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Summer Academic programs for Medical Students (SAMS)

Summer Academic programs for Medical Students (SAMS)

  • Explore careers in cutting edge biomedical research and academic medicine
  • Gain research tools applicable to clinical practice
  • Add prestige to your medical school CV
  • Develop mentoring associations with faculty preceptors

The MCW Medical Student and Summer Research Programs are collectively referred to as the “Summer Academic programs for Medical Students” or SAMS for short (P is silent). MCW will retain the MSSRP designation exclusively for research carried out by medical students over the summer and academic year.

Application period closed

Students actively participate on a research team supervised by MCW faculty, and gain opportunities to observe how new discoveries translate into the development of new drugs, devices, and treatment modalities, and to explore basic science, clinical or translational research and potential research careers. Publishing and presenting are two program goals.

A limited number of 6, 8, 10, or 11-week paid, full-time (40 hours per week) summer fellowships are awarded competitively to MCW medical students wishing to participate in a rigorous research or academic experience during the summer between the M1 and M2 years.

How to Apply

How to Apply

STEP 1 – Join CTSI

Join us as we strive to advance clinical and translational science by bringing together CTSI and the community in a multidisciplinary research and training environment to improve the health and well-being of the citizens of Wisconsin and people worldwide.

STEP 2 – Identify Your Project & Preceptor
STEP 3 – Submit Your Intent to Apply

Deadline: December 20 @ 5:00 p.m.

Reminder: In order to access the “Intent to Submit an Application” form, you will need to register as a  CTSI member.

SAMS MSSRP Intent to Apply

Please sign in to access this form. If you haven't signed up yet, please join CTSI.

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STEP 4 – Submit Your Application & Research Proposal

Deadline: February 1 @ 5:00 p.m.

Once “Intent to Submit an Application” form is complete, the “MSSRP Application” form will be emailed to you directly.

Funding Decisions

Funding decisions are announced on or before April 15.

Program Start Date

Summer Research training will start on May 31, 2023.

SAMS/MSSRP Student Funding Opportunities

SAMS/MSSRP Student Funding Opportunities

Summer Academic program for Medical Students (SAMS) 

A limited number of 6, 8, 10 or 11-week paid, full-time (40 hours per week) summer fellowships are awarded competitively to MCW medical students wishing to participate in a rigorous research or academic experience during the summer between M1 and M2 years.

Medical Student Summer Research Program (MSSRP) 

The Medical Student Summer Research Program is the largest program within the SAMSEach year a limited number of paid research fellowships are available to MCW-Milwaukee medical students during the summer between their M1 and M2 years. These opportunities are designed to expose medical students to cutting-edge basic science, clinical or translational research and to encourage them to explore careers in research and academic medicine. Students are integrated into the laboratories of full-time Medical College of Wisconsin faculty investigators and gain valuable experience as a member of a research team working on some aspect of the preceptor’s study. The training is designed to help medical students acquire greater understanding of and appreciation for the tools and methodologies that support healthcare innovation and to visualize themselves in the physician-scientist role.

The Medical Student Summer Research Program is funded by several agencies of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), small grants from other external and internal organizations and through several departments and research centers at the Medical College of Wisconsin. The program is competitive. Successful applicants work on a full-time basis during the summer months and receive a monthly stipend during the training period.

Evaluation Criteria for the Research Proposal

Evaluation Criteria for the Research Proposal

Research projects must meet the following criteria in order to be accepted into the program:

  • Does the project area align with the primary research interests of the available grant resources?
  • Has the project received all IRB/IACUC approvals, if needed?
  • Is the problem clearly stated?
  • Is the hypothesis testable?
  • Is the proposal complete?
  • Can the research reasonably be completed during the 8, 10 or 11-week training period?
  • Does the proposal clearly define the roles of the student and the preceptor? Are the roles appropriate?

