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Is a Medical Career for you?
* Medical School

Resources for Medical Students

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Once you are in medical school, you will be launched on a challenging and rewarding path. Learn now about elective opportunities in the fourth year, medical specialties, combined M.D./Ph.D. programs, research and training programs, and medically focused financial aid opportunities.

Fourth-year Electives

  • The National Institutes of Health offers a clinical electives program for third and fourth-year medical and dental students.
  • Fourth-year elective programs are offered in many medical schools and other institutions. The programs vary in focus, duration, location, etc. You can learn about the fourth-year electives by contacting each school for the programs it sponsors.

Medical Specialties

M.D./Ph.D. Programs

Year Off

  • Most schools permit medical students to take a year off without penalty. This time may be spent in research laboratories, community health service projects, or taking courses in other disciplines-for example, public health or law. Funding is obtained on an individual basis from scholarships, private foundations, or investigators' research grants. For more information, inquire at your school's career counseling office. Harvard Medical School's WebWeekly article, "Time Out: Why Some Students Take Time Off from Medical School" explores why two first-year medical students took time off.
  • The National Institutes of Health offers Interim or Year-Off Intramural Research Training Award Fellowships for students currently enrolled in medical school. The fellowships support a year of research training in laboratories at the NIH.
  • The Stanley J. Sarnoff Endowment for Cardiovascular Science Fellowship programs offers medical students the opportunity to spend a year conducting intensive work in a research laboratory.

Financial Resources

  • The Clinical Research Training Program at the National Institutes of Health is a year-long program designed to attract the most creative, research-oriented medical and dental students to NIH. Applicants must be currently enrolled in medical or dental school and have completed, or be in the process of completing, one year of clinical rotations. Candidates in M.D./Ph.D. programs are also eligible to apply.
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges offers straightforward information about the cost of medical school and the variety of ways to fund a medical education.
  • The American Medical Association provides information about financing medical education and includes a link to the Medical Student Section Financial Aid Resource Guide.
  • The Howard Hughes Medical Institute-NIH Research Scholars Program, also known as the Cloister program, gives outstanding students at U.S. medical schools the opportunity to receive research training at the National Institutes of Health for nine months under the direct mentorship of senior NIH research scientists. Scholars receive a stipend, housing, medical insurance, and other benefits.
  • The Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Medical Fellows Program supports a year of full-time biomedical research training for medical, dental, and veterinary students.

Medical Student Associations and Societies