Honors Thesis

Distinct work

  • Your thesis should be distinct from any prior or concurrent graduate-level thesis.
  • Work submitted to fulfill program requirements for another graduate degree (e.g., masters or doctorate) at Harvard or any other university is NOT eligible.
  • The thesis may build on work that students have conducted in the course of earning another degree as long as the Honors thesis only includes work that was not described in the other thesis or dissertation.
  • Pathways students may write an Honors thesis based on their scholarly project.
  • HST students may write an Honors thesis based on their HST thesis.

Scholarly Commitment

Thesis preparation will require a significant commitment of your time and effort, as well as considerable input from your faculty mentor and other faculty members.

Typically, Honors thesis work reflects at least four months of full-time research.

Many students work for a longer time period or take a fifth year to work full-time on the research that leads to a successful thesis.

Thesis Instructions

Honors Candidates

  1. Prepare your thesis. 
  2. Email your final thesis as a PDF to honors@hms.harvard.edu no later than February 13, 2023. Earlier submission is encouraged and is accepted on a rolling basis up until the deadline.
  3. Send your mentor the thesis evaluation form. Your mentor must evaluate your final thesis.

Pathways Students: An honors thesis submission qualifies as your scholarly project final report.

A typical honors thesis is between 40 and 50 pages.


  • Title page (Sample Thesis Title Page)
  • Abstract
  • Table of Contents
  • Glossary listing abbreviations that appear in your thesis
  • Introduction (background, including a literature review, state of the field and purpose of inquiry)
  • Methods
  • Student role
  • Results (observations, data analysis)
  • Discussion, Conclusions and Suggestions for Future Work
  • Summary
  • List of references using NLM format as noted at www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/policy/cit_format.html
  • Tables and Figures

Copy of your manuscript or publication (only if you have already written one and have not already submitted one previously in your SOI)


  • Page margins: 1 inch on all sides (top, bottom, left and right) for all pages for all pages
  • Page numbers: Centered at the bottom of the page
  • Font size: 12 point
  • Double spaced
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