Medical Scholars Research Program

For over the past 28 years, the Stanford Medical Scholars Research Program has supported medical student research, both locally and off-site. Students carry out research in an academic setting under the direction of faculty members here at the medical school, hospital and clinics, and throughout the University. The fellowships provide funding and units as Medical Scholars Research 370.

The following are important aspects of the Program:

  • Students will be assigned to one of several types of projects:
    • Resident
    • Away Researcher
    • Traveling
    • Medical Scientist (projects of four FTE quarters)

  • Students must register in Medical Scholars Research 370 (independent study) with their faculty research advisor. This course stipulates that:
    • each student have a Stanford faculty advisor (students doing research away — i.e. travel — must have an onsite advisor as well as a Stanford advisor)
    • the Committee on Medical Student Research and Scholarship oversees the program
    • a rigorous process be upheld (submitting a proposal, having a faculty interview, writing a final report, and giving an oral presentation). Eighteen units of credit are given for each quarter of 100% research.

  • MedScholars funding is for student support, not for research supplies, mentor stipend, or equipment.
  • If a student receives an outside fellowship (eg. HHMI, Doris Duke, Fogarty) for the same research, the outside funds replace the MedScholars funds.
  • Funding is only released when all research compliances and registration for Medical Scholars Research 370 are met. We do not provide funding for research started prior to a MedScholars application being approved by the committee.
  • The minimum project size is equivalent to 1 FTEQ. Projects are normally carried out 100% in one quarter.  Where appropriate, the committee may approve partial effort at a pro-rated amount when the nature of the research calls for it, such as:
    • four quarters of 25%
    • two quarters of 25% + one quarter of 50%
    • one quarter of 25% + one quarter of 75%
    • two quarters of 50%
  • Students pursuing Medical Scholars projects are limited to the number of course units and outside work that they may concurrently take.
    • Students holding 100% MedScholars awards in one quarter may take no more than four (4) units of concurrent coursework combined with their 18 units of Medical Scholars Research 370.   In all cases, any coursework taken concurrently with a MedScholars award must be approved by the faculty research advisor and MedScholars program prior to a student's registration.
    • Students holding 100% MedScholars awards in one quarter may not do any hourly work, either on campus or off campus.

  • Students who would like to hold a Teaching Assistantships or Research Assistantship during a quarter in which they hold a Medical Scholars award must receive approval from the MedScholars program.
    • Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships are NOT permitted during any quarter in which a student holds a 100% FTEQ Medical Scholars award
    • In quarters with reduced MedScholars awards, holding a concurrent Teaching Assistantship or Research Assistantship may be possible.  You must consult with the Med Scholars Program Coordinator about any plans to combine any Medical Scholars award and Teaching Assistantships or Research Assistantships.

  • Students receiving MedScholars funding in any academic quarter in which they are also taking one or more clerkships must arrange to have a minimum number of weeks free from clerkships during that quarter.  The number of required free weeks varies with the time commitment required by the MedScholars award. At the time of application, students in or starting clerkships are required to present their clerkship schedule demonstrating the following number of weeks free for their MedScholars project:
    • 25% MedScholars during clerkships = 3 “free” weeks
    • 50% MedScholars during clerkships = 6 “free” weeks
    • 75% MedScholars during clerkships = 9 “free” weeks
    • 100% MedScholars during clerkships = 11 “free” weeks
    • In most cases, applications for Medical Scholars awards will propose new projects.  In some cases it may be appropriate for students to apply for an additional award to continue work begun under a previous MedScholars project.  Additional considerations apply in the case of applications to continue research previous funded by the Medical Scholars program.
    • If the project is with a new mentor or in a different research group, the application should make reference to the previous project and describe the reasons for a transition.
    • If the project encompasses an extension of a previous project into a new area, building from the previous project but not continuing to pursue the aims of the previous project, the project will normally be treated as a new project application.
    • If the project involves continuing efforts to pursue the aims of the original project, the application should be very clear about the reasons that a continuation is needed.  The committee generally does not view it as appropriate to fund continuations where there are not compelling reasons for extending the project timeframe beyond the originally approved amount of time.
  • Students are eligible for a maximum of five (5) FTE quarters of research. It is suggested that students only do projects under one, two, or three primary advisors (i.e., it is not encouraged to do five different projects under five different advisors).
  • There are deadlines for applications each quarter.  At any one deadline, students can apply to undertake a project of up to four (4) FTE quarters in length.
  • There is no retro-active funding or credit for projects done without the explicit approval and instruction of the Medical Scholars Program.

The primary source of Stanford MedScholars fellowships are gifts made by private donors. These donations are frequently made by individuals who take an interest in the scholastic background, academic progress, and research activities of their aid. Recipients of a MedScholars grant may be required to write a personal letter of thanks and attend an annual donor recognition dinner.