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Yale School of Medicine’s Research Tradition

History of Student Research

A written thesis has been one of the requirements for the MD degree at Yale for over 180 years. Initially, case reports and reviews of literature predominated, but as the scientific method was established in medicine, the faculty required that dissertations presented be based on original investigation from either laboratory or clinical realms. Over time the research program has been formalized to include courses in the curriculum and dedicated time for experiential learning, culminating in the submission of a written thesis.

The research experience at YSM teaches students how to critically appraise existing evidence to establish a strong premise for their projects; specify a clear, significant, and innovative research question; collect and analyze data using rigorous methods that adhere to all relevant ethical standards and regulations; and clearly communicate research findings in written, spoken, and digital forms to maximize their impact on communities of interest. As such, the completion of the YSM research program and thesis will enable students to evaluate data critically for the rest of their professional lives.