Yale is one of the few medical schools to require a dissertation based on original research. The M.D. thesis, an essential part of the curriculum, is designed to develop critical judgment, habits of self-education, and application of the scientific method to medicine. Required since 1839, the thesis gives students the opportunity to work closely with faculty who are distinguished scientists, clinicians, and scholars.
Yale medical students are assisted with the planning, implementation and completion of research leading to a thesis. To facilitate research leading up to the thesis, three types of stipend support for student investigators are available:
- Summer research stipends
- Short-term student research stipends
- One-year student research fellowships
Stipends, on application, are available for Yale medical students doing at least one month of full time research including the following types of research: laboratory research, clinical research, translational research, epidemiology and public health research, international research, educational research, qualitative research, and research in the humanities in medicine, including history of medicine, medical/legal research and bioethics. All applications for funding require a hypothesis in biomedicine, must attempt to answer a question in biomedicine or should be hypothesis generating.
Furthermore, the School of Medicine encourages many students to consider a fifth year of medical school, devoting it exclusively to research training. Students present their research in poster sessions and oral presentations at the annual Student Research Day held in May.