Student Research

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 the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Research Fellows Program, Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellowship, Sarnoff Medical Student Research Fellowships, NIH Medical Research Scholars Program, Fulbright US Student Program, and the American Society of Hematology Minority Medical Student Award Program, among dozens of other programs.

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

Graduation Requirement

Completing a research project is a graduation requirement for all MD students, whether enrolled in Pathways/New Pathway or HST. (HSDM students can visit the HSDM education page for research requirements.)

Scholarly Project (Pathways/New Pathway)

Pathways/New Pathway students conduct an independent investigation of a scholarly question and write up their findings under close faculty mentorship.

MD Research and Thesis (HST)

HST students submit a thesis based upon original scholarly and creative work done either in the laboratory or in the clinic under the direction of a faculty member.