Logistics of Student Research

Time Available for Research

Practically all students begin research work during the summer following their first year. For example, during the summer of 2016, 83 (of 92) first year medical students remained in New Haven to work with faculty members on a wide variety of projects. Stipends are available to support this summer research and other periods when full-time research is performed. Many students continue their research work in the afternoons, evening and weekends during the second year of medical school. There is an additional eight week block available for student research during the summer before beginning the third year. Additional three month blocks are available in late third year to mid-fourth year for completion of research work. Thus, a total of six to nine months is currently available for research by each Yale student during four years at medical school.

A reminder: We recommend that the actual time devoted to data collection (laboratory or other) be accomplished in a ten-to-sixteen week period or its equivalent in days. Additional time is then needed for planning and literature review, for evaluation of data and final write-up. Stipend support is for full-time periods when students are carrying out the research, but financial support is not provided for writing the thesis.

For information on funding opportunities, go to Funding Opportunities.

Yale Curriculum is Favorable for Student Research

The Yale curriculum provides an ideal milieu for encouraging research training by students because the curriculum differs in important elements from traditional medical school curricula as follows:

  1. The number of scheduled class hours is less than other medical schools in the United States. 
  2. The lack of competition through unsigned examinations in basic science courses is unique. 
  3. The M.D. thesis requirement at Yale is unique although the Harvard curriculum and the new curriculum at Duke include a research elective component.

Thus, there is substantial time available for training and independent research by students. There is an established tradition for faculty to encourage students as colleagues in a community of scientists. Finally, Yale Medical School recruits an outstanding body of students who at the time of matriculation are aware of the requirements and expectations for creative scholarly work. This system has spawned a large number of eminent M.D. investigators.