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Student Research Programs

transforming curiosity into inquiry


Student research is a vital component of the educational mission of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH). Students in the regular MD curriculum are encouraged to consider research as an integral part of their medical training and future careers.


SMPH medical students have numerous opportunities to engage in mentored research through several school-sponsored programs and external programs offered by the National Institutes of Health, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and many others.


Summer Research Opportunities


student researchThe cornerstone program offered by the school is the Shapiro Summer Research Program. More than half of the medical students in the MD Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison participate in the program between their first and second years. The program funds student stipends for 8-12 week research projects under the direction of faculty members in any of our departments, centers and institutes.


Projects span a broad range of scientific investigation, including basic science, clinical, translational, health services, global health, public health, quality improvement and medical ethics.


To enhance their experience, students also participate in research skills training sessions, roundtable discussions, journal clubs and clinical shadowing opportunities.


In addition to the Shapiro program, the Department of Family Medicine offers a Summer Research and Clinical Assistantship Program that allows students to work on clinically relevant, hands-on research under the mentorship of department faculty members.


Research Presentations


The work of students who engage in research between years one and two is showcased at the annual SMPH medical student research forum (pdf). The forum features podium and poster presentations by students and a guest lecture by a faculty mentor.


View the abstracts (pdf) of the students who presented at the 12th Annual Medical Student Research Forum held November 26, 2013.


The school also provides funding support for 30-40 students each year to travel to national conferences and professional meetings to present their research.


Research Honors Program


student researchMedical students in the MD curriculum who continue to conduct research throughout medical school and meet high academic standards may participate in the Research Honors program. The Program grants a graduation with honors distinction to students who:

  • Conduct a minimum of 16 weeks of mentored research during medical school
  • Submit an approved first-author manuscript or thesis based on original research
  • Complete a research skills competency training curriculum
  • Present their work locally or nationally
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5

About 5 percent of each graduating class is awarded Research Honors. The program is overseen by the School of Medicine and Public Health Student Research Committee chaired by Herbert Chen, MD, FACS.


ICTR-Shapiro Medical Student Research Fellowship


Supported by the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and the Herman and Gwendolyn Shapiro Foundation, this research fellowship allows SMPH medical students the opportunity to engage in an intensive yearlong research experience under the mentorship of a UW School of Medicine and Public Health faculty member.


Medical students in the program take a year out from their studies to participate in the fellowship, usually after their second or third years. Students are paid a stipend during their fellowship year. A unique aspect of the fellowship is a tuition allowance for students to complete 6 credits toward a certificate in clinical investigation.


For more information about student research, contact:


Lynne Cleeland
Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs
(608) 265-6045

Last updated: 04/11/2014
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