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Medical Student Research Opportunities

Research experience enhances students' critical thinking and problem solving abilities, skills essential for excellence in clinical practice. For many future and current medical students, research provides an opportunity to discover new knowledge in an area of medicine they are passionate about. For students considering careers in academic medicine, research experiences allow them to see first hand what academic medicine entails.

Medical students have a number of options for engaging in research while pursuing their medical education. These options range from summer research experiences to dual degree programs.

Medical Student Research Opportunities: Year 1
Medical students often choose to undertake research during the summer between the first and second years of medical school. Opportunities exist for students to participate in basic biomedical, clinical, translational, and global health research.

Medical Students Research Opportunities: Year 2 and Beyond
Medical students who have completed their preclinical years may opt to take a year out to engage in elective research. Students may choose to stay at UAB or go to another institution for their research. There are a number of competitive fellowships available to support this form of research.

Medical Student Clinical, Service, and Training Opportunities
Medical students may seek out summer programs that provide experiences beyond clerkships and elective rotations. Short-term summer clinical or training programs are available both domestically and internationally to medical students looking to gain additional clinical experience in a desired speciality.

Scholarly Activity

Whether you intend to pursue a career in academic medicine or private practice, skills in analytical thinking and rational decision making are essential for medical practice in the 21st century. By having students design, perform and present a scholarly project of their own choosing, scholarly activity provides a unique opportunity to develop and enhance skills in analytical thinking and rational decision making.

The scholarly activity is a required component of the curriculum. Each student will work on a scholarly project that culminates in a final written report. It is our hope, that under the mentorship of a faculty expert, students will use this opportunity to develop a project that embodies not only their talents, but also their passions.


  • Provide students with an opportunity to employ their unique skills and talents to pursue a scholarly project of their choosing under the mentorship of an expert in the field
  • Provide mentorship and guidance for students interested in careers that integrate research, teaching, and clinical service (academic medicine)
  • Foster development of analytical and decision making skills
  • Enhance communication skills
  • Enhance self-directed learning

Learning Objectives

Each student will:

  • Demonstrate the ability to formulate a specific question or hypothesis based on a critical review and analysis of the literature on a scholarly topic
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop a scholarly project with appropriate methods to address the question/hypothesis
  • Demonstrate the ability to work effectively with a faculty mentor and, if appropriate, other members of a research team
  • Demonstrate the ability to synthesize and present the results of a scholarly project

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