Other Medical Student Research Opportunities

Medical Student Extended Research Program

The objective of this program is to provide an opportunity for medical students to participate in either a short-term or a sustained research program during their medical school training.  The subject area may include, but shall not be limited to classical biomedical investigation such as biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, etc.  Alternatively, work in the humanities on a medically related topic, medical ethics, health care delivery, medical economics or medico-legal issues is appropriate for this program.

  • Option 1 (Short-term Program): This program is intended to incorporate and define in greater detail the current seven week research opportunity for medical students which is available during the summer following Year I.  The Short-term Program provides the opportunity to extend the seven-week project into free time in Years II and III and elective periods in Year IV.  For any of these alternatives, students will select a faculty mentor who is knowledgeable and experienced in providing guidance to students with limited research experience and a limited time frame.  No thesis committee or prior proposal is required for this activity. Credit for up to three months of elective time spent on the project in Year IV will be awarded, subject to approval by the Electives Committee.  The submission of an acceptable report to the Office for Research is required.
  • Option 2 (Year-Long Program): This program provides an extended and intensive research experience to interested students.  The project may represent continuation of a project carried out during summer research following Year I, but can be initiated formally only after completion of Year II.  The work will involve an additional research year which can be taken after Year II or III, or under exceptional circumstances, Year IV.  The student must identify a mentor and jointly with that mentor, select a research supervisory committee consisting of two additional faculty:  one from a basic science department and one from a clinical department.  The student will prepare a brief (1-2 page) research proposal reflecting the hypothesis for the project, the methods to be employed, and a time schedule.  This proposed plan must be approved by the committee, which will meet every 3-4 months to provide oversight of the work for the entire project period.  A report in the format of a scientific paper must be submitted to the committee and the Office for Research by 31 January of the year of anticipated graduation.  The student must make an oral presentation of his/her research to the committee or, preferably, as part of a departmental seminar program.  The committee must approve the successful completion of all requirements by 31 March.  Recognition for this extended research will appear on the student’s transcript as “Distinction in Research” and an additional certificate will be awarded at graduation. Certain external programs, such as those funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute or the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation may substitute for the internal, year-long program.  Please contact the Office for Research in advance for approval of such a program.

Note: Students participating in the year-long program, after completion of their third year, may apply for up to three months of elective credit through the Electives Committee.  However, they may not receive stipends/wages for the work performed during those three months.

Other medical student research opportunities

NIH Clinical Electives Program (CEP) for Medical and Dental Students (for third- and fourth-year students).  This program is a unique opportunity for senior medical and dental students to gain invaluable experience in the medical field and obtain graduation credit.  The CEP offers four to 12-week clinical elective rotations to both national and international senior medical or dental students in a multitude of medical disciplines at the NIH Clinical Center. Students can choose from a total of 33 clinical electives.  Rotations provide students with the opportunity for direct experience in the care of patients enrolled in investigational protocols under the mentorship of world renowned clinician-scientists.  Participants also learn about the design and conduct of clinical trials and fundamental principles of translational medicine while evaluating or treating patients in the clinic or on the wards.  In addition, the program offers a number of opportunities for students who are interested in research-only rotations.

To be eligible for most electives, a student must have completed clerkships in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Surgery (or have verification of a passing grade in the case of pending clerkships).  Questions regarding the program are answered on the CEP website under “FAQs.”