Research Opportunities

Research at Penn

Although research is not required for admission to medical or dental school, it is a valuable way of enhancing your classroom learning. Most applicants to medical and dental school have some amount of research experience.  The length and type of experiences range widely according to students' interests. 

A great place to start is Penn's Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF).  CURF is home to a research directory that provides a searchable database of positions of all kinds. CURF also holds research consultations to support students' research interests and has information on research grants and summer opportunities.

CURF is not the only resource that you should use. Your professors are another important source of information and guidance. Not only do many faculty maintain labs or supervise projects of their own, they have colleagues to whom they can refer you. Do not be shy about sharing your research interests with faculty.

There are many research centers and institutes on campus, all of which maintain web sites with information about current projects. If you find a center or institute that is doing research that interests you, get in touch with them!  Send an e-mail and forward a resume and cover letter to ask about the possibility of becoming a research assistant.

Biomedical research is only one kind of research opportunity available at Penn. Successful applicants to medical and dental school pursue a variety of research projects including laboratory work, public health research, clinical research, investigations in economics or public policy, as well as in-depth work in the social sciences and humanities.

Research Outside of Penn

Many students are interested in doing research during the summer, while away from campus. You will need to be proactive in finding a position.  Consult the Pathways to Science summer research database and follow postings on the pre-health email list.  Visit the web sites of medical schools and research centers in the location where you will be living over the summer.  Email cover letters and resumes to people who are doing research that interests you. Be sure to talk to faculty members here at Penn for leads, consult with family and friends who may be able to provide a referral, and use your network.