the start of a clerkship or if you withdraw after a rotation has begun.

The Harvard Medical School Exchange Clerkship Program considers limited requests for tuition waivers from students who are from countries underrepresented in the clerkship program. Underrepresented countries are based on the country where your medical school is located and not on your citizenship.

All tuition waiver requests must be submitted at the time you apply for electives.

Financial documentation must be enclosed with your exchange clerk application. Requests for tuition waivers are reviewed separately from the clerkship application and do not affect your eligibility to the program. The application processing fee is not waived and is non-refundable.

Consideration will be based on the following information provided by the student:

  1. A statement describing the nature of the financial hardship or inability to pay clerkship tuition. Please provide documentation from your bank or other sources as appropriate.
  2. Documentation from student's medical school outlining the cost of the student's education (tuition and fees), if any, as well as past and current source(s) of financial support. These costs must be in American dollars.
  3. Proposed source(s) of support for living and travel expenses while attending clerkship in the U.S.

Requests should be submitted in writing with your application packet.

Due to the number of applications filed annually, the following countries currently not eligible for the tuition waiver are, but not limited to:

  • Egypt
  • Germany
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • United Kingdom

Eligible countries are subject to change based upon the volume of applications.

If you feel that you meet our criteria, please send an email to exclerks@hms.harvard.edu to verify that your medical school country is eligible.

Copyright 2018 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College