Skip to Main

Research Pathway

UT Southwestern Medical School has a longstanding commitment to student research. UT Southwestern medical students can engage in a variety of research activities – both basic and clinical – working directly with the faculty. The Office of the Associate Dean for Medical Student Research is charged with organizing these activities.

Headshot of Kelly Lawson

“Being involved in student research at UTSW was one of my favorite parts of medical school! It helped me grow professionally and personally, helped me learn how to think and learn, and was truly an invaluable experience.”

Kelly Lawson, M.D.

Distinction in Research

Headshot of Austin Moore

“The ability to step away from clinical training to focus entirely on science was transformative, and it was during that year that I began to truly consider integrating research into my future career.”

Austin Moore

Medical School Class of 2021

Headshot of Jamie Pfaff

“The Sarnoff Fellowship provided the opportunity to cultivate my understanding of the basic science behind medical treatments, engage in scientific discovery, and practice presenting scientific findings at research conferences.”

Jamie Pfaff

Medical School Class of 2020

Headshot of Whitney Stuard

“As a physician researcher, I will have the opportunity to effect change not just to society’s current state, but also its future.”

Whitney Stuard

Medical School Class of 2021



Students interested in Research can deepen their understanding with electives designed to provide enrichment and an entry point to this pathway.

ENRH 0129 Summer Research Enrichment Elective

  • Dive into a UT Southwestern research project during the summer
  • Learn firsthand the value of a team science approach to problem solving in clinical and translational research
  • Critically analyze and identify strengths and weaknesses of research design and interpretation via coursework and Journal clubs
  • Contact the office for proposal and approval forms

Get Approval 6 Weeks Before You Register

Prior to registering for research electives, students must obtain approval six weeks before the course start date.

RSRH 2101 Directed Research Elective (4 weeks)

Prerequisites: None

  • Engage in an innovative UT Southwestern research project
  • Develop a solid research question and then design a research hypothesis statement with the guidance of a research mentor
  • Describe methods and processes involved in data collection and analysis in clinical research

Required Forms

RSRH 2001 Independent Research Elective (2 weeks)

Prerequisites: Scholarly Activity rotation completed, Test Prep completed, Step 1 completed

Required Forms

These forms include a description of the proposed project, detailing your study and what you wish to accomplish during this elective. Specifically, research projects should demonstrate the advancement of a hypothesis. This should include an overview of the background, the methods that will be employed, and the expected outcomes and analytic methods that will be used. Specific details of the student role in the proposed project should be outlined.

Submit both completed forms to the Office of Medical Student Research Once approved, the student will be automatically registered in the course.

Complete the Elective with a Summary & Evaluation

To complete an elective, students must submit a summary of the research activities they participated in during the course. They also must be evaluated by their mentor.

Medical Student Research Forum

The UT Southwestern Medical Student Research Forum is an annual event celebrating research conducted by UT Southwestern medical students. Students are able to present a poster or give an oral presentation along side a special guest lecturer. An expert panel of judges selects the six most outstanding posters and top presenters are recognized with certificates and cash awards.

Medical Student Research Forum Details

Scholarly Activity

Scholarly activity is an important component of the curriculum at UT Southwestern Medical School. It supports our dedication to providing students with opportunities to grow in diverse areas with novel career opportunities that excite and inspire.

Close photo of gloved hands working with a brush in a petri dish
  • Basic Research

    Students will learn the fundamental principles of hypothesis-driven research. Topics include:

    • Hypothesis development
    • Research design
    • Evaluating existing literature
    • Data collection
    • Responsible conduct in laboratory research

    Curriculum Details

  • Clinical and Translational Research

    Students will expand their research knowledge through active participation in clinical and translational research projects. Activities include:

    • Conducting projects
    • Designing protocols
    • Leading teams

    Curriculum Details

Summer Research Programs

UTSW Medical students interested in pursuing investigative research endeavors during their summer break before the beginning of their MS2 curriculum may apply for the UT Southwestern Summer Research Program. The program is designed to increase scientific knowledge and skills through rich research experiences developed between a student and their mentor.

Summer Research Program Details

Dean’s Research Scholar

This program is designed to provide a yearlong opportunity in basic, clinical, or translational research to highly qualified students with a well-designed research project proposal. Students will make lifelong connections with department members as well as other researchers across campus.

Dean’s Research Scholar Details


The M.D. with Distinction in Research recognizes students who conduct meaningful clinical or basic research activities during their medical school training.

Distinction Details


Researcher wearing purple gloves adding red liquid to a tube using a pipette

Students interested in a career as a physician-scientist may apply to the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), a National Institutes of Health-sponsored, integrated program leading to both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. Each year, UT Southwestern enrolls an elite group of 10-12 outstanding students from around the world who have substantive experience in laboratory research and a strong desire to pursue a research career related to medicine.

MSTP Details

Contact Us

Rene L. Galindo, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Medical Student Research

Phone: 214-648-3465

Rene Galindo, M.D., Ph.D.

Amanda Arista

Program Coordinator

Phone: 214-648-3465

Amanda Arista