Third Year Scholarships

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The Scholarship Committee assists students in applying for scholarships by researching and compiling new opportunities. Students interested in scholarships not listed below are asked to email Renee Mahaffey with the scholarship’s web link or provide her with literature on the requested program. Preferably, students will do this one month in advance of the scholarship’s application deadline. The committee will then review the information for appropriateness and validity to the third year curriculum and email the student with its decision. During the student’s second year, Renee Mahaffey emails the second year class asking for an indication of which scholarships students have applied for.

The Sarnoff, CDC Experience, Doris Duke, NIEHS, HHMI and NIH-Medical Scholars Program require the student to train elsewhere. Overseas opportunities such as the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars Program are available for students meeting academic requirements. Students should consult their Advisory Deans to discuss their options. Every student planning their third year should consult with a Duke Study Program Director for two reasons: the programs are competitive and the student may not receive their first choice. Study Program Directors can help you prepare for backup plans. The Duke Study Program Director is responsible for monitoring student's progress during the research training year. It is recommended students meet with their Study Program Director prior to getting their signature for registration.

Duke permits a full year of basic science credit to be obtained while pursuing approved research training.

A variety of research scholarship programs are now available during the basic science elective year. Most of these require a full 12 months of research. More detailed information can be found on the program's website, or from Renee Mahaffey (684-5901 or

Financial Aid
Need-based financial aid is available during the third year basic science elective and fourth year clinical elective years. A student receiving a research scholarship may also qualify for need-based financial aid funds.

Your award will incorporate the scholarship along with your financial aid award in accordance with NIH, Duke SOM policies and federal financial aid regulations. Duke University School of Medicine policy dictates that all external scholarships replace need-based loans first. At such time that these loans are replaced, then the grant portion of your aid award will be reduced. This includes any merit scholarships as well. Total aid from all sources cannot exceed the established and Board approved cost of education. Whenever aid exceeds cost, there is an over award situation which is a violation of federal regulations (HEA section 673.5 (b) (2), 673.5 (D)). All effort has been made to ensure that you have all the financial aid you are entitled to.

Need-based financial aid funds are not available for any added monthly cost at study away sites where living expense is greater than if the student studies at Duke. Unsubsidized loans can be obtained for these additional expenses.

Scholarship awards are typically disbursed by term enrollment -- however, you will want to verify with your scholarship source the actual disbursement calendar and make financial arrangements accordingly. The funds credited to your student account first go to pay any outstanding tuition or fees on your account. Any remaining balance will be refunded to you. In the case of the Howard Hughes award, the research allowance is allocated to the individual lab and mentors through the Duke University Accounting system. They have a fiscal responsibility for these funds, not the Financial Aid Office.

If you need additional information, please feel free to contact the Office of Financial Aid at 919-684-6649 or

 Duke Student Research Internal Scholarship Program
Students applying for the Duke Internal Scholarships listed below should use the application form. All Internal Scholarships applications are due April 1st or the last working day before April 1st. Announcements will generally be made the last working day of April. Completed applications should be emailed to Renee Mahaffey at

