Undergraduate Research

The Science Park Summer Program in Cancer Research (SPCR) provides an authentic research experience for outstanding undergraduate students considering careers in biomedical research. This highly competitive program routinely receives over 100 applications for a limited number of slots. 







About the Program

For ten weeks during the summer, SPCR students participate in hypothesis-driven, project-based investigations and attend a weekly lunch lecture series covering topics such as DNA structure and repair, epigenetics, stem cells, signal transduction and apoptosis, and emerging analytical techniques. Other activities include social events and tours of the MD Anderson Houston and Bastrop campuses. The interns also present a 10-minute talk describing their research results at the SPCR Scientific Symposium held on the last day of the program. It is not uncommon for students to make significant research contributions and to earn co-authorship on scientific abstracts and manuscripts. SPCR students receive a stipend of $3,846 for the 10 weeks.  The 2016 Summer Program in Cancer Research will be from June 6, 2016 to August 12, 2016.

Application Deadline

The application period for the 2016 Summer Program has ended.  The application period for the 2017 program will start in November.  For additional program details, please contact Ms. Chris Contreras at (512) 237-9425 or cmcontreras1@mdanderson.org.


The SPCR is open to undergraduate students pursuing a 4-year degree in science, public health or mathematics and wishing to gain hands-on experience in research. Criteria used in selection of interns include college grades, personal statement, relevant laboratory experience, and letters of recommendation from faculty who can assess the applicant's potential for advanced training and success in biomedical research.

International Students

International students currently residing in the U.S. who are either permanent residents or hold an appropriate visa are eligible for participation in the SPCR. Students are solely responsible for completing all necessary paperwork and for contacting the international office at their institution. Foreign students with an F-1 visa must provide:

  • A letter from their current school authorizing them to work at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • A copy of their passport, showing passport number, expiration date and personal information

Foreign students who are permanent or alien residents will be required to present and show proof of completion of the program.

Academic Credit

If accepted by their home institution, students can make arrangements to obtain academic credit for participation in the SPCR. Letters confirming participation will be provided after successful completion of the program.


There is no student housing on the Science Park (Smithville) campus and because our campus is located in a rural area, housing options are limited. Staff will assist in coordinating housing and a housing allowance is available.  Housing options may consist of shared bedrooms/bathrooms.  Also, students will need to provide their own daily transportation to and from the campus.