Summer Research Program
All medical students enrolled at UT Southwestern Medical Center have the opportunity to engage in a variety of research activities - both basic and clinical - during the summer break in conjunction with faculty members. Many take advantage of this program each year. Most choose to participate during the summer before and after their first year.
Students begin the process of researching laboratories in which they will work during the school year, and then declare their choice in the spring.
- The research begins after the school year is over and lasts for approximately 10 weeks.
- Students are paid a research stipend during this period and are able to attend a series of weekly luncheon seminars in which faculty and former student researchers discuss the fundamentals of basic and clinical research.
The Office of the Associate Dean for Medical Student Research is charged with organizing these activities.
Summer Research FAQs
Who can participate?
Any student currently enrolled or accepted at UT Southwestern can participate in the Summer Research Program. NOTE: If you're are an undergraduate student interested in obtaining the Ph.D. degree or if you intend to apply to M.D./Ph.D. programs, you should apply to the SURF program.
How much experience is required?
No research experience is required.
When do I need to identify a mentor?
Students do not have to identify a mentor; they only need to know what type of research they would like to do. The program will match a student with a mentor who best fits their research and career interests.
If the student would like to research the work that is being done on campus, this is usually done in January through March, preceding the summer research that is to be conducted.
What laboratories participate in this program?
Each year, many laboratories submit projects covering a range of clinical and basic research topics. The mentors must apply for position funding as well to ensure the quality of the student participation in the research program.
What's the level of support and the time periods during which research is conducted?
Research is conducted during a 10-week period. Students are permitted to take a week off during the 10-week period (the timing of this is to be decided after consultation with the mentor). A $3,000 stipend is provided as support for this period.
Students who successfully compete for a position supported by one of the two NIH-funded T-35 grants will be supported at a slightly higher level due to more administrative responsibilities.
Is there paperwork?
As with any paying position, paperwork will need to be completed in a timely manner. There are only a specific number of spots that can be supported in any given summer period. Deadlines for applications and selecting a mentor need to be strictly followed.
Once a suitable mentor and project is identified, paperwork must be completed prior to the appointment of the student as a student researcher at UT Southwestern. This HR paperwork will ensure that you are paid in a timely manner and that you have all the appropriate credentials for your lab.
Failure to complete the needed paperwork correctly might result in no fellowship award or a delay in payment or access to needed research programs.
Are there other requirements?
Yes. Each student must submit a summary of their research experience at the conclusion of the program. The description should include: 1) the question asked; 2) the methods employed; 3) the results obtained; and 4) the conclusions drawn. Note that with proper formatting, variations on this summary would be acceptable for submission as an abstract to the annual UT Southwestern Medical Student Research Forum. Abstracts submitted to the research forum are published and can be listed on your curriculum vitae.
Are there additional programs to distinguish students who excelled in research they conducted at UTSW?
Yes. Students may apply for an M.D., with Distinction in Research. This program recognizes students who distinguish themselves by conducting meaningful clinical or basic research activities during the course of their medical school training. Individuals satisfying the program requirements would be recognized at graduation and on their diploma as graduating with the degree of Doctor of Medicine, with Distinction in Research.
Is it possible to obtain elective credit for research that I conduct?
You cannot obtain elective credit for participating in the Summer Research Program. Should you decide to continue your research after the 10-week program, you may be able to get the required elective credits in research by taking the MED1800 Research Elective course. Please contact the Registrar's Office to check your eligibility for this option.
In publications, do I need to cite support by any particular program?
Yes. You should be sure to cite support for the program that you were supported by.
- Those supported by the NIDDK T-35 should indicate that they were supported by this grant (the manuscript or abstract should acknowledge the support of "T35-DK066141").
- Those supported by the NHLBI T-35 should indicate that they were supported by this grant (the manuscript or abstract should acknowledge the support of "T35-HL086346").
- Those supported by the NHLBI R-25 should indicate that they were supported by this grant (the manuscript or abstract should acknowledge the support of "R25-HL096367").
- Undergraduate students supported by the UT-SUMR fellows program should acknowledge support by the "UT Southwestern Undergraduate Medical Research (UT-SUMR) Program."
- Medical students that are participating in summer research at UT Southwestern not supported by the UT-SUMR or T-35 programs should acknowledge support by the "UT Southwestern Medical Student Research Program."