Research Honors Program

The M.D. with Research Honors Program is available in the College of Medicine for medical students who desire to conduct research in an area of the health sciences in depth. Many students initiate their interest in research through the Medical Student Research Program, which supports medical student research prior to the first year and between the freshman and sophomore years of medical school. The Research Honors Program consists of: 1) selecting a mentor and preparing a proposal on a research project that will be carried out during the course of medical school; 2) ultimately preparing a manuscript which is submission-ready for a peer review journal; 3) giving an oral presentation of this work to members of the M.D. with Research Honors Committee, interested students and faculty members.

The student who satisfactorily completes these requirements will have the notation "Research With Honors" on their College of Medicine transcript and diploma. The program is open to all students (except those entering their senior year without research experience), who are in good academic standing and who arrange, during medical school, the time to devote to a defined and approved research project.

▼   Summary of Requirements for Completion
  1. The student should identify a faculty sponsor and department in which to work during their sophomore year if possible. The faculty sponsor must have an appointment in the USA College of Medicine.
  2. The research project proposal (as defined in the Application) must be submitted to the Chair of the M.D. with Research Honors Committee by the end of the first semester of the junior year. Early submission is strongly recommended. Within 4 weeks of submission of the proposal, the applicant will make a short presentation to the committee describing the proposal and the timeline for its completion.
  3. The student must submit a progress report, co-signed by the mentor, to the committee prior to January 15 of the senior year of medical school.
  4. The student must prepare a manuscript ready for submission for publication prior to March 15 of the senior year and make an oral presentation summarizing the project to the members of the Research Honors Committee, interested students, and faculty members. The committee must approve the completed work as fulfilling the requirements for the program.
▼   The Project
There are no restrictions on the type of project that may be undertaken. The only requirement is that each project contains an element of originality. In those cases where a student participates in an ongoing project, he/she must assume responsibility for that portion in which they are involved. The project can be pursued during the summer months and during senior elective time. Work during the summer may be supported by a stipend but work for which elective credit is received are generally not supported by a stipend. Students are encouraged, however, to seek extramural, research fellowships, if applicable.
▼   The Application
A proposal describing the research project to be conducted must be written by the student with the aid of faculty mentor and submitted to the M.D. with Research Honors Committee by the end of the first semester of the junior year. The proposal should clearly define a topic for study which can be completed during medical school. Within four weeks of submission of the proposal, the applicant should make a short presentation to the program committee describing the proposal and the timeline to completion. Project approval is based primarily on the scientific merit of the proposal.
▼   Activities of the Research Honors Program

By January 15 of the senior year of medical school, the program participants should provide the committee with a short report reiterating the specific aims of the project and the progress made on each. The report should be cosigned by the mentor. Prior to March 15 of the senior year, the student must provide the committee with the copy of the prepared manuscript and make an oral presentation to the committee, interested students, and faculty members. The preparation of the manuscript and presentation of the work must be completed prior to certification to the Dean that the student has completed requirements for graduation with Research Honors.

▼   Research Honors Program Application Guidelines

Restrict the prospectus to ONE PAGE, single spaced - to include:

  • TITLE
  • BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE
  • OBJECTIVE/HYPOTHESIS
  • SPECIFIC AIMS AND METHODOLOGY TO COMPLETE

Students should also submit a cover page [PDF] with mentor signature indicating that all training and committee approvals have been secured.

Students will present their project in full at the meeting and we will see preliminary data and have the opportunity to ask any questions.  

▼   Research Honors Contact Information

Jonathan Scammell, Ph.D., Chair
Assistant Dean for Admissions; Professor, Comparative Medicine and Pharmacology
Office: Medical Sciences Building (MSB) 992
Email: jscammell@southalabama.edu