Science Scholars: Fundamentals of Research

For nine years, Science Scholars has been a program lead by MD-PhD students at Dartmouth that aims to introduce first year medical students at the Geisel School of Medicine to the fundamentals of scientific research. First introduced as an interest club, this program has recently grown into a selective enrichment elective course with a rich curriculum in which students attain the basic skills for a future career in basic, translational, or clinical research through workshops led by Dartmouth faculty members, as well as one-on-one mentorship sessions.

Workshops and Mentoring

The goal of this year-long elective course is to prepare medical students for a scientific research experience during the summer between the first and second years of medical school, as a launch pad for research activities in their future careers. In the series of thirteen workshops, students will develop a foundation in basic research skills, such as the following:

  • Basic understanding of statistical methods utilized in basic, translational, and clinical research
  • Reading scientific literature
  • Designing and testing hypotheses
  • Basic understanding of clinical trials
  • Managing resources for scientific writing
  • Writing a specific aims page

Outside of formal instruction, all Science Scholars are expected to meet with their assigned peer mentors (PhD students, MD-PhD students, or MD students who are Science Scholars alumni) on a monthly basis to discuss research and career goals, including potential summer research activities and funding, and gain assistance with writing their resumes, abstracts, posters, and publications.

Formal Requirements

Students are required to attend at least 80% of the scheduled workshops, meet with their mentors about once per month, and complete the final project (a specific aims page), which they will present at the final session. As with any other enrichment elective at Geisel, upon successful completion, students will receive a note on their transcript listing the attendance of “Fundamentals of Science” as a non-required course (NRC).