3.03 Office of Scholarly Engagement

Office of Scholarly Engagement (OSE)

(formerly the Scholars in Medicine Office)

  • Manages the scholarly project graduation requirement for students who entered HMS in fall 2011 or later;
  • Advises students on research, community service, and global health opportunities, and related OSE and external funding;
  • Connects students to faculty affiliated with the above mentioned programs;
  • Assists students taking required and elective courses related to the scholarly project, exchange clerkships abroad, and language programs;
  • Alerts students to a wide array of out-of-classroom experiences, events, funding, and fellowships through a weekly e-newsletter News You Can Use;
  • Organizes instruction in Medical Spanish, Portuguese, and Mandarin for students who have interests in the practice of medicine in other cultures; and
  • Advises students on the process for graduating with honors in a special field (see below or Section 1.07).

Scholarly Project

All HMS students complete a scholarly project as a graduation requirement. The OSE works with New Pathway and Pathways students. The London Society works with students in that society. MD/PhD students use their PhD as their scholarly project. A scholarly project analyzes a medical or health-related question, issue, or problem in depth from any discipline, with close faculty mentorship. The Faculty Committee on Scholarship in Medicine (also known as Society Fellows) oversees the student’s scholarly project process.
Students searching for scholarly projects are strongly advised to read the weekly OSE e-newsletter, News You Can Use; search the OSE searchable projects database (see below) for both current faculty-offered scholarly opportunities and past student project information; and meet with OSE faculty and staff for advice.

Student Funding

The OSE is a primary source of student funding for:
• full time work on scholarly projects during a fifth year
• travel supplements for global projects or work outside of Boston in the US
• Boston or US-based community service
• select international clinical electives exchange programs
The OSE is also a source of information for year-off and other project funding available outside of Harvard.
Students participate in a rigorous application and review process to be eligible for OSE funding. It is available to students who are taking a fifth year or who are doing shorter-term research when they are not enrolled as full-time students. Students who are enrolled full-time at HMS are not eligible for OSE research funding. Students may apply to external sources of funding, even if the OSE does not provide funding for those experiences.

Foreign Language Learning Opportunities and Clerkships Abroad

OSE faculty and staff organize an intensive one month medical Spanish course at HMS (ME518M.41A). The OSE also organizes the longitudinal intermediate and advanced level medical Spanish, medical Portuguese, and the intermediate medical Mandarin courses. See https://meded.hms.harvard.edu/medical-languages.
HMS offers a Spanish-speaking four- to eight-week primary care clinical elective course (ME518M.41) at seven sites in Latin America during the academic year for students who have completed the PCE. Other exchange clinical electives are offered in Brazil, China, France, Jerusalem, Spain, and Taiwan. Supplemental travel funding for these electives is available from the OSE.

OSE Database of Opportunities and Projects

The OSE searchable projects database lists:
  • faculty-identified scholarly projects in which students can participate;
  • other research opportunities, service projects, internships, and training opportunities both in the US and abroad; and
  • student reports on their projects
Log into eCommons and then click here to access the database.
Students seeking local community service opportunities should contact the OSE and/or the HMS Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership (Section 3.19) for additional opportunities.

Soma Weiss Student Research Day

The OSE organizes the Soma Weiss Student Research Day held annually in since 1940. This celebration of scholarly work by HMS and HSDM students includes a poster session and oral presentations by students. Prizes are awarded for the best posters in several categories.

Honors in a Special Field

The MD degree with Honors in a Special Field (cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude) is awarded only to graduating degree candidates who have performed original and meritorious investigation and demonstrated ability, scholarship, and special knowledge of their research field. Students must submit an original thesis, pass an oral exam, and be in good academic standing at HMS to be eligible for Honors in a Special Field. Please refer to sections 1.07 and 2.03 for further information.
The Office of Scholarly Engagement (OSE) is located in Suite 347, on the quad side of the third floor in the TMEC.


Last updated 7/9/20