HST MD Thesis Guide
Table of Contents:
- Getting Started
- Thesis Commitment
- Dates and Procedures
Roles and Responsibilities of
- Research Supervisor
- HST Thesis Committee
- Thesis Proposal
- Thesis Submission and Final Thesis Document
- Harvard Medical School Honors in a Special Field
- HST Student Forum
To fulfill the requirements of the MD degree, students must submit a thesis by the first Monday in February of their final year. The thesis should be based upon original, scholarly and creative work done either in the laboratory or the clinic. The thesis topic is to be chosen with the advice of a member of the Faculty, who agrees to act as the thesis supervisor.
Check out these resources for finding a research lab.
The research upon which a thesis is based must involve a time commitment of at least four months full-time, or the equivalent part-time, for which appropriate credit may be requested. The actual writing of the thesis should be conservatively estimated at an additional full-time effort of at least one month for which four credits at HMS may be applied.
A copy of a Ph.D. or M.S. thesis prepared by a candidate for the M.D. degree while in residence may be submitted in fulfillment of the HST thesis requirement.
- August – Students must attend the HST Research Assistantship (RA) and Thesis meeting and turn in an I-9 form to MIT.
- December – Identify lab, complete RA paperwork. Includes filling out RA form, and completing online paperwork (W4, M4, direct deposit).
- Beginning in January – Turn in RA form to Laurie Ward, MIT (this can be delayed, but RA funding will also be delayed).
- February – Introduction to HST M.D. RA Spring Institute. Discussion of course objectives, and review of sample proposals from last year. Discuss structure of proposals, review sample proposals, and drafting of aims. Students will be asked to share ideas for current projects with course directors.
- Early March – Draft of summer research proposal due. Drafts will be returned with feedback.
- End of March – Revised summer research proposal due. We will forward final approved thesis proposals to Scholars in Medicine Office by April 1.
- End of April – Oral Presentations Workshop. Dr. Jhaveri will go over the finer points of presenting your research information.
- Early May – Presentations (group I and II). Each talk should take no more than 10 minutes (7 minutes presentation, 2-3 minutes questions).
- Summer – Perform fulltime research and seek 50% of funding from PI.
- September 1st – Introduction for HST thesis due to email@example.com and to PI, who must approve. No more than 10 pages, double-spaced.
- October 31st – M.D. thesis proposal due, sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. See HST M.D. Thesis Proposal form for formatting guidelines. Length: 3 double-spaced pages, excluding references. Includes work performed over summer. Students will receive comments from the HST M.D. Thesis Committee within six weeks of submission.
- December 31st – Figures and methods for HST thesis due to email@example.com and to PI, who must approve.
- February – HST M.D. thesis due by 5pm, please submit an electronic copy for review to firstname.lastname@example.org and refer to HST M.D. Thesis Guidelines for format.
- Honors – Submission through Honors Program & ETDs @ Harvard.
- April – Final submission of thesis through ETDs @ Harvard and.
- Supervise the research and mentor the student;
- Provide a supportive research environment, facilities, and financial support;
- Evaluate the student’s various submissions, including proposal and final thesis document.
The research supervisor is chosen by the student and must be a faculty member of Harvard University or MIT, and needs no further approval. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their RA Advisor and/or Dr. Mitchell prior to final selection.
HST M.D. THESIS COMMITTEE
The HST M.D. Thesis Committee is responsible for reviewing and evaluating the student’s thesis proposal. The committee is expected to:
- Review, evaluate, and provide anonymous comments.
- Approve final thesis proposal.
- Approve final thesis for submission for Honors consideration.
Following submission of the HST Thesis, two readers in the student’s field of study are tapped to review and evaluate the student’s thesis. Readers are expected to:
- Review, evaluate and provide anonymous feedback.
Provide an oral examination for students submitting for Honors consideration.
HST MD Thesis Proposal Form (pdf) – due October 31st
Note: Examples of acceptable theses from previous years are available for perusal in the HST office at HMS, TMEC 213.
Following receipt of readers’ feedback, you will electronically submit an updated PDF copy of your thesis based on the comments using Harvard’s Thesis & Dissertation Submission System. Please also provide one final paper copy printed on archival paper to the HST Office.
There is a short video guide to ETDs submission at this page. You will enter information on five screens, uploading a PDF copy of your thesis at the fourth screen. Submission is simple and should only take 5-10 minutes. Mandatory fields have an asterisk at left, and each screen has yellow “sticky notes” at the right of the screen that explain important features on that page. There is also explanatory “hover text” that appears when you place the cursor over any field.
Harvard Medical School Honors in a Special Field
HST students are encouraged to submit their theses for consideration for oral examination for Harvard Medical School Honors in a Special Field. Students must submit an intent to submit for honors by early October of their year of graduation.
Note: A Ph.D. thesis may not be so submitted, but any spin-off work arising out of this research, which was not contained in the original Ph.D. thesis, may be used to this end.
Students working towards a simultaneous M.D./M.S. may submit the same thesis for honors if desired. Honors in a Special Field implies far more than just discussing one's thesis research; it includes demonstrating broad knowledge and insight in the disciplinary area(s) of that research.