UM-SMART Undergrad Summer Program

Join us for a summer of research at Michigan!

UM-SMART is designed for undergraduate students who are 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. The UM-SMART has helped 77 undergraduate participants learn about MD/PhD training since 2008.

The UM-SMART program is designed to help you decide if a career as a physician scientist is right for you and to enhance your competitiveness when applying to MD/PhD programs. After graduation, 76% of past participants entered MD/PhD, PhD, or MD programs.

Fellows examine a lab film

The 2020 UM-SMART Program runs from May 26 through August 2, 2020.

The 2020 UM-SMART Application opens on October 21, 2019.

All application materials need to be submitted by January 17, 2020.

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 $4,400 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 $200 are reimbursed with receipts.
  • Gain clinical exposure by participating in two half-day physician shadowing experiences.
  • Attend the 3-day annual MSTP scientific retreat including participation in a poster session.
  • 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 sophomore year by June 1, 2020). We do not accept students who are applying to medical or graduate school in 2019 for possible admission in 2020.
  • 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, 2020. (This is in addition to completing a lab associated with a science course.)
  • 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 phone interview.

Quotes from 2019 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.