All students at Yale University School of Medicine engage in research and are required to write an M.D. thesis during medical school, with the exception of students who have a Ph.D. degree in the biological sciences before matriculation. A wide choice of subjects for research is permitted. Students may choose basic laboratory projects or may investigate clinical, translational epidemiologic or sociologic (including medicine and humanities) topics. Publications in the literature may serve as the source of data for research. Two basic requirements apply to all thesis research projects: (1) there must be a specific hypothesis that can be supported or rejected by new data that are generated by the student. Data must be subjected to statistical analysis and results should either confirm or reject the original hypothesis; and (2) the research mentor must be a full-time faculty member at the School of Medicine.
A close working relationship between the student and faculty research mentor is a major goal of this program and is strongly encouraged. When laboratory research is performed, it is the responsibility of the faculty advisor to provide all necessary space, equipment and supplies. If the project is concerned with clinical or epidemiological investigation, the same commitment to guidance and support is expected. Weekly conferences between student and advisor are encouraged during the course of the research. The research must be designed and specifically performed by the student with the advice of the faculty mentor. Students may not work jointly on a research project.