Involvement in a research project will help you develop and hone critical thinking, teamwork, problem-solving, and quantitative skills. Schools of the health professions typically do not have a preference for the type of research that you conduct (bench, translational/clinical, honors work); it is more about the demonstration of your intellectual curiosity and scholarly development.
Some professional programs incorporate research requirements into their curricula and therefore expect applicants to have demonstrated an interest in conducting research at the undergraduate level. If you are considering a PhD (MD/PhD, DO/PhD, etc.) you should plan to gain significant research experience as part of your application portfolio.
As with the other elements of your prehealth preparation, it is critical to seek out and get involved in meaningful activities that help you grow as an individual, preprofessional student, and scholar. If a research opportunity arises and it aligns with your interests, we encourage you to add this type of experience to your portfolio.
Not sure how or where to gain experience?
- Read The Medical Record e-newsletter for weekly announcements about research opportunities on campus and beyond the square
- Review the AAMC's database of summer undergraduate research programs in the sciences for undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in scientific research
- Investigate the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education's (ORISE) database of internships at national laboratories and federal research facilities
- Browse the opportunities made available by the National Science Foundation's REU Sites program
- Apply for a 1- or 2-year position at the NIH through their Office of Intramural Training and Education
As you embark on new research activities and deepen your existing ones, don't forget to reflect on what you're observing and learning. Be sure to regularly update your resume, working with the Wasserman Center, and consider keeping a journal or other record where you reflect on what you are learning.