M.D. with Honors

Honors in Research The goal of the M.D. with Honors in Research Program is to encourage and recognize achievements in biomedical research by medical students of the Medical College (other than those in the M.D.-Ph.D. programs). In order to obtain the honors designation, the student must complete successfully a clinical or laboratory research project undertaken at Weill Cornell or one of its affiliated medical centers and supervised by a member of the Medical College faculty. The project, which must have approval by the chairman of the participating department and the faculty supervisor, as well as the Student Research Committee, as described below, may be undertaken at any time during the student's tenure in the Medical College. The student's time commitment to the research may vary from elective periods undertaken during the academic years, to research performed during summer vacations, or to full-time involvement in research undertaken during a one or two year academic leave of absence (see Policy on Leave of Absence.) Research performed to satisfy the Advanced Biomedical Science Requirement should be considered for this award.

Awarding of the degree of M.D. with Honors in Research will be based upon the quality of the research project completed by the student. The student should complete a body of work which will comprise a scientific paper of quality suitable for publication in a major scientific journal. This research report will be submitted by the student to the Office of Academic Affairs by February 1st of the year of the expected degree. The report must be endorsed by the chair and the faculty supervisor of the sponsoring department. The Office of Academic Affairs will then forward the report and supporting documents to the chairman of the Student Research Committee. If awarded, the student's diploma and transcript will indicate that the student achieved an "M.D. with Honors in Research."

The M.D. with Honors in Research Program will be administered by the Student Research Committee which is appointed by the Dean. To the extent feasible, it will distribute information on research opportunities for students, assist in the distribution of the research paper for review and have final authority in recommending students to the Dean for the degree of M.D. with Honors in Research. The determination of the Student Research Committee in recommending students to the Dean for this award is final.

Honors in Service. The designation of M.D. with Honors in Service encourages students with an interest in and commitment to community service to develop their interest and abilities in service to the community and to recognize excellence in their achievement. The Honors designation will appear on the student’s diploma and transcript.

Certain students are exceptional in their dedication to community service and the responsibility they accept to further this activity. Their projects require individual special efforts and their accomplishments stand out among their peers, and represent the best efforts to assist persons in the community who struggle to obtain needed medical and social services. The student projects often may enhance the limited range of medical services that those persons already receive. In addition, many of these projects represent outstanding examples of the scholarships of integration, methods, and application, requiring innovation on the part of the student. Finally, these outstanding projects are often the launch pad to a highly productive and scholarly career in health research, administration and public policy. Such students are deserving of the opportunity to receive recognition of their excellence by according them the designation of ”M.D. with Honors in Service” at the time of graduation.

Requirements and Procedures for Selection: The requirement for the designation of M.D. with Honors in Service has two components: A time and commitment component and an original scholarly research paper component. The time and commitment component is based on the student’s activity as a volunteer in the Community Service Program. The student who wishes to be considered for the M.D. with Honors in Service should submit an application to the Office of Academic Affairs presenting information showing the applicant has:
  1. Accepted leadership responsibility for a program/activity for at least one full year;
  2. Demonstrated innovation in improving an existing program/activity or starting a new program that has gained acceptance by student participants in the Community Service Program;
  3. Assisted substantively the participation of first and second year students in the Community Service Program; and
  4. Helped to establish or maintain sustainability of a program/activity for which leadership responsibility was assumed or, for valid, rational reasons, terminated the program/activity.

Applications will be evaluated by the Student Service Committee, appointed by the Dean, to determine the success with which applicants have fulfilled the enumerated criteria. The Committee shall include the Associate Dean (Student Affairs) as Chair, the Assistant Dean (Student Affairs), the Community Service Program Coordinator, the Chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee of Community Service Programs, the Senior Associate Dean (Education), one 4th year representative of the MSEC and two 4th year students (selected by the prior year’s Committee as having fulfilled the criteria).

Third year student applicants selected by the Committee to have fulfilled these time and commitment criteria will be invited to submit an original paper which will be considered as the scholarly research component for eligibility for the M.D. with Honors in Service. The original paper written by the student will be supervised by a faculty member and will be submitted for consideration together with a letter from a faculty sponsor which addresses aspects of the student’s community service involvement.

The paper should address, as applicable, the following:
  • A description of the problem addressed by the program/activity;
  • A description of the organizational structure in which the service was rendered;
  • A description of the recipients of the services;
  • An analysis of why the recipients were in need of this service by volunteers;
  • An analysis of ethical issues related to why the recipients were in need of this service; and
  • A description of one activity, potentially implementable at the present time, that would decrease the dependence of the recipients on volunteers for this service or otherwise improve the program.
As an alternative, a student may submit a detailed analysis of an activity/program that describes the mission/purpose of the program, the strengths and weaknesses of the existing program in carrying out its mission/purpose, the extent to which the existing program did/does succeed in carrying out its mission, and specific measures, implementable by students, to improve the ability/capacity of the program to fulfill its mission.

The student paper is to be intellectually rigorous and of similar length (8-12 double spaced pages) to a scientific paper submitted for publication. It will be evaluated by the Student Service Committee which will make recommendations to the Dean regarding those students who have met the requirements for receiving the designation M.D. with Honors in Service at Commencement. The decision of the Committee shall be final.

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