Student Research

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Opportunities abound for students interested in research. Although medical students are not required to conduct research, 95% of students do; students are surrounded by exciting opportunities for learning and discovery.  Washington University values research and facilitates research by medical students.

Research and the Gateway Curriculum

Whether you are a novice or an experienced student-investigator, there’s a place for you to join in the discovery process.  There is time for research in the afternoons throughout Phase 1 (i.e., 5 to 10 hrs/week).  Within the Gateway Curriculum’s EXPLORE component, a 4-week immersive experience during Phase 1 gives students the opportunity to examine their interests early in training.  You can choose to have didactic instruction in research (clinical, translational, and/or basic science) and outline potential research.  The Office of Medical Student Research & Scholarship will assist you in identifying a research mentor.  The office is led by Associate Dean Koong-Nah Chung, who also serves as director of EXPLORE’s Research Pathway.

If you are interested in further research, you also could participate in another immersive experience during Phase 2 (via a 16-week deferral of clerkships).  Phase 3 provides opportunities to explore career interests through electives, extended study, and yearlong and dual degree programs.  

Learn more about medical student research

The research environment

Research at Washington University is among the most extensive in the world. Renowned and gifted faculty help students learn how discovery takes place and influence the way we practice medicine. Areas of investigation include:

  • Cancer; cancer therapy
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Developmental biology
  • Diabetes
  • Genetics and genome science
  • Imaging
  • Immunology
  • Infectious disease
  • Microbiome
  • Neuroscience
  • Personalized medicine
  • Women’s health
  • You name it — many, many more

Making personalized medicine a reality

A spectrum of opportunities

Students may do as little or as much research as they like. Opportunities range from elective research programs to year-long research opportunities.  Any of these research experiences may serve as stepping stones to more advanced levels of investigation and to graduate degree programs including master’s degrees (MSCI; MCPS; MPH) and PhDs.