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Enrollment in Premedical Program

Most students need two years to complete our premedical requirements, although depending on their credit assignment some are able to do so in one year and a summer.

You begin your studies in a summer or fall term. Due to the sequential nature of course offerings, you cannot begin in a spring term.

A Typical Program Timeline

Since our students come to us with varying levels of science coursework and are assigned different medical science credit minimums at the point of admission there is no “typical” curriculum; however, students who need to complete all core medical science courses follow the sequential year one and year two path below.

  • Year One. Complete core medical science courses: general chemistry and physics. Consult with the Premedical Program each term.
  • Year Two. Complete core medical science courses: biology*, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. Consult with the Premedical Program each term.
    • Some students will need to take additional medical science electives during year one or two to round out their credit minimums for sponsorship. Choose electives in consultation with the Premedical Program.
  • Adhere to all Sponsorship Requirements, including notifying the Premedical Program director in writing of your intent to apply to medical school, listing courses completed and courses to be completed, no later than September 30 of the year preceding application to professional school.
  • Take the MCAT or DAT in the spring or early summer of your application year.
  • Notify the program of your MCAT or DAT results.
  • Apply to professional school (AMCAS and AADSAS open in early June, AACOMAS, TMDSAS, and VMCA open in early May).
  • Notify program of your acceptances as well as where you’ve decided to attend.

Advising note (biology*): It is critical that you complete chemistry prior to biology. Students who attempt to complete biology first (or at the same time as general chemistry) have a lower academic performance than those students who have already completed general chemistry.

Advising note (timeline): If you are contemplating an alternative schedule to Year One and Year Two or are uncertain about which courses to take, consult the Premedical Program office before enrolling.

Enrollment Requirements

Once admitted in June, you need to register during the upcoming summer or fall term. If not, your admission will be rescinded and you’ll need to re-apply to the program the following year.

Once you begin your studies, you must maintain continuous enrollment (fall and spring) throughout the program. Enrollment during the summer semester is optional and is not required to maintain standing in the program.

Failure to register during a fall or spring semester, or dropping/withdrawing from all courses in a single semester without approval of the program director, will result in your being voluntarily withdrawn from the program. This withdrawal would be nonpunitive; it is not a disciplinary action. However, if you wished to return to the program, you would need to reapply, and go through a new admission process and decision.

You are required to complete the program within two years. At the end of two years, your program participation will automatically end, along with program privileges, such as Harvard University ID card access. If you complete your assigned credit requirement in less than two years, we will consider the program complete, and your program participation will end. You may remain eligible for Sponsorship for one year beyond program completion, as long as you remain enrolled in medical sciences coursework at Harvard during that year.

Petitions to take a semester off from the program or to have extended time to complete the program are considered on a case-by-case basis. Speak to the program advisor or director should you need special enrollment consideration. If granted, you’ll be given a firm deadline to complete, which cannot exceed three years. 

Medical Leave Policy

If you have a documented health or medical issue that requires a modification of, or reasonable accommodation to, the continuous enrollment and/or two-year completion policy, then you need to proactively work with the Accessibility Services Office (ASO) to request a medical leave.

ASO will help make appropriate arrangements for the duration of the leave as well as plans to return and ensure compliance with all academic rules. ASO will engage in an individualized and interactive assessment, which may require consultation with others at the University, as appropriate.  With prior permission, ASO may also require consultation with your health care providers.

You should contact the ASO as soon as a health or medical issues arises, as HES does not ordinarily alter academic policies after the fact.

Extensions to the two-year completion deadline are not ordinarily granted beyond one additional year as successful completion of courses within a certain period of time is a fundamental academic requirement.

While on medical leave, your premedical program status will be inactive.

Returning from a Medical Leave of Absence

To return from a medical leave of absence, the ASO will require documentation that the circumstances that led to your leave have been satisfactorily addressed and you are ready to resume your studies.

ASO will engage in an individualized and interactive assessment, which may require consultation with others at the University, as appropriate.  With prior permission, ASO may also require consultation with your health care providers.

The ASO will make the decision whether to allow you to return and determine the conditions for your return based on (1) the best available objective medical evidence and (2) consultation with others at the University, which may include the Harvard University Health Services, the Dean of Student Policy and Governance, or the Administrative Board, as appropriate.

Medical Leave Enrollment and Registration Policies

While on a medical leave your ID card will not be valid. You are not eligible for loan deferments or financial aid. Nor are you able to work at HES as support teaching staff or a faculty aide. You cannot attend HES or University-wide student events, participate in student groups or use student services.

Course registration. If you request a medical leave while currently registered for courses, the Accessibility Services Office (ASO) will work with the Registrar’s Office to determine a fair and equitable resolution to your registration status, which may include a drop for a refund, if early in the term, or late withdrawal grade, if later in the term.

Medical Leave Student Conduct

All students on leave are reminded to maintain a satisfactory standard of conduct.  Any pending disciplinary matters must be resolved before a student on a medical leave of absence will be allowed to return.

You cannot be enrolled as a candidate in the Premedical Program and another Harvard Extension School degree program simultaneously. For an explanation of our repeat policy, see Academic Standing.