About Harvey Medicine


The University of Pavia is among the oldest and most renowned academic institutions in Europe. An edict issued by King Lotharius quotes a higher education institution in Pavia as already established in 825 A.D.

Today, Pavia is a Research University, offering a wide variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary teaching organized in 18 Departments and has study programmes at all levels: Bachelor’s degrees, single-cycle Masters degrees, research degrees, speciality schools and level I  and II Masters degrees.
Research is carried out in departments, institutes, clinics, centres, and laboratories in close association with public and private institutions, enterprises and companies.

The University of Pavia enjoys a strong tradition of international student and teacher exchanges: bilateral agreements involve, among others, the historical universities of Coimbra, and many universities in Europe, the Middle East, the Mediterranean area, the United States of America, China, Japan and many other countries.
The University of Pavia is in a way unique not only because of its prestigious historical origins and top quality achievements but also due to its leading and promoting role in the so-called “Pavia System”, characterized by 20 colleges and residences where thousands of students can live, study and play sports. The oldest residences, named Collegio Borromeo and Collegio Ghislieri, were built in the 16th century; more recently other colleges for male and female students were founded through both public and private initiatives.

The Harvey Medicine and Surgery Course was founded October 1st, 2009 by professor Ermanno Gherardi, Head of the Department of Molecular Medicine.

It is a six-year, single-cycle Master’s Degree in Medicine and Surgery. The Harvey Course was thought “not just to teach the medical profession, but also to build a solid scientific basis for continued training that will be vital for the reception and understanding of future medicine”.

The Harvey Medicine and Surgery Course is the first medicine course entirely taught in English in Italy, together with several other MD programmes offered in English by the University of Pavia.

The Course was named after William Harvey (1578-1657), seventeenth-century British physician, a pioneer in correctly understanding and describing the circulatory system.

The Harvey Course arises from the need for an international (i.e. English language) medical school in Italy. The curriculum combines the long-established Italian teaching methods with the modern paradigms of interactive learning. Harvey trainees evolve into well-rounded doctors through a new wide-ranging programme of study and extensive practical training in the in the renown Pavia clinics and their research laboratories. This includes a rigorous and practical seminar programme provided by Harvey’s carefully selected local and international lecturers consisting of top-of-the-line clinicians, professors and scientists.


How to apply

Candidates who possess a secondary school diploma or equivalent foreign title may be admitted to the Harvey Medicine and Surgery Course.

The Harvey Course is numerus clausus (restricted access). Therefore, to enter the Harvey Course, candidates are required to sit a national admission test, the IMAT (International Medical Admissions Test), set up each year by the MIUR- the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research. In order to promote the internationalisation process in Italian universities, the IMAT test can also be taken in official testing centres all around the world. Passing the IMAT test is mandatory in order to proceed with enrolment in the Harvey Course at the University of Pavia. Check the admission procedures for EU and non-EU applicants at this page

The test is composed of 60 multiple-choice questions assessing the knowledge of topics such as: general knowledge, logical reasoning, biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. More details at this page

To favour the internationalisation of Italian universities, the IMAT test can be sat in official testing centres all around the world: Azerbaijan,Argentina,Brasil,China,Cyprus, France,Germany,Greece,India,Israel,Poland,Portugal,Spain,Qatar, Saudi Arabia,UAE, the UK and the USA.




Contact Faculty Presidency: FACOLTÀ PRESIDENZA


Educational organization

Current legislation (DM 16 March 2007 GU 155 July 6 2007 – Suppl. Ordinario n. 153) lays down six years of study for the degree course in Medicine and Surgery, with a total of 360 credits including 60 credits for Vocational Traineeships to be acquired in educational activities designed to promote the acquisition of specific vocational skills. Attendance at these educational activities (lectures and training) is compulsory and is a prerequisite to taking exams.


The Degree course is divided into 12 semesters. The average duration is 12 to 14 weeks each, based on a teaching progression starting with basic science in the first two years and progressing with medical and clinical methods, healthcare organisation in Italy, ethical and legal aspects of medicine.

Courses and exams
Individual courses are grouped into modules according to the principle of integrated teaching with a total of 36 examinations (esami di profitto) undertaken in the six-year course. Continuous assessment may be prescribed for courses held across two terms.
Internship/Vocational Traineeship
The period of Vocational Traineeship (60 credits) functions to all intents and purposes as an integral part of the Degree course. Starting in the third year, it is carried out in one of the following clinics: Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as other medical and surgical specialisations. The internship takes the form of tutorial teaching in which practical activities are conducted under the supervision of a Tutor-Teacher.
8 credits are assigned to elective educational activities (ADEs) chosen by students.
These are no-mark exams.
18 credits are assigned to thesis preparation (final written dissertation).
Assessment of learning
Assessment is either by:
• exams without marks (idoneità), designed to determine the effectiveness of learning and teaching processes;
• exams with marks (esami di profitto) designed to assess course objectives have been fulfilled, to certify an individual student’s preparation and quantify the outcome with a mark. All exams are taken during specific exam periods. Marks vary from 18 (pass score) up to a maximum of 30 cum laude.
Official exam sessions
The exam sessions are organised as follows:
First session: January-February
Second session: June-July
Third session: September

There are no preliminary prerequisites for examinations belonging to the same academic year, as stated in the Harvey Course Didactic Regulation, Article 10, paragraph 3 (Rules and Regulations webpage)

Transition from first to the second year: in order to register for the second year, students must have obtained a minimum of 42 credits within a set deadline (September 30th).


