Click a link to jump to a section:
- Importance of research experience
- Support for students interested in research
- Research opportunities
- Research FAQ
Why is research experience important?
Students participating in research:
- Contribute to the advancement of knowledge
- Engage in critical thinking
- Develop an appreciation for how research is done
- Gain skills in working in a team-environment
- Learn basic lab, survey and/or other research skills
- May have an opportunity to contribute to the publication of a paper
- May develop an interest in pursuing an MD-PhD
Support for students interested in research
UR@NU is a one-stop shop for information on research opportunities and funding for Northwestern Undergraduates.
On this site you can:
- Learn what research is and how to get involved
- Search for opportunities with Undergrad ARCH (accessing research and creative help)
- Find out how to approach faculty to work in their lab/study (scroll down)
- Apply for research grants
- and much more
Our Research Opportunities section has links to a range of research opportunities at NU and elsewhere, and our Summer Programs section also has many research opportunities listed. Summer opportunities usually have winter deadlines, so make sure you give your letter of recommendation writers enough advance notice (6-8 weeks) to write a letter of support.
Does research experience have to be in a lab?
If your interest is in the basic sciences, laboratory research might be a good fit. However, you might prefer social or behavioral science research. While some med schools may have a preference for lab research experience, we've learned that the vast majority of med schools will value any research or independent scholarship (e.g., honors thesis, fellowship proposal). Research should be an activity in which you have a genuine interest and can show true engagement.
Could I get into medical school without research experience?
Yes. Some schools will place a higher value on research than other schools. It will be helpful to consult the MSAR and/or the specific school's website. Many med schools value an applicant who has tested their decision through clinical experience and community involvement but may not have research experience. MD/PhD programs prefer at least one full year of research experience.