Research Opportunities For Medical Students

Pursue your passion for research and scientific inquiry in medical school.

Medical school students at a research poster presentation

Students can engage in exciting research projects that could last a summer or a lifetime. You will be given outstanding opportunities to contribute to scientific discovery and be exposed to our world-renowned faculty whose ever-evolving innovations and groundbreaking research inform scientific and medical thought around the globe. 


To sign up for a research elective, please follow the simple steps below:

Find a research mentor

UCLA research mentors must have a UCLA faculty appointment. Away research mentors must hold a faculty appointment at their respective sites. Away research will count as part of the 12 weeks allowed for AWAY electives.

Faculty mentors will be sent an evaluation request. The expectation is that you are in close contact with your faculty mentor and they are aware of your activities. If you are doing two blocks of time with the same mentor, even if the two blocks are discontinuous, your mentor will be asked to complete one summative evaluation. If you do two blocks with two different faculty mentors, each mentor will be asked to fill out an evaluation.

Find a time in your 4th year to schedule your research

Research can either be one block of six consecutive weeks or split into two blocks of time (3-week block + 3-week block, 2 + 4, or 1 + 5).  You may also not schedule your research electives during any mandatory week, such as Foundations for Fourth Year or Match week. We realize that research time often involves writing, data analysis, and other tasks that can be included during a time when you are also doing other things, like participating in residency interviews. Please feel free to schedule research blocks during the times you will be interviewing.

Fill out the Research Elective Proposal and submit it early

If you are working at a site other than UCLA, please submit the research proposal survey two weeks from your desired start date. Retroactive requests for credit will not be approved.

Research Elective Proposal Survey

For the academic Year 2024-2025, we are able to offer up to $600 in support to all DGSOM students who have had their research abstract accepted to a journal, meeting, or conference. Students are eligible to receive funding once in their academic career at DGSOM. This support is designated to offset your expenses for registration for a virtual conference or an in-person conference, abstract submission, or conference-related costs. Travel-related costs will be approved and reimbursed providing all COVID-related guidelines are followed as it pertains to travel. Students may not seek any duplicate reimbursement for travel from any other funding sources per University Policy.

Travel Approval Process

Please submit travel funding requests at least 4 weeks before the conference or meeting to ensure we can reimbursement certain items and expenses. Late/ After-the-Fact submissions will not be accepted.

  • Ensure you meet the Funding Requirements.
    • Must be accepted to present at a conference or meeting (provide a copy of the email notice or letter stating you have been accepted to present)
    • Must be 1st author on abstract to receive funding (the exception to this will be if 1st author on abstract is unable to present and you are presenting in their place in which an email is required from the PI giving their approval)
    • Provide a copy of your abstract
    • Provide a copy of the conference registration
    • Please wait to receive funding approval before seeking reimbursement for conference-related expenses
    • Documentation and proof of payment for conference registration and all conference-related expenses are required
    • You are allowed funding once per academic cycle
    • **Please note that reimbursements take a minimum of 3 weeks before funds are sent out**
    • UCLA Accounting is now asking for students to have a Zelle Account set-up for funds to be sent once reimbursements are finalized 
  • Submit your Funding Request by completing the DGSOM Research Conference Funding Request Form.
  • You will receive a response regarding your funding request within 3 business days.

 Travel Booking Process

  • Students are responsible for booking their own individual flight/hotel/registration.
  • We can reimburse you for conference registration, airline tickets, ground transportation such as taxi, train, Uber or Lyft, shuttles, etc.
  • Please Note: for hotels, UCLA has a $333 per night room rate cap before taxes. Please try to stay below or near this amount.

Travel Reimbursement Process

  • Submit the following in 1 PDF file within 14days of travel:
    • Invoices/itemized receipts
    • Credit/debit card image or statement that reflects these charges (last 4 numbers of credit card must match those reflected on itemized receipts/invoices)
    • Travel Reimbursement Worksheet (in Excel format)
    • If you have Zelle, we recommend this option over having a check cut and mailed to you. If you have Zelle, please share your email and phone number tied to your Zelle account. If Zelle payments do not go through, a paper check will be mailed the address we have on file so please be sure to have the most updated mailing address on file.
    • You can expect payments between 2-4 weeks. Expect delays during the Annual Fiscal Close (June-July).



Important information for students seeking independent grant funding: 

Extramural grant proposals submitted without a research faculty mentor, the Dean's Office, and the UCLA Office of Contract and Grant Administration (OCGA) approval, cannot be accepted or processed by the Dean's Office for funds management and disbursement.

If you are thinking of applying to an external research summer opportunity or yearlong research opportunity that requires a formal grant proposal application or the university receiving and administrating grant funds, please discuss with your faculty research mentor, assistant dean, or program director before you begin the proposal application process so they can determine if you will need approval from the UCLA Office of Contract and Grant Administration (OCGA) before submitting.

All outgoing grants must follow strict university guidelines and protocols and must be approved by OCGA before submitting. All grants processed through OCGA require multiple signatures by leadership prior to submission (UCLA clinical department chair/division, medical school Dean, etc). Only OCGA has the authority for agreements with the government, non-profit, and higher education organizations.

All UCLA grants must be approved by OCGA before they are submitted to outside funders. OCGA assists the campus research community in reviewing, approving, and submitting proposal applications and negotiating and executing contracts and grants from government and non-profit sponsors.

Medical school student Shamar Jones in profile and laughing

A true appreciation for curiosity can’t be taught in a classroom. Our students and trainees develop it while working alongside mentors who possess decades of experience and numerous accolades but nevertheless demonstrate a fierce openness for exploring new possibilities and testing prior assumptions.

Shamar Jones, Advisor for Medical Student Research and Scholarships
A scientific team in medical school reviewing documents together

DGSOM Research

DGSOM Researchers redefine what is possible in patient care. They elucidate biological processes and solve medical mysteries, expanding established knowledge to heal humankind—one breakthrough at a time.

Groundbreaking Research
Medical school collaborators in a lab

DGSOM Discovery

A protected time for a deep and substantive creative and scholarly experience in an area of your interest.

Year Three
A medical student reviews her work at the Senior Scholarship Day. She's standing in front of her research poster and explaining to an onlooker.

Senior Scholarship Day

Students share their findings and experiences from a rich array of diverse research and community engagement projects every year.

Senior Scholarship Day

Connect with Us

Medical Student Research and Scholarships

Shamar Jones
Research Advisor
Call: 310-825-0725

Shamar Jones

Shamar Jones

Curriculum Coordinator: Discovery Year Advisor and Coordinator & Advisor for Medical Student Research