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School of Medicine

VCU School of Medicine

Welcome to VCU School of Medicine

Year-out Program for Biomedical Research

Welcome to Year-out Program for Biomedical Research

There are a number of medical students who have had significant research experience in college and/or the years before attending medical school. Many of them are interested in careers in academic medicine but do not want to participate in the M.D./Ph.D. Program. In addition, many students are interested in clinical and translational research rather than in pure basic science. In response to these needs, the School of Medicine has created a program in which a medical student can take a year off from medical school after either the M2 or M3 year and do research. At the end of this time a Master's Degree will be awarded. The details are as follows:


  • A full year of time dedicated to research under the mentorship of research-active faculty
  • Student would receive instruction in the responsible conduct of research, participate in journal clubs, develop presentation and writing skills and take limited appropriate coursework
  • The year would take the form of existing master's degree programs in the basic sciences or the proposed master's degree in Clinical Research. The student cohort would enroll as full-time graduate students in the appropriate M.S. program


One student will be chosen each year and the process will be competitive and highly selective. Students would apply at the end of either the M2 (more focused on basic science research) or the M3 (focus on clinical research) year and return to M.D. training at the normal start of M3 or M4 respectively. Elective time in M4 might be used to complete M.S. degree requirements.


The School of Medicine would provide a stipend of $15,000 and pay applicable fees and tuition. Full-time enrollment in the graduate school ensures that loan payback deferrals remain in place.


In lieu of preparing a formal thesis, students will write up their year's work as a manuscript suitable for submission to an appropriate journal. A degree will not be awarded until this requirement has been fulfilled to the satisfaction of the faculty mentor/advisor.


All students interested in applying to the program should fill out the application and either e-mail it to Sandra Sorrell or bring it to her in Sanger Hall, Room 1-055D. All applications must be submitted by March 15 of the spring before the year-out will take place. A panel will consider all of the applications and inform those who have been accepted by April 1.

Other Research Opportunities

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP) is a comprehensive, year-long research enrichment program designed to attract talented medical, dental, and veterinary students to the intramural campus of the NIH in Bethesda, MD to engage in a mentored basic, clinical, or translational research project that matches their professional interests and career goals.  For questions, contact us at MRSP@mail.nih.gov