The First-Year Medical Student Program is a 10-week program that offers hands-on experience in biomedical, translational or clinical research. Students who have completed their first year of medical school are eligible to apply.
Students are matched with a mentor from MD Anderson’s research or clinical faculty. Participants work alongside the mentor in a lab or clinic on projects designed by faculty to reflect current research. Workshops and lectures provide opportunities to connect with faculty, residents, postdoctoral and clinical fellows, and other participants. Through the program, students assess goals related to careers in cancer research and patient care. The program culminates with a symposium in which participants present talks and posters on their research projects to peers and faculty.
The program includes the following activities:
- Hands-on investigative scientific research directed by MD Anderson faculty
- Opportunities for clinical observation in radiologic, medical and surgical disciplines
- Lectures designed to expand medical students' knowledge of scientific fields and medical disciplines
- Interview workshop
- End-of-program presentation of research projects
2020 Summer Programs
The safety and well-being of our MD Anderson community during the COVID-19 pandemic remains of utmost importance. This includes our Summer Experience participants. In an effort to be proactive and proceed in a manner that reduces potential health risks, the 2020 Summer Experience Program is canceled.
- The laboratory and clinical environment at MD Anderson provides a broad range of challenging basic research and clinical projects. First-year medical students learn lab safety practices and techniques for gathering, analyzing and presenting scientific data.
- Emphasis is placed on the importance of 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 to formulate scientific research questions and how fundamental questions in bench research are applied to clinical problems in cancer.
- An interview workshop focuses on developing the confidence and intellectual tenacity that are fundamental to the successful articulation of viewpoints and ideas in a pressurized scientific environment. Scientists rely on these critical core skills when responding to challenging questions that may be asked during an interview.
- At the conclusion of the program, participants present their summer research project as an academic poster. Students also are eligible to participate in an elevator speech competition.
- Students in good academic standing who have completed their first year at an LCME- or COCA-accredited US medical school are eligible to apply.
- Students should demonstrate an interest in and aptitude for scientific investigation.
- Applicants selected for the program must commit to the full 10 weeks and must not have other summer employment. Partial participation is not allowed.
- Participants must comply with all institutional policies regarding conduct, academic honesty and lawful behavior.
- The program is unable to accept international students.
- Summer Experience 2020 will take place June 2-Aug. 7, 2020.
- MD Anderson's normal hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Exact work schedules are subject to the mentor’s needs and expectations.
Students who have interest in a specific scientific research project should include this information in the Personal Statement area of the application. While we attempt to match students with mentors in accordance with declared interests, this is based on faculty availability and may not be feasible in all circumstances.
Participants receive a stipend for the complete 10-week period. The stipend is not a salary; it is intended solely to subsidize housing, meals and travel expenses.
Students are expected to secure their own room and board. Our website includes general information about traveling to Houston and finding lodging. Additional information will be made available to students accepted into the program.
You may apply starting Nov. 1, 2019 through Discover. Applications will be accepted through Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. CST.
The following information will be required on the application:
- Personal information, including contact information and address
- Transcripts from undergraduate universities and first semester of medical school
- 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 with whom you worked in a prior program during the past four years.)
First-Year Medical Student Program Activities
First-Year Medical Student Program Contact
Education & Training
What Our Students Say
It was definitely my favorite part of medical school so far. I was inspired by the work ethic as well as ideas and teamwork in the labs.
First-Year Medical Student Program