  • Basic Science Research Scholarships -- Scholarships for students conducting their third year research in a laboratory associated with a Duke SOM Basic Science Department. These departments are Neurobiology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, and Immunology. Depending on the funding source, these scholarships may be restricted to laboratories of primary faculty in the department, or open to laboratories of both primary and secondary faculty. (Please note it is expected that MD-PhD candidates and students receiving significant external scholarship funding, eg. HHMI fellowships, will not be eligible for these small scholarships.) Please contact Joanna Downer, Ph.D. for more information at or by phone - 919-681-8272. Science Council - Two $5000 scholarships – labs of primary faculty in the departments defined above. Molecular Genetics & Microbiology (MGM) - two $5000 scholarships per year among four possibilities: Nevins Scholarship in Molecular Genomics; Petes Scholarship in Genetics & Cancer Biology; Keene Scholarship in RNA & Molecular Biology; and Mitchell Scholarship in Microbiology & Infectious Disease. Immunology - One $5000 scholarship in the lab of primary faculty in the Department of Immunology. Pharmacology & Cancer Biology - The Fitzgerald Medical Scholar Award: One scholarship of up to $10,000 in the lab of primary faculty in the Department of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology. All Basic Science scholarships utilize the standard internal scholarship form and share the same deadline (most years it is April 1.)
  • The Donald B. Hackel Fellowship in Cardiovascular Pathology provides for vascular biology under the direction of a full time faculty member whose primary appointment is in the Department of Pathology. This ten month Fellowship carries an annual stipend of $15,000. For further information please contact Dr. William Bradford at
  • The Duke CTSA Scholarship supports one and two-year options in didactic and mentored hands-on training in clinical research at Duke. The one-year program includes four core courses in biostatistics, research design, and responsible conduct in Duke's Clinical Research Training Program in addition to a mentored research project. Two-year students complete the course work and research project that lead to a Master of Health Sciences in Clinical Research degree. Elective options within the two-year degree program include two course clusters in genomics. Current funding is unsure, however in the past the scholarship carried an annual stipend of $20,976. Application deadline is April 1. For further information please contact Stephanie Molner at
  • Duke Global Health Institute -- The Third-Year Global Health Study Program takes advantage of the Duke School of Medicine’s unique curriculum to allow medical students to take their entire third year for research activities. Additional internal scholarships are available, however they require a different application. For more information contact the Global Health Third Year Study Program Coordinator: or visit their website:
  • Duke-Singapore Student Scholar Fellowship -- Singapore Scholars are expected to spend 10 months doing mentored clinical or basic science research in Singapore, a country on the cutting edge of biomedical and health services. Opportunities for outreach in neighboring Asian countries are also possible. This research will take up 80%+ of the scholars’ time. Singapore Scholars are also expected to provide mentoring to Duke-NUS (DNUS) students (6-8 hours per week). This may involve tutoring first or second year students, serving on various curriculum committees (1st, 2nd and/or 3rd year), facilitating small group or one-on-one discussions about first and second year students’ experiences with the curriculum, and sharing their experience of third year research. Singapore Scholars will receive SGD20,000 tuition support, two Duke-Singapore coach round trip airline tickets during the year, and living expenses of SGD3,200/month. In addition, temporary living expenses to assist the move to Singapore will be reimbursed up to SGD75 per day for up to two weeks. (These amounts are stated as Singapore dollars; see for conversion.) Support will be for the 10 months of their research project. For additional information please contact Dr Alison Atherton at Applicants need to submit a Study Away application (located on the Third Year site). They should complete the Internal Scholarship form and write a brief (1-2 page) essay on "How, if at all, will being in Singapore enhance my research?" The deadline is January 25, 2012, and applicants will be notified in early March.
  • Eugene A. Stead Student Research Scholarships -- Dr. Eugene A. Stead, Jr. served as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at DUMC from 1947-1967. Because of Dr. Stead’s affiliation with the Department of Medicine, this scholarship is awarded exclusively to third-year students who are working with mentors who have a primary appointment in the Department of Medicine. The stipend for the 12 months of research is $25,000. Applications can be downloaded on the Internal Scholarship Application link above. For further information you can contact Rowena J. Dolor, MD, MHS at 919-668-8627.
  • Dr. William Reid Haas and Mrs. Ardelle B. Haas History of Medicine Scholarship --The purpose of this scholarship is to support a 3rd year medical student engaged in research in the Medical Humanities Study Program. The Haas Scholar is expected to spend 10-12 months engaged in research and to attend any History of Medicine Collections events, as well as regular lecture series offered through the Trent Center. The award is $3000. Apply using the Internal Scholarship application - deadline is April 1st.
  • Interdisciplinary Research in Medicine or Physiology -- The Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology at Duke supports a $25,000 scholarship in basic research for third-year medical students in a laboratory setting, either in the Center or outside the Center in the laboratory of a Duke faculty member affiliated with the Center. Projects are not limited to Hyperbaric Medicine or Physiology, but should aim to advance our understanding of important physiological or pathological processes. Proposals that exploit two or more traditional disciplines are especially encouraged. For the faculty list and more information, please contact Barry W. Allen, PhD, in the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology: 668-0031,
  • Ovarian Cancer Research Fellowship -- The Ovarian Cancer Research Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology is offered to one third-year Duke University Medical Student annually. This award is intended to support students who choose to spend their third year involved in some aspect of ovarian cancer research. This ten month Fellowship carries an annual stipend of $7,000. Students who aspire to careers in Obstetrics and Gynecology will have the highest priority in judging applicants for this award, but this should not discourage others from applying. For questions, please contact Dr. Andrew Berchuck, M.D., Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Oncology,
  • R. Randall Bollinger Surgical Scholarship -- The Department of Surgery is offering Research Scholarships in Surgery for MSIII students at Duke University Medical Center. Applicants are reviewed competitively. Funding is variable but has ranged between $3,000 - $10,000 per year in the recent past. Ideally, students will be expected to publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals and to present their research at regional or national scientific meetings. Accepted applications will be expected to interview and present a brief presentation in April for consideration. For more information you may contact Dr. Alexander Perez at
  • Ruth K. Broad Foundation Medical Fellow in the Neurosciences -- The Ruth K. Broad Biomedical Research Foundation, a support corporation of Duke University, is offering an award to promote learning and research in the neurosciences for one Duke medical student. This will be the first time the organization has offered an award specifically for medical students. The award will support 12 months of full-time biomedical research training during the third year of the MD degree program. Applicants must be enrolled at the School of Medicine, applying to pursue laboratory-based research (basic or translational, biomedical engineering, etc.) relevant to neurodegenerative disease. The award will provide $38,000 that will accrue to the student’s medical school account, and will be attributed toward tuition, fees and possibly a research allowance. The award will be open to student projects based on merit, regardless of whether the principal investigator has a primary appointment in a basic science department, or is an MD or PhD. The fellowship research may be conducted at another U.S. academic institution with 501(c) (3) status, with the approval of the student’s academic advisor along with approval of the mentor at the host lab. The recipient may be asked to present findings at an annual RKBF board meeting, and will be asked for a written report at the end of the funding period. Application deadline – February 1, 2012. Application information is available on their website at You can also email the Foundation at


