Visiting Clerkship Program 30th Anniversary

Visiting Clerkship Program

The Visiting Clerkship Program (VCP) provides support for fourth-year and qualified third-year medical students, especially those from groups underrepresented in medicine (URiM) as defined by the AAMC (e.g. African American, Hispanic, Latinx, American Indian, Alaskan Native) to participate in the Harvard Medical School (HMS) Exchange Clerkship Program. The VCP is sponsored by the Minority Faculty Development Program of the Harvard Medical School Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership.

VCP is designed to:

  • Increase medical student awareness of opportunities in academic medicine;
  • Increase student consideration of academic training programs for internship and residency; and especially
  • Increase the number of students applying to HMS-affiliated hospital training programs from groups underrepresented in medicine.



Clerkship Options and Scheduling

The Visiting Clerkship Program accepts students for May through November month rotations. VCP will support students for one clerkship month. Students are welcome to complete additional clerkships, but the VCP cannot provide financial or programmatic support for those extra months. Please visit the HMS Registrar’s Exchange Clerkship page for the dates for each month-long elective (scroll down to the calendar table). These dates are not flexible.

HMS places students in over 200 clerkships in all specialties across the Harvard-affiliates. Review these options within the ExClerk Catalog. Placement and scheduling is completed through the AAMC Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS) and is monitored by the HMS Registrar’s Exchange Clerkship Program administrator.

Students remain registered at their own schools while participating in exchange clerkships at Harvard Medical School. They are not officially enrolled as students at Harvard University.


Mentoring and Networking

VCP participants are assigned a faculty advisor and offered opportunities to network with HMS faculty, students, and staff. A lunch or dinner meeting for faculty and students is held during each rotation.

Course Offerings

Program participants can take elective courses at Harvard Medical School. Please view electives in the online catalog. Participants also have access to the Harvard Medical School Countway Library, hospital seminars, and hospital workshops.

Financial Assistance

In 2022, the Visiting Clerkship Program will issue a $2,500 stipend to out-of-state participants upon completion of the program. The stipend is designed to reimburse travel to and from Boston, housing, and the VSAS application fee. Those living in and around the Boston area receive a stipend of $500 to offset the costs of the VSAS application fee and local transportation expenses.


To be eligible to apply for VCP you must:

  • Identify as having a background in, or having strong support of, underrepresented and disadvantaged populations
  • Be a full-time third or fourth year MD or DO student in good standing at an accredited US medical schools
  • Have completed your core clerkships in medicine, surgery, pediatrics, and obstetrics prior to the start of your rotation
  • Have completed USMLE Step 1 prior to the start of your rotation


The VCP application process is as follows:

  1. Apply to your preferred clerkships through the HMS Registrar’s VSLO application instructions.
  2. Secure a letter of recommendation from a faculty member within the specialty in which you will apply for a clerkship. Share the VCP Recommendation Guidance with your writer well in advance of the deadline.
  3. The 2023 VCP application will be available by mid-November 20.
  4. The deadline for the receipt of your completed application – including letter of recommendation – is listed in the table below.
  5. VCP administration will review your application over the next few weeks.You will receive an application decision from the VCP at 4-6 weeks prior to the clerkship month to which you applied.

Spots within the VCP are limited and some applicants may be placed in a clerkship by the HMS registrar but not accepted into the VCP. In those cases, the applicant may still participate in their placed clerkship, but will not receive programmatic or financial support from the VCP.

Dates and Deadlines

Dates and deadlines for 2023 will be updated again in January.  Note that the deadlines for the VCP application are the same as those for the VSLO application.

Rotation Month Dates HMS/VCP Deadline
May 2023 May 1 - May 28, 2023 January 31, 2023
June 2023 May 30 - June 25, 2023 March 1, 2023

2022 Visiting Clerkship Program and
Harvard Affiliated Residency Webinars

Throughout summer of 2022, the Harvard Medical School Visiting Clerkship Program (VCP) hosts a series of discussions with Harvard-affiliated residency program directors. Join us to learn why you should choose Harvard for the next step in your medical career.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 ET | More Info | Webinar

Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 ET | More Info | Webinar

Tuesday, June 7, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 ET | More Info | Webinar

Tuesday, June 21, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 ET | More Info | Webinar

Past Visiting Clerkship Program and Harvard Affiliated Residency Webinars:

Applying to Residency | Webinar

Internal Medicine | Webinar

Pediatrics | Webinar

Surgery | Webinar

Emergency Medicine | Webinar

Psychiatry | Webinar

Obstetrics & Gynecology | Webinar

Anesthesia | Webinar

Surgical Subspecialities | Webinar


For a partial list of Harvard-affiliated hospitals and institutions which work in conjunction with the Visiting Clerkship Program please click here.


The Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership, in collaboration with the Harvard-affiliated hospitals, hosted the Harvard Affiliated Residency Programs Showcase, providing URM medical students in their 3rd or 4th year with an opportunity to meet and network with Harvard affiliated residency program training directors, attending physicians, fellows and residents. MORE...


Information on residency updates, US Medical Licensing Examination, and other useful links for medical students. MORE...



Visiting Clerkship Program celebrated its 25th anniversary on May 4, 2015 with a special program. MORE...

Documents and Resources

Residency Training Directory 2021-2023

Transition to Residency Guidelines

Download PDF
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For questions regarding the Visiting Clerkship Program, please contact us at:

Visiting Clerkship Program
Harvard Medical School
164 Longwood Avenue, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02115-5818

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