Mentor Guidelines

If you are considering becoming a mentor for our Third Year students, the process for approval can be found HERE.

The following guidelines may help you in your mentoring experience. We hope you and your student(s) will find the research year a rich and rewarding experience. 

  1. Be prepared to add your student(s) to your research protocol and furnish your student with a copy of your IRB or IACUC approval or assist them in preparing a protocol if necessary.
  2. Be willing to allocate time and attention on a regular basis to the third year student(s) in your lab to provide them with a positive and meaningful research experience. It is recommended that you meet at least weekly alone with your student(s) (not just in a lab meeting).
  3. Share with your student(s) any information on seminars or courses available that they may need enrich their scholarly experience.  All third year students, except those with scholarships or extraordinary circumstances, are required to take the Clinical Skills continuity clinic. 
  4. Provide guidance to your student(s) to help with the preparation of a poster for AΩA Day (mandatory event) or other oral presentations.
  5. Students must accomplish 10 months of research. The School of Medicine calendar for third year students has three weeks of vacation. This includes a 2 week December break. Given the increasingly competitive nature of the residency application process and the increased importance of USMLE scores, the Third Year committee recommends that mentors allow students to study for Step 1 during a dedicated 4 weeks of time at the beginning of Third Year. Students are advised to discuss studying for board exams as early as possible with their mentors and Study Program Directors and completion of the Board Prepartion section of the Registration Form is required.
  6. Study program directors are available to help work out student issues or problems. They also must sign off on recommended grades and the required thesis as stated below.
  7. Theses are due the last day of research and must be revised to the point where both mentor and study program director are willing to sign off on a "pass" grade. The thesis carries three academic credits and is a grade separate from the research grade.  Please review Thesis Requirements prior to review. The study program director may return theses for revisions to both the mentor and student that do not meet the minimum requirements. We suggest at least 3 weeks in advance of the due date to allow time for appropriate modifications. 
    • Students must have all signatures (electronic or email signatures are acceptable) on the final thesis title page before the deadline. Thesis deadline extensions will be granted only under exceptional circumstances and require a formal request signed by the research mentor and approved by the Third Year Committee. Extension requests should be made well before the last day of research (three months is suggested), because if the request is denied, the student must still finish by the original deadline.
  8. Occasionally, students need to change their enrollment status (10 - 11 months, 11- 12 months, etc...)  or roll their deadline by one month if having taken one fourth year elective during the research year. The Form requesting changes must be submitted by May 15th of the research year.
  9. Please submit your students’ semester grades within three weeks of the end of the semester via the Electronic Grading procedure ( if you are Duke mentor. If you are an away mentor, please complete the Evaluation in Qualtrics using the link provided by the Third Year Office.


View Duke School of Medicine Goals and Objectives HERE.