Non-Duke Student Research Scholarship Programs
Criteria for approving 3rd year Duke medical student scholarship research at institutions outside Duke University Medical Center:
All standards required for students performing research in Duke University Medical Center laboratories/research environments should be met (including, but not limited to the following):

  • Students may only work with research mentors approved by the 3rd year curriculum committee (approval based on publication record, experience in mentoring, and demonstration of funding for project).
  • Procedures and criteria for conduct of research, grading, preparation of thesis, time lines for completion are identical to those at Duke University Medical Center.
  • Research project and mentor must be identified as part of an existing research study track.

In addition, all outside laboratories must also agree to the following:

  • A description of the research program and criteria expected of the student should be provided to both the Third Year Committee and the Scholarship Committee for formal approval prior to announcing the opportunity.
  • Description of the program and selection criteria should be distributed to all potential recipients by the Duke Student Research Scholarship Committee (so all students have an equal chance at opportunity) and selection criteria determined in advance.
  • The Duke third year research study track director will be the official liaison between the outside mentor and the third year committee, providing oversight responsibility (just as at Duke).
  • Outside mentors are limited to one student/mentor each year.
  • Outside institutions shall not place restrictions on publication of student’s research.
  • Outside institution shall not require the student to sign a confidentiality agreement pertaining to any aspect of the student's research project. All other confidentiality agreements must be evaluated and approved by the duke office of technology transfer before being signed by the student; any such agreements must be processed and signed before the student begins their 3rd year research.
  • Students may not be employed by an outside institution; only scholarships previously approved by the Third Year Committee and Scholarship Committee are allowed.
  • Outside institutions must be willing to recognize Duke’s portion of ownership of any patent emerging from the student’s research.

Contact Renee Mahaffey, Student Affairs, Room 0128 Purple Zone, Basement, Duke South for information on the following programs:

