First-Year Medical Student Program


The 1st Year Medical Student program is a 10-week research program specifically designed for medical students who are interested in hands-on biomedical, translational or clinical research and have completed their first year of medical school.

Program Description

Students are matched with a member of MD Anderson’s distinguished research and clinical faculty. Individual research projects are crafted by faculty mentors and reflect the ongoing research efforts of the institution's clinics and laboratories. Participants will work alongside his or her mentor in one of our state of the art research facilities or in the clinic. Valuable scientific connections with faculty, residents and postdoctoral fellows, as well as other student participants are created. The research projects, institutional lectures and workshops, and scientific connections are valuable tools that students can use to assess their individual career goals related to research and patient care in oncology. The program culminates with a research symposium in which participants are required to present individual talks and posters on their summer projects in front of their peers and faculty.   

The 10-week program will include:

  • hands-on investigative scientific research under the direction of MD Anderson faculty
  • opportunities for clinical observation in various radiologic, medical and surgical disciplines
  • expert lecture series specifically tailored for medical students designed to expand student’s knowledge of various scientific fields and medical disciplines
  • interview skills workshop
  • end-of-program presentation of research projects

What Students will Learn

  • The laboratory and clinical environment at MD Anderson provides a broad range of challenging basic research and clinical projects. During the 10-week period, students are expected to learn basic laboratory techniques, including lab safety and how to gather, analyze and present scientific data. Emphasis is placed on the importance of the basic principles that form the foundation for scientific investigation and the analysis of clinical problems that are unique to the field of oncology. Students will learn how to formulate scientific research questions and how fundamental questions in bench research are applied to clinical problems in cancer.  
  • The interview workshop focuses on confidence development and intellectual tenacity that is fundamental to the successful articulation of viewpoints and ideas in a pressurized scientific environment. These critical core skills are regularly called upon during the interviewing process and are key in successfully tackling key questions that may be asked during an interview..

Program Eligibility and Requirements

  • Students  in good academic standing that have completed their first year of medical school as of May, 2016 at an LCME- or COCA-accredited US medical school are eligible to apply.
  • Students should demonstrate an interest and aptitude for scientific investigation
  • Selected students must commit to the full ten-week program, and must not be involved in other summer employment. No partial participation will be allowed.
  • Participants must comply with all institutional policies regarding conduct, academic honesty, and lawful behavior.
  • Program is unable to accept international students.

Program Dates and Work Schedule

  • The 2016 program is scheduled from June 7 – August 12, 2016.
  • Normal hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Exact work schedules are subject to individual mentor’s needs and expectations.

Mentor Matching

Interests in a specific scientific research project (if any) should be included the applicant’s Personal Statement. While we will attempt to pair mentors with students in accordance with their declared interests, this pairing is based on faculty availability and may not be feasible in all circumstances.  


Participants receive a stipend of $5,000 for the complete 10-week period. The stipend is not a salary; it is meant solely to subsidize housing, meals and travel expenses.


Students are expected to secure their own room and board.  

Application Components

  • Personal information, including contact numbers and address
  • Undergraduate and first semester of medical school transcript
  • Personal Statement
  • Two letters of reference with contact information (At least one reference should come from a science or math professor. The other may be from an advisor, counselor, or health care advisor/mentor that worked with you in a prior program within the past 4 years)
  • Deadline for completed applications is midnight CST on January 18, 2016. Incomplete applications will be purged after this date.

Contact Information

Return to Summer Experience Home

Online Application

Applications for Summer 2016 programs will be accepted from November 30, 2015 through midnight CST on January 18, 2016.


MD Anderson Program Dates

Early March 2016 
Acceptance Notification Deadline

April 28, 2016 
Documentation Due

May 12, 2016 
Appointment Letters will be sent 

May 19, 2016 
Deadline for students to submit electronic PreCheck forms 

May 29, 2016  
Deadline for students to complete the following:

  • Upload signed appointment letters in Discover; 
  • Complete Section 1 of the electronic I-9 form;
  • Complete the on-line orientations; and
  • Submit ID badge photos

June 7, 2016 
Summer Experience Check-In and On-boarding 

August 12, 2016  
Summer Experience ends

MD Anderson Event Dates

Welcome Reception

Poster Session/ Elevator Speech Comp


For more information about the 1st Year Medical Student programs, send questions to