MSCI Thesis Process
Students in the MSCI program are required to complete a research thesis that provides a culminating experience and applies the principles and methods learned in the coursework to a real-life clinical study.
The goal of the thesis component is to demonstrate the student’s understanding of the clinical research process from both a theoretical and a practical point of view. Students conduct their thesis research in wide variety of settings, including academic medical centers and local drug or device companies.
Students generally identify their research mentor and develop their thesis proposal while they are completing their course work or practicum. The thesis research must involve the analysis and interpretation of data. Students are encouraged but are not required to conduct primary data collection. The thesis proposal, research mentors and thesis readers must be approved by the MSCI Program Director prior to starting the thesis project.
Thesis Readers: Each student must select at least 2 readers for their thesis. One of the readers must be a subject expert. If either of the readers are not Faculty within the GMS Division, a Special Appointment form [Special Appointment Form] must be completed and submitted to the GMS Office, along with the reader’s CV, for approval. [PLEASE NOTE: A Special Appointment form must be completed for each non-GMS Faculty reader] The research mentor cannot be a reader.
Reader Outside of BU: If one of the readers is not Faculty at BU, they must be assigned as a second reader and the Special Appointment requirements apply.
The research project must be well conceived and well focused. The written thesis should be of modest scope and should meet the current standards of publication in referred journals. The completed thesis must be approved by the thesis readers, at least one of whom is considered an expert in the field of research. Once the final draft is approved by the readers, the student gives a short oral presentation on the thesis research to the thesis readers, research mentor, MSCI students and faculty members, and any other interested parties. The purpose of the oral presentation is to demonstrate the student’s ability (1) to describe clearly the thesis research question, methods, and results, (2) to demonstrate his/her understanding of study design and analytic principles and methods, and (3) to place his/her research into a clinical context. The presentation is followed by a question and answer period.
The first step in the thesis process is developing and presenting a Thesis Proposal to the MSCI Director and Assistant Director for approval.
The MSCI Thesis Proposal (usually 1-2 pages) which describes the nature of the thesis research, with a clear statement of the research question or hypothesis must be presented to the MSCI Director and Assistant Director for approval prior to embarking on the thesis project. The specific primary outcome measure that will be used to answer the study question should be clearly described. A brief description of the planned statistical analysis is required. The proposal should conclude with a description of your role in the thesis research. The minimum role is formulating and conducting the analysis, and interpreting and writing up the results. In addition, a proposed time line for completion should be agreed upon by the student and the MSCI Director.
For more information please see:
- Thesis Timelines
- Thesis Title Page for MA and MS Students
- MSCI Thesis Description
- MSCI Thesis Proposal
- MSCI Thesis Mentor and Reader Responsibilities
- Thesis & Defense Preparation Points
- Mugar Library Thesis Guidelines
- Research Guide for Writers of Theses and Electronic Submission (updated 11/13)
- BU Authorization to Manage Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
- MA and MS Diploma Application
- Guideline Letter for Mentors Outside of Boston University