The central role of the medical student thesis is to educate students in the application of rigorous methodologies and creative self-discipline to the asking and answering of a specific question. As such, all students are expected to produce an excellent piece of scholarly work. It is recognized that some theses may be truly exceptional and, as such, merit consideration for a prize at graduation. The basis for this recognition includes the thesis being an outstanding work based on original observations made by the student. Only one thesis per department, or 20% of the total theses in a given department, may be submitted for honors, and at maximum 16 students per graduating class are eligible to receive a prize. Additionally, many departments recognize outstanding submission with a “Departmental Honors” designation. It should be noted that in past years, prize nominations have been colloquially referred to as “honors.” Note that YSM does not confer degrees with “honors.” A limited number of students may graduate cum laude (“with distinction”). More information about the cum laude designation is found in the Yale Bulletin.