Student Research

Image: Harvard Medical School, Dylan Neel

HMS students will find hundreds of opportunities to carry out research, from hypothesis-based research in the basic and clinical sciences to research in the social sciences, arts, and medical humanities. Faculty at Harvard-based labs and affiliated hospitals all offer opportunities for HMS students. Students also find research opportunities across the US and abroad. While some students locate research opportunities in their first year, most students will carry out research in their third or fourth year, after they have completed their principal clinical experience in their second year.

Over half of any HMS class chooses to take an extra year for either research or study toward a second degree. Those who elect to take a research year may apply for external or HMS funding.

HMS students have been successful in obtaining fellowships from:

HMS also has a robust faculty advising structure to help students identify cutting-edge projects that fit their interests.

Objectives of the Scholarly Project

The scholarly project should meet the following objectives:

  • Addresses a problem or idea related to medicine approached from a variety of scientific or social science fields
  • Demonstrates original work by the student
  • Fosters an extended, mutually beneficial partnership between the student and faculty mentor
  • Sparks curiosity, develops critical thinking skills, and offers analytical tools for the future physician-scholar

The scholarly project can be completed in 4-12 months. Students submit a proposal at the beginning of their project that must be approved by a designated faculty reviewer and write a report at the end of the experience that is also reviewed by faculty.

Completing a scholarly project is a graduation requirement. MD/PhD students will fulfill the scholarly project requirement with their dissertation. London Society students submit a thesis meeting the scholarly project requirement. Students who complete the MBA, MPH, MPP, MPA, or MEd degrees during medical school will be expected to submit a scholarly project to Harvard Medical School. These scholarly projects can be undertaken as joint projects between Harvard Medical School and the other degree program, and will be subject to joint review and approval.

Students may find scholarly projects through the SMO Opportunities Database (using an ecommons login); conversations with Society Fellows, faculty, SMO staff, and fellow students; area seminars; HMS and Harvard websites; and the Harvard Catalyst website.

Excellence in Student Mentoring Awards

HMS Scholars in Medicine Excellence in Student Mentoring Award

Image, Harvard Medical SchoolImage: Harvard Medical School

The HMS Scholars in Medicine Excellence in Student Mentoring Award was established to recognize the value of quality mentoring relationships and the impact they have on student research and professional development. Graduating HMS students are invited to nominate their mentors and include a narrative of how the faculty member’s mentoring has affected their progress as a successful medical student.

The recipients for 2017-2018 are:

  • Gail Kurr Adler, PhD, MD; Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Jennifer Kasper, MD, MPH; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital; Chair, Faculty Advisory Committee on Global Health, HMS Scholars in Medicine Program
  • Louise Catherine Ivers, MD; Executive Director for Massachusetts General Hospital Global Health; Associate Physician in the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine; and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.