Distinction in Research Program

MD Degree with Distinction in Research (DIR)

Distinction in Research (DIR) is a Rutgers RWJMS program, wherein on completion, medical students who demonstrate commitment to dedicating time to conduct a research project and producing concrete results in the form of a thesis report or publication are granted a diploma and/or recognition in the Medical Student’s Performance Evaluation (MSPE) letter.

One of the main requirements for a successful DIR application is the identification of a research mentor who is proficient in the field of medicine that you are interested in, is willing to guide you in research design (hypothesis, methodology), provide you with the required resources, and support your performance. In order to help you navigate the process of finding a mentor best suited to your research interests, the DIR Committee has created a Mentorship Program whose participants are committed to becoming research mentors and/or advisors. We are convinced that the Mentorship Program participants will make a significant contribution to the implementation of your research plans. Graduation with DIR is beneficial for you in terms of establishing a professional relationship with senior faculty within our institution and for your future academic career development (" DIR Mentorship Program").

Program requirements outline

  1. Submit an original research project in clinical or basic science that is not part of any other degree (PhD, MS, MPH, etc.)
  2. Complete and submit Application, Research Proposal, Mentor Letter, Student and Mentor CV ( Program Application, Guidelines for Students and Mentors) to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Rutgers RWJMS prior to March 1 or August 1.
  3. The decision letter (approval, approval with condition, or nor accepted) will be sent to the students after the August or March meetings of the DIR committee.
  4. Following acceptance to the DIR program, the DIR Student Advisory Committee (SAC) comprised of student mentor, DIR Committee Liaison and RWJMS faculty member designated by the DIR Committee (or suggested by the student or mentor) will be organized to provide guidance and feedback as well as evaluate student performance in their research project.
  5. Student must meet with SAC members to discuss performance prior to submission of Interim Evaluation Forms and Final Evaluation Forms, including thesis report or manuscript to the DIR Committee.
  6. Interim evaluation forms (SAC Interim Evaluation Form) signed by the mentor and SAC members must be submitted to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs on March 1 and/or August 1.
  7. Submission of final evaluation forms (SAC Final Evaluation Form), written product (thesis report or manuscript, submitted or published) and the mentor’s letter to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs by August 1 of the graduation year will be taken into consideration for graduating the student with a "Distinction in Research" diploma and his or her recognition in the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) letter.
  8. Submission of final evaluation forms and written product to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs after August 1 but prior to March 1 will be taken into consideration by the DIR Committee for graduating the student with a “Distinction in Research" diploma.
  9. Students who successfully fulfill the DIR program requirements will receive the “Distinction in Research" diploma at the Commencement ceremony and will be recognized in the MSPE letter if the program was completed prior to August 1st of the student’s graduation year.

For additional information contact

Anna Petrova MD, PhD, MPH

Chair, DIR Committee
Rutgers RWJMS 
Professor of Pediatrics
Department of Pediatrics, MEB 236
Tel: 732-235-7319
Cell: 732-322-9132