Research experience

Research experience #

Research experience is not required to be admitted into a medical school, but it can enhance your preparation for a career in medicine.  Participating in research can enrich your understanding of what you learn in your college coursework.

The science you learn in the classroom all comes out of research.  Understanding more about the process of formulating hypotheses and investigating them can enhance your learning experience.  Research experience can help you learn to "think like a scientist," a skill that physicians need to possess. Research can also lead to excellent alternatives to medical school for students who may be interested in pursuing careers in biomedicine or the life sciences.

Some medical schools are more highly focused on research and tend to emphasize research experience more than others in admissions decisions, so the importance of research will depend on where you plan to apply.

If you plan to pursue an MD/PhD program, it will be extremely important that you gain significant research experience, as your research potential will be weighted heavily in decisions on admission to these programs.  It will be important that your letters of recommendation from your professors highlight your research potential and ability to contribute to the advancement of scientific and medical knowledge.

Many IU students find research opportunities through talking with their professors and consulting the listings of research position opportunities in academic departments in the sciences.  

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