UM-SMART Undergrad Summer Program

Join us for a summer of research at Michigan!

Fellows examine a lab film

UM-SMART is designed for undergraduate students who have an interest in obtaining a combined MD/PhD degree leading to a career in academic medicine as a physician-scientist performing basic research relevant to human health and disease. As a UM-SMART summer research fellow, students work full-time in a basic research laboratory under the mentorship of a research faculty member. 

The goal of the UM-SMART program is to help students decide if a career as a physician-scientist is right for them, and to enhance competitiveness when applying to MD/PhD programs. The UM-SMART has helped 101 undergraduate participants learn about MD/PhD training since 2008. After graduation, 77% of past participants entered MD/PhD, PhD, or MD programs.

This 10-week program is aimed at students who have some amount of basic and mechanistic research experience related to medicine and are interested in gaining more experience to advance their career goals. UM-SMART is not intended for students seeking clinical research experience on human subjects. Additionally, we do not offer opportunities in public health, the social sciences, or humanities.

The 2024 UM-SMART Program dates are tentatively May 28 - August 2, 2024.  

The application for the UM-SMART program for summer 2024 will open on November 1, 2023. The application deadline is January 19, 2024. All application materials including letters of recommendation must be received by January 19th. Please note, you will not be able to submit your application until all materials are complete. It is the responsibility of the applicant to monitor the status of the letters of recommendation and submit their application. Only completed & submitted applications will be reviewed.

Program Overview

Participants in UM-SMART can expect to:

  • Spend approximately 90% of their time under the direction of a faculty mentor in a research laboratory. The research experience is the core of the program and provides valuable experiences to support future applications. Students also have opportunities for professional development as detailed below. (We are not able to provide opportunities in public health, the social sciences or humanities).
  • Receive a stipend of $4,700 plus double-occupancy dormitory housing on campus. A food allowance is provided to be used for meals at dining facilities on campus. Transportation costs up to $500 are reimbursed with receipts.
  • Gain clinical exposure by participating in two half-day physician shadowing experiences.
  • Participate in self-paced online MCAT preparation.
  • Participate in a research symposium that includes an oral and poster presentation on campus with undergraduate students from other University of Michigan biomedical research summer programs.
  • Connect with a "Big Sib" student advisor who is currently in the MSTP. Enjoy several social activities with the MSTP fellows.
  • Attend UM-SMART specific seminars to learn more about the MD/PhD application process, career paths for physician scientists, and biomedical science.
  • Participate in a mock interview with a member of our Admissions Committee.


Applicants belonging to groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research are strongly encouraged to apply. This includes:

  • Individuals from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups.


  • Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.


  • Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds such as family annual income below established low-income thresholds, or an educational environment that has inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.

To be considered for acceptance in UM-SMART, applicants must:

  • Be a current undergraduate student (completed at least sophomore year by June 1, 2024). We do not accept students who are applying to medical or graduate school in 2023 for possible admission in 2024.
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  • Have completed a physiology, biology, biochemistry or organic chemistry course, preferably with lab.
  • Have at least 100 hours of experience in a research lab by June 1, 2024. 
  • Submit two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a research mentor or the instructor of a laboratory course.
  • Maintain a 3.2 cumulative grade point average or above.
  • Show proof of health insurance.

Applicants selected as finalists for the UM-SMART Program will be contacted to participate in a virtual interview.

Quotes from Past Participants

“I felt like I achieved my goals as I created a workable schedule for myself and made sure to maintain it throughout the program, resulting in me being able to work diligently in lab, study hard for the MCAT after lab, and still maintain personal health. I had a fantastic summer!” -Niki G.

“This program was better than I could have hoped, and I am so grateful to have been able to be a part of it. Thank you for everything. It is clear how much the people here care about the students and want them to succeed, and ultimately learn.” -Abbey G.

My main goal was to determine if I wanted to apply MD/PhD. While my lab experience was relatively similar to my other labs what made a significant difference in my decision was being in a lab with an MSTP student and attending the retreat.” -Natalie G.