Harvard Medical School Moves Fall Semester Online for First-Year Students


Harvard Medical School will begin classes online for all first-year students in its medical, dental, and graduate programs this fall, the school announced Wednesday.

In an email to school affiliates, Medical School administrators wrote that the school is planning to offer on-campus research and clinical training for returning students. They added that they hope all students can return to campus by January 2021.

Signed by Medical School Dean George Q. Daley, Dean for Medical Education Edward M. Hundert, Dean for Graduate Education Rosalind A. Segal, and Dean for External Education David H. Roberts, the email noted the school has “undertaken an intensive planning process.” In making the decision, they wrote they considered the “unique” needs of their programs — which operate on schedules unlike many courses taught at the College and other professional schools — while also weighing the school’s duty to “sustain the health care workforce.”

“Given the uniqueness of our education programs, which run for 12 months and emphasize hands-on learning, we hope to be able to hold in-person research and clinical experiences for our returning medical and graduate students and will continue to closely follow institutional guidelines and public health developments,” the administrators wrote.


Administrators wrote they were “confident” that the school could continue to deliver “high-quality, transformative educational experiences” for students.

“We are confident that we can uphold the excellence that is the signature of a Harvard education,” the email read. “We are also committed to assisting our teaching faculty in designing online courses that meet these high standards and in supporting technologies that bolster our teaching and learning initiatives.”

—Staff writer Virginia L. Ma can be reached at