Ineligible Research Projects

  • Students may not participate in projects lacking IRC/IACUC approvals (UNLESS EXEMPT), nor work in the capacity of an administrative assistant to write IRB’s during any part of the training weeks. Any IRBs required to conduct the research must be in place and documented prior to the start of training.
  • Stand-alone, student-driven projects, which are not integral to the preceptor’s investigation, are ineligible for grant-funded fellowships provided by this program. Instead, students are expected to take a meaningful role in some aspect of the preceptor’s existing investigation. The summer research program is not a “make work” program. Such projects will not be competitive for funding.
Training Terms and Conditions

Training Terms and Conditions

The research training must be conducted contiguously within the 8, 10 or 11 weeks of the training appointment as specified by the various funding sources. Students and preceptors are expected to develop a 40 hour per week work schedule corresponding to the length of the training appointment and the specific needs of the laboratory and research project. Students accepting a fellowship must agree to fulfill the requirements below:

  • Complete all training weeks supported by the fellowship
  • Attend an orientation program, a scientific integrity and ethics course and all didactic seminars presented during the course of the summer
  • Complete the online CITI course in human subjects protection and/or the online course in the humane use of animals in research (as applicable to the research)
  • Complete a series of brief program assessment questionnaires
  • Attend all departmental programs and activities designated by the preceptor or required by specific funding agencies
  • Submit a written abstract of their research
  • Prepare a poster of their research and present it at the Medical Student Research Day Poster Session held in the fall of the year

Expectations for Students and Preceptors

Expectations for Students and Preceptors

The Medical Student Summer Research Program is designed to provide students possessing varying levels of research experience with a hands-on laboratory exposure to research and careers in research and academic medicine. The program is not intended as a means to fund summer jobs for students without a keen interest in research or to support students working in administrative assistant roles. Summer research trainees are expected to exercise the same decorum and professionalism as expected in the regular medical education program.

Developing a close mentoring relationship is an essential objective of the program. The preceptor’s ability to commit mentoring time and engage the student in the overall research environment is essential. Therefore, faculty who anticipate conflicting obligations during the training are discouraged from making mentoring commitments. Likewise, students anticipating time conflicts during the training weeks should discuss these circumstances with their preceptors and the Summer Research Program Managerprior to applying for a fellowship. Due to the brief training time available during the summer, no vacation weeks are allowed during the funded training period. Preceptors are not obligated to accommodate time-away requests. No make-up dates are offered for the required didactic sessions.

Training Stipends

Training Stipends

Pending the availability of funding, a stipend is provided to help offset basic living expenses during the training period. The total amount of the stipend is divided into equal monthly installments and paid by direct deposit only on July 1 and August 1 (for 8-weeks of training), and on July 1, August 1 and September 1 (for 10-11 weeks of training). The rate is approximately $450 per week; however, the actual amount varies by resource and is subject to change annually.

Although a stipend is typically regarded for tax purposes as “other income,” it is not a wage, and students are not considered to be employees of the Medical College of Wisconsin or the federal government. Students will receive year-end tax letters documenting the amount of the stipend they received during the training program.

Honors in Research

Honors in Research

The Honors in Research Program is an optional research training opportunity that enables Medical Student Summer Research trainees to extend their summer research experience forward throughout their education program with the goal of: 1) exploring additional aspects of their project that potentially may generate new data or add knowledge to their investigation, and 2) further enhancing their overall research exposures. Students who satisfactorily complete the Honors requirements will be recognized at graduation with the M.D. with Honors in Research on their diploma, and with Honors in Research on their transcript.

Who is eligible? The Honors option is open to MCW medical students who participated in the formal Medical Student Summer Research Training Program for 8 -11 weeks, supervised by MCW faculty investigators.  However, participation in the Medical Student Summer Research Training Program alone does not automatically guarantee approval for the Honors program.

Students participating in research programs away from MCW or outside the auspices of the Medical Student Summer Research Training Program are not eligible to apply.

What are the requirements? The Honors in Research is a two-tier program consisting of Honors in Research “Thesis” and Honors in Research “Manuscript.” Student will have one of two Honors in Research options, submit a thesis or a manuscript by November 1 of the M4 year.

Students are expected to submit an “Intent to Apply” for the Honors in Research part of MSSRP program, one week after the annual October poster session. The deadline to submit “Honors in Research Application & Proposal” is November 30th (M2 year).

Download the 2019-2020 Honors in Research Description for more information.

How to apply

To apply, contact Chamia Gary @ cgary@mcw.edu for application instructions.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Program Director

Ramani Ramchandran, PhD
Director of Summer Academic Medical Programs (SAMS) and Medical Summer Student Research Program (MSSRP), Professor, Department of Pediatrics and CTSI
rramchan@mcw.edu  |  (414) 955-2387

Program Manager

Chamia Gary, MS
cgary@mcw.edu  |  (414) 955-2522

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important Reminder – Please acknowledge the NIH when publishing papers, patents, projects, and presentations resulting from the use of CTSI resources by including the NIH Funding Acknowledgement.


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