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 – in conjunction with faculty members during summer breaks. Many take advantage of this program each year. Most choose to participate during the summers 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 complete and lasts for approximately 10 weeks.
  • Students are paid a research stipend during this period.
  • Students attend a series of weekly lunch-time seminars in which faculty discuss the fundamentals of basic and clinical research.

The Office of the Associate Dean for Medical Student Research organizes these activities.

Summer Research FAQs

Who can participate?

Any student currently enrolled or accepted at UT Southwestern can participate in the Summer Research Program.

If you’re an undergraduate student interested in obtaining a Ph.D. 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 will need to identify their mentors by Feb. 1st before the application is complete. Rene Galindo, M.D., Ph.D., is available at any time to help guide students to the mentor who best suits their research interests.

What laboratories participate in this program?

All mentors and laboratories are eligible for participation in the program.

What’s the level of support and the time periods during which research is conducted?

Research is conducted during a nine-week period. Students are permitted to take a week off during the summer (the timing of this is to be decided after consultation with the mentor).

Is there paperwork?

As with any paying position, paperwork will need to be completed in a timely manner. Only a certain number of spots 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 are identified, paperwork for Human Resources must be completed prior to the appointment of the student as a student researcher at UT Southwestern. This 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. All students must submit a summary of their research experience at the conclusion of the Summer Research Program. The description should include:

  • The question asked
  • The methods employed
  • The results obtained
  • 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 Distinction 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. However, if you are not chosen to participate in the Summer Research Program, you might be eligible for the MED 1054 Summer Research Elective. Instead of getting a stipend, students will get transcription notation that they worked on research during the 10-week time period.