Scholarship Project Guidelines


The scholarship project requirement for students in the Generalist Scholars Program (GSP) of the University of Virginia School of Medicine is designed to encourage a longitudinal, integrated scholarship experience above and beyond the general medical school curriculum. Students are expected to pursue excellence in scholarship concerning the current or future practice of primary care medicine in the United States or internationally. Throughout the research and writing process, GSP students should endeavor to develop the critical skills necessary for future scholarly leadership in the field of primary care. While projects do not need to be published in peer-reviewed journals, students’ are expected to produce scholarship of publishable quality and interest.

Focus areas for the GSP scholarship project may include clinical research, public health, health policy, narrative medicine, medical anthropology, history of medicine, the social sciences, curriculum development, patient education or any other allied discipline of significance to generalist medicine and may be either qualitative or quantitative in nature. Projects may also be interdisciplinary in methodology.


In consultation with faculty mentors, GSP students will begin developing scholarship projects in the fall semester of their first year of medical school. Students are expected to work with their faculty mentor and the GSP scholarship coordinator to identify a topic that is of interest to the student and that is of significance to generalist medicine. This topic should be identified prior to the start of the spring semester of the first year of medical school.

Early in the spring semester of the first year  students will continue to work with their faculty mentor and the GSP scholarship coordinator to narrow the scope of their project. During the spring semester, students are expected to complete a systematic review of the literature surrounding their topic, identify potential data sources, develop protocols that can be used to collect and synthesize data, and cultivate other resources necessary to complete the project. All students should work with their mentor and the scholarship coordinator to develop a timeline and a series of measurable benchmarks to guide project progress during the summer following first year and the succeeding three years.

Discussion and selection of topics within the focus areas delineated above should culminate in a project proposal to be presented to and approved by the student’s faculty mentor and the GSP scholarship coordinator no later than April 1  of the student’s first year.

All GSP students register for the Medical Student Summer Research Program (MSSRP) during the first year. The MSSRP provides the administrative structure required to allow students to work on their scholarship projects during the summer after the first year. Unlike other students participating in the MSSRP, approval and support of all GSP scholarship projects is coordinated by the GSP faculty, not the MSSRP faculty and staff

The GSP project proposal will serve as the basis for the formal MSSRP proposal, which is due to the MSSRP at the end of April. Students are expected to work with their GSP faculty mentor and the GSP Scholarship Coordinator to make necessary revisions prior to submission of the MSSRP proposal. The project proposal should be no more than 5 double spaced pages and should include the following:

  1. Project title
  2. A review of the literature surrounding the students topic
  3. Project objective
  4. Research questions (where applicable)
  5. Hypotheses (where applicable)
  6. Data sources
  7. Variables (where applicable)
  8. Proposed methodology
  9. Timeline of deliverables with measurable benchmarks

The majority of the scholarship project research or activities will be completed during the summer following the first year of medical school. If necessary, students may continue data collection or other scholarship related activities throughout the second, third and fourth years.  In the 4th year students may also choose to use elective time to work further on their scholarship project.

Research and resources utilized may be qualitative or quantitative, and may include statistics, peer-reviewed journals, scholarly and literary texts, ethnography, patient interviews, participatory observations, and any other resources relevant to the focus area selected by the student.

Students will be required to submit a paper on the status of their project following the summer after their 1st year. Papers should follow the format of the MSSRP Final Project Report. All papers should be submitted to the student’s GSP mentor, project mentor (where necessary) and the GSP scholarship coordinator no less than three weeks prior to the MSSRP Final Project Report deadline. Students are expected to make necessary revisions, obtain necessary signatures and submit the Final Project Report to the MSSRP prior to the MSSRP deadline.

Throughout the course of the design, research, and writing process, GSP faculty mentors will provide formal oral and/or written feedback to mentees. In addition to serving on the student’s Review Committee (see below), mentors will offer their mentees evaluative comments during the following three periods: 1.) Following the student’s submission of a proposal to their mentor and scholarship coordinator (April 1st of first year); 2.) Following the student’s completion of scholarship activity and submission of a draft written paper for MSSRP (3 weeks prior to MSSRP submission deadline)


  1. Scholarship project should be appropriate to the manner of scholarship presentation and to the focus area selected.  (e.g. approximately 4,000 words for an article-style thesis in a peer-reviewed journal of clinical research; 5,000 or more for original historical research or curriculum development and/or implementation). Students are expected to consult with faculty mentors to determine appropriate length. Text pages should be double-spaced using 12 point font, with 1” margins.
  2. Notes may be either footnotes or endnotes, as is appropriate to the manner of scholarly presentation standard in the academic discipline(s) selected for the project.
  3. The organization of the thesis should be appropriate to the manner of scholarly presentation selected for the project. All theses must include an abstract.
  4. The bibliography should contain at least ten references and should be in Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals format


  1. Three copies of the final draft scholarship report should be submitted to the student’s GSP faculty mentor and other members of the review committee for review no later than March 1st of the student’s fourth year.
  2. Upon approval by the faculty mentor and GSP scholarship coordinator a final scholarship report should be given to the GSP office for filing.


  1. The scholarship written report will be evaluated by a Review Committee composed of three readers: the student’s GSP faculty mentor, one other GSP faculty member, and one non-GSP faculty member (from a discipline appropriate for the thesis topic, selected by the student and mentor together, and invited to participate by the mentor).
  2. Readers’ evaluations will include constructive comments on content, organization, and style; attention will be paid to writing skills with regard to coherence, carefulness, and appropriateness for presentation.
  3. Grading is pass/fail, based on a consensus of the review committee.
  4. The Review Committee’s full evaluation shall be completed and distributed to the student by no later than March 31st.


A scholarship presentation forum will be held for all GSP students, faculty, and other invited guests in May.  Each 4th year student will give a 10 minute presentation of their scholarship project, to be followed by 5 minutes of questions and discussion.  The presentation, prepared with the advice and guidance of the GSP faculty mentor and the GSP scholarship coordinator, should not be merely a reading of the paper, but rather a creative summary that engages the audience in the material (link to details of this presentation)


Successful completion of the scholarship requirement (a passing grade and a presentation) is necessary to fulfill the terms of the Generalist Scholars Program under which scholarship monies were granted.