MD Thesis

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.

Thesis Commitment

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 PhD or MS thesis prepared by a candidate for the MD degree while in residence may be submitted in fulfillment of the HST thesis requirement.

Dates and Procedures

  • Thesis proposals are due on or before October 31 of the second year.
  • Students will receive comments from the HST MD Thesis Committee within six weeks of submission of the proposal.
  • Theses are due on the first Monday in February of Year IV.
  • Please submit the original to the HST office at HMS, MEC 213, by 5:00pm on the first Monday in February of Year IV.
Examples of acceptable theses from previous years are available for in the HST office at HMS, MEC 213.

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 PhD thesis may not be so submitted, but any spin-off work arising out of this research, which was not contained in the original PhD thesis, may be used to this end.
Students working towards a simultaneous MD/MS 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.
Honors theses are due on the first Monday in February of the year of graduation.

Forms and Guidelines