Transition from the second to the third year: to register for the third year, students must have passed all exams from year 1 and year 2.


Transition from third to fourth year: to register in the fourth year, students must have passed all exams from year 3.

A student who has attended the degree course for the number of years stipulated by the university regulations but who has not acquired all the credits needed to graduate is given fuori corso status (out-of-course student or repeating student).


A student who has not obtained a certificate of attendance at courses specified in the study plan for a specific year of study or who has not acquired the minimum number of credits required for enrolment in the subsequent year, becomes a ripetente i.e. a student who repeats the year.

For further details about the rules and regulations of the Harvey Course please peruse the dedicated page

Optional Teaching Activities (OTAs) are those forms of learning and teaching chosen by students to shape their education in ways and through the study of subjects most congenial to them. These optional courses consist in a set of activities made available to students in the form of course extensions or specialised courses, which once chosen require compulsory attendance and the acquisition of credits recorded in a special learner diary (libretto diario del percorso formativo) which is signed by the teacher providing the service. The Academic Board draws up a list of elective learning activities on an annual basis with a view to avoiding overlaps with compulsory curricular activities.


Mindful of the recommended curriculum, students should acquire a total of 8 CFUs in the course of their six-year degree, attending elective activities chosen from the following types:
Elective Internship: 1 credit
Monographic course: 1 credit


Elective Internship: an elective internship, with an attendance of no more than 20 hours, provides students with the opportunity to develop some specific interests either in research laboratories or in clinics. In pursuance of their cultural interests or intended future career, internship activities are designed to increase a student’s knowledge in a given area that falls outside the interactive educational activities, which are an integral part of the degree course.


Monographic Course: The monographic course, which consists of 8 hours of frontal lectures, is a deepening of the theoretical activity carried out during the course. The Faculty’s teaching schedule is updated annually. To obtain the required signature or certificate, a student must attend no less than 75% of scheduled lessons.


Guide to better understand OTAs: CTA-ADE-OTA
Vocational training activities are those activities which allow students to acquire specific skills in the field of Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as other specialised Medical and Surgical disciplines. These activities are conducted in person by the student under the direct supervision of a Faculty mentor and require the student to demonstrate a high degree of autonomy when making a diagnosis and proposed treatment.


The 60 credits for professional skills are acquired from the third year onwards.
18 credits are awarded for thesis preparation in university clinical structures or biology institutions. This student’s activity is known as internato di laurea or degree internship. Students intending to carry out their degree internship within a specific structure must submit a formal request to the Director of that structure together with a curriculum vitae (i.e. a list of exams passed, marks, optional attended activities, training periods in laboratories or clinics or any other activity performed for training purposes). After consultation with colleagues and having ascertained the availability of positions, the Director of the structure approves the request and assigns the responsibility for monitoring and certifying the activities carried out by the students to a Tutor, where possible specified by the student.


To be eligible to take the Degree exam, students must:
• have followed all the courses and have passed all the exams;
• have obtained a total of 360 credits in the course of the six years;
• have delivered to the student secretary:
 a) an application to the Rector at least 30 days before the Degree session;
b) a copy of the thesis at least 10 days before the Degree session.
Degree Exams are held in the summer, fall and retake sessions.
Currently, the final score of the Degree in Medicine and Surgery, following the thesis defence, is determined by the following sum:
Average exams in the Degree Course in Medicine: the average is multiplied by 11 and divided by 3; the result is rounded up or down to a ‘whole number’ (e.g. 95.5 -> 96 and 95.4 -> 94). The result is the baseline score.
Points determined by the presentation and discussion of the thesis: thesis points depend on the baseline score referred to in Column 1 in the following table:





Up to points
Up to points
Up to points


80 – 89

90 – 98

99 – 102,5

> 102,5

To reach 99 (legal votes), the baseline score should be an average of no less than 92.
To reach 110 (full legal marks), the curriculum should be an average of no less than 101.
To reach 110 cum laude, the curriculum should be an average of no less than 102.5 points and have achieved at least one “laude” distinction in the curriculum.
The discretion in the range of scores depends on the commitment shown by the candidate during the thesis preparation, the exposition the student gives on the subject and ability to respond to the questions raised by the Thesis Board members during the discussion.
A student who interrupts enrolment in this course for more than 6 consecutive years or who has not complied with the compulsory attendance for more than 6 consecutive years or who have not passed exams for more than 6 consecutive academic years, must apply to the Medical Teaching board for career reassessment. Provided they are no longer obsolete, credits earned previously will be accepted.
For more detailed information about the thesis degree required for Medicine and Surgery in English please consult the dedicate webpage.






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