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Academic Success

Frequently Asked Questions

For specific questions concerning clinical, basic science, and translational medicine research contact the Advisory Committee for Student Research (


Is it mandatory to complete summer research?

No, participating in summer research (either through a School of Medicine sponsored program or at another institution) is not mandatory. The Office of Student Affairs encourages students to use their summer break between the first & second years of medical school to relax and recharge. Many of our students (approximately 70% of each class) chose to participate in the summer research program.

When should I start looking for a summer research project?

The Office of Student Affairs and the Student Research Advisory Committee encourages all first year students to attend Scholarship Day on the first Wednesday evening in November. During the event, second year students present their summer research projects in the form of professional posters. First year students can browse ongoing projects and speak to second year students about their experiences. In addition, the Office of Student Affairs builds a summer research database to distribute to first year students in late November. This database contains information from different faculty mentors who are willing to mentor a first year student during the summer. First year students can use this database as a starting point to contact different mentors and browse research opportunities.  

Does my mentor have to be a faculty member? Should I rely on this one mentor?

Yes, your mentor has to be an appointed faculty member or in the process of obtaining a faculty appointment at the School of Medicine. This faculty mentor should serve as your primary investigator (PI). In addition to this faculty member, a member of the Student Research Advisory Committee will serve as your in-house mentor. Your in-house mentor will review your stipend application, review and approve your final poster prior to Scholarship Day and be available to help guide your through creating your poster.

Are global health opportunities included in summer research?

Global health research projects follow the same criteria of any other research project. Students must operate under the guidance of a faculty member and the majority of the project must be spent on a research project (not travel or service aboard). All projects will be vetted by the Student Research Advisory Committee prior to approval.

How do I secure funding for summer research?

Summer research stipends are available through an application process, managed by the Office of Student Affairs in conjunction with approval from the Student Research Advisory Committee. Stipend applications will be made available to first year medical students with the database in late November. The deadline for completing these applications is the third Friday in February. The Office of Student Affairs will send detailed information about this application to first year students during the beginning of the spring semester.

When do I find out if my stipend application was approved?

Stipend applications are reviewed by members of the Student Research Advisory Committee. Applications are typically approved by the middle of April and notification will be sent our via your Pride email by the Office of Student Affairs. Stipend checks will be made available by July. 

Is there a statistician available to help analyze data from my project?

Yes, there is a statistician available for summer research projects in which medical students need help analyzing data they collected. The Office of Student Affairs will send this information out to students participating in summer research during the summer months.

I have never created a professional poster before. How do I start? When is the poster deadline?

In August, the Office of Student Affairs will send out Poster Guidelines, a Sample Poster Format and upon request examples from last year's posters. In addition, please reach out to your in-house mentor for guidance as you start this process. Final posters should be emailed to the Office of Student Affairs ( in PDF format by the third Friday in September.

Are there certain specialities that require research and will look for a summer research project?

While research is not a formal requirement, there are certain competitive specialities that look for research in a residency application. Example of some specialities are anesthesiology, dermatology, emergency medicine, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics, plastic surgery, and urology. The benefit of participating in research is dependent on the student and the scope of the project. In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in research during elective time and the option to take an Academic Leave of Absence. Either of these options would be vetting by the members of the Student Research Advisory Committee and must have IRB approval.

Summer Research Program