Students must earn 64 credits (56 credits if joint degree with HMS MD), generally meeting the requirements with 32 credits of course work and 32 credits of mentored research.
A typical timeline for the 64-credit program appears below.
Fall Semester: four courses (in addition to longitudinal core seminar)
• Quantitative Research in Medical Education (4 credits)
• Qualitative Research Methods (4 credits)
• Teaching 100: The Theory & Science of Teaching (2 credits)
• One Elective (4 credits). Program recommends statistics course at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). Curriculum includes three approved electives based on career goals and thesis project: these should be chosen to support the student’s goals, such as a course in curriculum development, teaching methods, adult development, etc., depending on the student’s professional trajectory and objective learning needs.
Spring Semester: three courses (in addition to longitudinal core seminar)
• Learning Design Practicum for Medical Educators (4 credits)
• Two electives (see above) (4 credits each)
At the end of Year 1, in May, students will begin research and enroll in the Harvard Macy Institute's Program for Educators in Health Professions. Students will identify an important initial slice of their master’s research work to be completed by October when the second half of this course reconvenes. This will help ensure their thesis research gets solid momentum and they are ready for a productive second year devoted primarily to research.
• The Harvard Macy’s curriculum also contains broad attention to, and practice with, core educational practices. The Harvard Macy course is both complementary to and supportive of the core skill training that the longitudinal seminar advances.
Through the Harvard Macy courses and the longitudinal seminar, all students will have coursework directly fostering teaching skills and pedagogy. Although the curricular plan of the longitudinal seminar is devised to ensure adequate development of pedagogic and other core educator skills across a variety of teaching venues, if students or their advisor feels further work is needed, the required electives will be used to fill those needs.
In June, each student will take the Harvard Macy Institute's Leading Innovations in Healthcare and Education course. This course has two core curricular themes—both of which advance the goals of the master’s program:
• Educational leadership
• Educational innovation
The second year is devoted primarily to research. The mentored research project is the central component of the degree. The project will drive learning and imbue the learner and the community of learners with skills, practice, and ultimately scholarly productivity. The structure, processes, oversight and ethos of inquiry, research, scholarship, and innovation will pervade the program.
HMS is graced by an abundance of skilled researchers and educational mentors, many of whom currently teach at the graduate level. Given the challenges of completing a research project within 21 months, students will be required to identify a specific area of research as part of their application to the program. Since most of our students will already have a terminal professional or academic degree, we anticipate that they will already have reasonably defined goals and interests related to the program, and will have explored potential mentors and projects prior to beginning the program.
Each student will also have a thesis mentor approved by the Director of the MMSc-Medical Education program. All thesis mentors will be expected to have and maintain an appointment at Harvard, and all students will be expected to have a thesis mentor. For students pursuing research projects outside of Harvard and its affiliates, additional mentors at home institutions will also be involved. In such cases, the Harvard mentor will be expected to coordinate closely with the mentor at the student’s home institution. Even if the research is being primarily done outside of Harvard, the Harvard thesis mentor is ultimately responsible for ensuring the quality of the research experience, in part by ensuring robust assessment of and feedback from the mentor on-site. Regular meetings with the Harvard thesis mentor either in person or by Skype (or equivalent) will be expected regardless of the location of the research. Each thesis mentor will have responsibility for guiding her/his student in conceptualizing the research project, designing an appropriate methodology to address the questions involved, shepherding the protocol through the appropriate regulatory requirements if necessary, analyzing the data, writing up the results, and preparing the work for publication.