  • CDC Experience -- The CDC Experience is a one-year fellowship in applied epidemiology for medical students. The program is designed to increase the pool of physicians with a population health perspective. Each year, eight competitively selected medical students from around the country spend 10-12 months at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. At CDC they gain an in-depth understanding of applied epidemiology, the role of epidemiology in medicine and health, and the role of physicians in the public health system. With the guidance of experienced CDC epidemiologists, they perform epidemiologic analyses and research, design public health interventions and assist in field investigations. Possible areas of concentration include birth defects, injury prevention, chronic disease, infectious disease, environmental health, reproductive health, and minority health. Fellowship activities include: hands-on training and work experience at CDC; participation in field investigations; orientation to CDC and didactic training; monthly seminars; monthly journal clubs; Epidemic Intelligence Service annual conference attendance; and presentation of the culminating project. Application deadline is December 2, 2011. Additional information is available at
  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship Program -- This fellowship is designed for students to do one year of "hands-on" and didactic clinical research training at one of the following twelve medical centers: Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; Harvard Medical School; Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Mount Sinai School of Medicine; University of California at San Francisco Medical School; University of Iowa Medical School; University of North Carolina Medical School; University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas; Washington University Medical School; and Yale University School of Medicine. At least 5 students will be accepted to the program at each of these schools. The stipend is currently $28,000 plus health insurance. Medical students must apply directly to the 12 participating medical schools. Additional information, including international opportunities, is available at
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Research Fellows Program -- Hughes fellows may work in any laboratory of their choice (excluding the NIH) including those within their own medical school. Selection of a mentor is key to the application process. The application, which includes a research plan and a letter from the mentor, must be submitted by January 11, 2012. Students receive an annual salary of $28,000. In addition, students will receive a $5,500 allowance for research or education-related expenses that directly benefit the fellow, and a $5,500 fellow's allowance to defray health insurance and tuition costs. For additional information and application, please go to the website:
  • Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS) -- The NIEHS, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), offers medical students the opportunity to pursue research activities focused on environmentally related diseases and dysfunctions in areas such as carcinogenesis, reproduction and development, pulmonary and neurological disorders, and epidemiology on the NIEHS campus at Research Triangle Park. This program provides a stipend that is similar to that awarded through the Cloister Program (another program of the NIH.) Four NIEHS Fellowships in Environmental Medicine positions are available each year. Interested students should first contact NIEHS investigators carrying out research in an area of interest to the student. Each NIEHS investigator has a website accessible at Students should contact the investigator directly to determine if that investigator is accepting new Fellows of this type for the coming year. Applications should then be made jointly by the student and the NIEHS preceptor, proposing the project of interest. A complete application consists of 5-page research proposal summary, including a statement relating to the research, student's medical training, and career interests. Include a medical transcript and undergraduate transcript, plus a letter of recommendation from one or more Medical School faculty members. The NIEHS preceptor should also prepare a letter of support for the candidacy of the Fellow. Applications are due in January of each year. Send the entire package of materials to: William T. Schrader, Ph.D., NIEHS Division of Intramural Research, 111 T.W. Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709. Contact information for further assistance: phone: 919-541-3433 or email:
  • *NEW* National Institute of Health (NIH) Medical Scholars Program -  This new program begins in September 2012 in Bethesda, MD. The program will offer research experiences with intramural investigators from across NIH in basic science laboratories, and in clinical and translational research conducted at the NIH Clinical Center, the world’s largest hospital dedicated to patient-oriented research. Program applications will be accepted October 1, 2011 through mid-January 2012. About 40 students are expected to be admitted during the program’s first year. Student support will include a $33,000 stipend, and resources for education enrichment, such as travel to scientific meetings. For more information on the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program, please visit the NIH Clinical Center’s Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education website at
  • The NIH/Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars Program, supported by the Fogarty International Center and 12 other components of the National Institutes of Health, is administered by Vanderbilt University’s Institute for Global Health and the Association of American Medical Colleges. The NIH/FICRS program is designed primarily for students with a strong interest in, and potential for, a career in international health activities and/or clinical research. Applicants must have strong academic records and must be U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents. Students are paired with foreign counterparts, and they conduct clinical research together abroad under the tutelage of NIH-funded universities or other research institutions working on infectious or chronic diseases. Among the fields of study are: AIDS and related opportunistic infections; malaria; sexually transmitted infections; substance abuse, oncology; diseases of the heart, lung, and blood; neurology; and dietary issues. The application deadline is October 17, 2011. Fellowship stipends are currently $25,000 a year, with round trip travel to the site provided. For more information visit or contact with questions.
  • Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Foundation -- The Sarnoff Fellowship Program offers medical students enrolled in accredited U.S. medical schools the opportunity to spend a year conducting intensive work in a biomedical research laboratory. Applications are encouraged from all interested medical students, whether or not they have prior research experience. Applicants enrolled in an MD/PhD program are not eligible for a Sarnoff Fellowship. Fellowship awardees receive an annual stipend of $28,500, in addition to an allowance for travel to select a Preceptor and Fellowship laboratory, moving expenses, health insurance, computer and laboratory supplies, and travel to scientific meetings. Any questions contact Dr. Neil Freedman at Applications for the 2011-12 Sarnoff Fellowship Award must be submitted online at Application deadline is January 12, 2012.

Third Year Scholarship Students’ Ability to Enroll in Coursework

It is the School of Medicine’s intention to outline when specific coursework may or may not be taken. Students who have been awarded scholarships for Third Year Research should be aware that some scholarships will not allow coursework while involved in scholarly research and receiving funding from a specific scholarship. As an example, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) agreement and contract states that "fellows may not undertake medical school coursework, a clerkship, or any graduate school coursework...."1

All third year students are required to enroll in the Practice Year 3 course. Some students involved in specific study programs are also required to enroll in specific courses related to that lab experience. In no instance, however, should a scholarship recipient enroll in courses without the specific permission of the study program director and their research mentor.

Students should be aware that taking courses during a period when they are not allowed warrants a breach of contract. Ramifications may be, but are not limited to, loss of scholarship support, loss of credit or other punitive measures.  

1HHMI Terms and Conditions refers contract holders to the booklet "Information for Medical Student Fellows and Fellowship Institutions 2001" for this policy.

 Download the Duke Internal Scholarship Application Form.

More scholarship information can be found at:

or by contacting Renee Mahaffey, 919-684-5901 or email: