Students in the MSCI program are required to complete a clinical research thesis that applies the principles and methods learned in the coursework to a real-life clinical study. The goal of the thesis is to demonstrate the student’s understanding of the clinical research process from both a theoretical and a practical point of view. The thesis is not a literature review.

Students conduct their thesis research in a 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 and Assistant Director prior to starting the thesis project.

For more information please see:

Thesis Proposal

The first step in the thesis process is developing and presenting the MSCI Thesis Proposal to the MSCI Director and Assistant Director for approval prior to embarking on the thesis project. The proposal is usually 1-2 pages and describes the nature of the thesis research, with a clear statement of the research question or hypothesis. The proposal should include:

  • A clear description of the specific primary outcome measure that will be used to answer the study question
  • A brief description of the planned statistical analysis
  • A description of your role in the thesis research- at a minimum, your role should include formulating and conducting the analysis, and interpreting and writing up the results
  • A proposed timeline for completion

Thesis Readers

Each MSCI student must select at least three readers for their thesis. One of the readers must be a subject expert. If a reader is not Faculty within the GMS, a Special Appointment form must be completed and submitted to the GMS Office, along with the reader’s CV, for approval. If one of the readers is not a BU faculty member, he or she must be assigned as a second reader and the Special Appointment requirements apply.

PLEASE NOTE: A Special Appointment form must be completed for each non-GMS Faculty reader. The research mentor cannot be a reader.

Oral Presentation

Once the near final draft is approved by the readers, the student will give a 20-30 minute 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.

Useful GMS Thesis Links: