University of Wisconsin Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) Summer Scholars invites undergraduate students with an interest in pursuing MD/PhD dual degree training to apply for a summer research program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to gaining valuable research experience, students will participate in a variety of formal and informal mentoring, professional development, and social activities.

MSTP Summer Scholars is designed for undergraduates who might not otherwise have this kind of research opportunity. There is no cost for the program and participants receive a stipend, summer housing, and travel to and from Madison, WI. Underrepresented minority, low-income, students with disabilities, and first-generation college students are strongly encouraged to apply, as are students from smaller institutions without broad research facilities.

All participants in the MSTP Summer Scholars Program will be matched to a research advisor, assigned a MSTP student peer mentor, attend weekly professional development seminars, participate in Rural and Urban Scholars in Community Health (RUSCH) enrichment sessions and MD/PhD application workshops, and social activities. At the end of the MSTP Summer Scholars Program, the participants will present their research project at the Summer Research Opportunity Program final symposium.

Program details

During your 10 weeks at UW-Madison, you will be engaged in research, MD/PhD admissions workshops and advising, clinical shadowing, and professional development.

  1. Meaningful scientific research endeavors: You will carry out research in a University of Wisconsin-Madison research laboratory. UW–Madison ranks 8th nationally in the volume of research, with $1.2B spent annually. You will also be paired with a UW MSTP trainee currently engaged in research who will serve as your peer mentor throughout the summer.
  2. Preparation and practice for MD/PhD Admissions: To help you prepare for the next steps in your training, we provide sessions on MCAT prep and interviewing for programs, including specific information about the process of applying to MD/PhD programs.
  3. Professional and Career Development: We take the opportunity to get to know you, to have conversations about your career objectives, and can make specific recommendations to help you achieve your goals.
    • Scientific communication: Opportunities to present your research proposal and projects throughout the summer, including at the UW Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) poster session and research symposium.
    • Career development: Scholars will meet individually with the directors of the UW MSTP, as well as with their research principal investigator (PI) and MSTP peer mentors.
    • Management and leadership: Session topics may include conflict resolution, effective meetings, being a self-advocate, and more.
  4. Direct exposure to clinical medicine:
    You will periodically shadow a physician in their clinical practice. This will provide you the opportunity to observe medicine in practice and to see first-hand how medicine and science intersect.
  5. Enjoyment of social interactions:
    You will interact directly with current MD/PhD trainees through participation in summer gatherings at the Memorial Union Terrace, Dane County Farmer’s Market, hiking trips, and other events geared at exposing you to the vibrant life of MD/PhD training in Madison.

Areas for research projects

  • Alzheimer’s disease*
  • biochemistry
  • biomedical engineering
  • cardiology and cardiovascular disease
  • cancer biology and immunotherapy*
  • cellular and molecular biology
  • cellular and molecular pathology
  • chemical biology/chemistry
  • clinical investigation*
  • genetics
  • medical physics
  • microbiology and immunology
  • neuroscience
  • nutritional science
  • pathology
  • pharmacology
  • public health and epidemiology

*indicates sponsor/partner. Applicants with interests in these areas should describe in their research essay.

We will match applicants selected to participate in the MSTP Summer Scholars Program with a research advisor and physician-scientist preceptor based on the participants’ research and clinical interests. We cannot guarantee placement in a selected research area, but aim to provide an amazing research experience! 

Support and benefits

  • $6,000 stipend
  • $600 food allowance
  • housing in a shared apartment with a private bedroom
  • travel to and from Madison, Wisconsin
  • health insurance (if needed)
  • access to campus libraries and recreation facilities
  • Madison Metro bus pass

Eligibility requirements

  • intent to pursue a physician-scientist career (MD/PhD training)
  • one year of undergraduate-level education by summer 2021
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident status or DACA recipient
  • research experience or exposure preferred but not required
  • cumulative undergrad GPA of at least 3.0

Strongly encouraged to apply

  • Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis: Black/African-American, Latinx/Hispanic, Native American, Southeast Asian (Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, Hmong), Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian or other Native Pacific Islander
  • Individuals with disabilities. Accommodations are available. For more information please visit the McBurney Disability Resource Center website.
  • Individuals from low-income backgrounds OR who are the first in their family to attend college
  • Students who attend small institutions without broad research facilities are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Application requirements

  1. Name and email address for at least one person (faculty member preferred) who will provide a letter of recommendation. Two letters of recommendation are allowed- if you have prior research experience, it will be helpful to have a letter from your research mentor.
  2. Electronic version of your college transcript (scanned hard copies if electronic transcripts are not available); unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
  3. Three short personal essays (3900 character maximum per essay)
    • Future goals and career plans: Describe how would your participation in a summer research program at UW-Madison contributes to your future goals and career plans.
    • Research area(s): Which area(s) of research are of interest to you and why? Include your reasons for applying to the UW-Madison summer program; you may include specific UW-Madison faculty members, programs, facilities or resources.
    • Research experience: Although previous research experience is not required to be considered for participation in our summer program, please describe any past research experience. This may include research as part of a course if you do not have other research experiences.
  4. An optional essay where you can share more about your lived experiences and how you feel they will contribute to your future as a physician-scientist. Consider opportunities and challenges, both personal and systemic, and/or your individual background, passions, culture, family, ability and more. You may also emphasize why you would like to study at UW-Madison or your motivations for pursuing research and medicine. (limit 500 words)

Apply now