Medical Research Scholars Program: FAQs
Q. What are the eligibility requirements for the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program?
This program is intended for medical, dental, and veterinary students:
1. Candidates must currently be enrolled at one of the following accredited schools in the U.S. or its territories:
- a medical school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education [disclaimer]
- a dental school that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation [disclaimer]
- an osteopathic school that is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association [disclaimer]
- a veterinary medical college that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (175 KB), Council on Education [disclaimer].
2. Candidates in double degree, e.g., M.D./Ph.D. programs, are eligible to apply.
3. The Medical Research Scholars Program is designed for students who have completed their initial clinical rotations, i.e., typically third-year, but does not exclude students with strong research interests from applying prior to having completed these rotations.
Medical and osteopathic students: the optimal time to apply is after you have completed your first year of clinical rotations e.g., third year of school).
Dental and veterinary students: participation in the MRSP is recommended after the second or fourth year of school due ot the integrated nature of the third and fourth (clinical) years.
4. Fourth-year students qualify to apply and participate in the Medical Research Scholars Program. However, fourth-year medical students who intend to participate in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) are not eligible to apply to the MRSP. If a student decides to participate in the MRSP after submitting a completed MRSP application, the MRSP application must be withdrawn. Accepted fourth-year students must defer graduation before participation.
5. Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Q. When is the application deadline?
The application opens October 1. The deadline is Friday, January 15, 2016. (11:59 PM, Eastern Standard Time).
Q. Are there any suggestions regarding the submission of an online application?
To be considered for the MRSP, you must complete and submit your application by January 15, 2016 (11:59 PM EST). Your application will be considered incomplete if it is not submitted by the deadline. Applications that are incomplete after the deadline will not receive further consideration.
You may save the information entered into the application by selection the "save" button at the bottom of the application. You can continue to edit and update your application at a later date. To submit a completed application, select the "submit" button.
It is your responsibility to ensure that all of your application information is correct. False or inaccurate information contained in an application may be grounds for denying candidacy or removing a participant from the program.
Q. Do I still need to submit a transcript even though I entered my grades into the electronic application system?
Yes, NIH Medical Research Scholars Program candidates are required to submit an official medical, dental, or veterinary school transcript either with their online application, or after acceptance into the program if an unofficial version was submitted with the online application.
Q. How are my references notified about a request for a letter of recommendation and how are the letters submitted?
You must provide contact information for your three references in your on-line application. In order to allow your references to receive an electronic system-generated request for a letter of recommendation, you must select the ”Activate Request for Letters of Recommendation” button at the bottom of the application. Letters of recommendation can only be submitted electronically. In addition, your three letters of recommendation must be received on or before January 15, 2016 (11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time).
Q. What is the next step in the application review process?
After applications are reviewed and evaluated, eligible candidates will be invited to the NIH to participate in interviews on March 7, 2016. Candidates will interview with NIH senior investigators and have an opportunity to tour the NIH Clinical Center and the program's housing facilities. Candidates accepted into the program will be notified in mid-March 2016.
Q. Is financial support provided to eligible candidates invited Interview Weekend?
Yes, travel and lodging are provided for MRSP interviewees.
Q. Do program participants receive a stipend?
Yes, program participants receive an annual stipend. This amount is determined annually. Currently, the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program participants receive an annual stipend of approximately $34,000.
Q. Is the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program stipend taxable?
Yes, although no monthly deductions are made, stipends are subject to state and federal income taxes. Quarterly tax payments are advised. A tax advisor can provide further information.
Q. Is housing provided?
Yes, this is a residential program, and all participants are required to live in the housing provided:
The Medical Research Scholars Program has one residential location on the NIH campus, in Building 60. It consists of variably sized, fully furnished apartment options. Studio and one bedroom apartments have private bathrooms and kitchens or kitchenettes; and there are also smaller single rooms which share communal bathrooms and a kitchen.
Housing in shared, furnished residencies is also available off-campus, in close proximity to NIH.
All rents include utilities (gas/electric, and water), and apartments are furnished with the basics for living. Students are expected to provide their own linens. There are no pets allowed.
Q. Are NIH Medical Research Scholars reimbursed for moving expenses?
Yes, the program will reimburse the Scholars for reasonable costs associated with relocation to the NIH and back to their school at the end of the fellowship, up to a predetermined maximum amount.
Q. How long is the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program fellowship?
The NIH Medical Research Scholars Program is a 12-month program. All of the selected Scholars are expected to participate in the program for 12 months.
Q. Will I be assigned an advisor when I arrive?
Yes, after acceptance into the program (i.e., before your arrival) Scholars are assigned an advisor from the program's Board of Advisors, if possible based on their stated area of interest. The advisor oversees the Scholar's training, helps to identify a research mentor, and offers guidance to the Scholar throughout his/her tenure in the program.
Q. How do I select a research mentor?
Accepted students will participate in a Webinar with program leaders that will guide them on strategies and tools for mentor selection. Among the tools provided will be a listing of all pre-approved mentors in each institute/center, access to titles and descriptions of all active research projects, and contact information of current and past program participants to learn more about their experiences with various mentors and projects. Following the Webinar, accepted students should work with their assigned advisor to identify a mentor. Mentors can be selected before arrival in Bethesda or shortly thereafter. All mentor selections must be approved by the Scholar's advisor, the scientific director of the selected institute/center (it's best to pick a mentor who is already pre-approved), and the MRSP director.
Q. Is health insurance required?
Yes, Scholars must have health insurance to participate in this program. The cost of health insurance benefits are covered by the program. A health insurance policy can be obtained through the NIH Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES). The program will privately reimburse for outside insurance coverage if the individual is enrolled in a private health insurance plan that meets NIH requirements.
Q. Can educational loans be deferred while I am in this program?
Yes, participants in NIH-based year-out enrichment programs have been able to defer student loans while at the NIH. As a NIH Medical Research Scholars Program participant, you are considered to be engaged in a graduate fellowship. A NIH Medical Research Scholars Program administrator can provide guidance if you have any questions. Scholars should contact their financial aid officer to determine their school's mechanism for deferment. An administrator at the Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education at the NIH should be promptly notified if you have any difficulties related to loan deferment.
Q. Are NIH Medical Research Scholars Program participants permitted to take academic courses at the NIH?
Yes, Scholars may take courses during the Fall and Spring semesters through the FAES graduate school, which is located on campus. The cost of the tuition and books for approved courses will be paid by the program from the Scholar's allotted education fund.
Q. Is travel support available for Scholars who wish to attend scientific meetings?
Yes, NIH Medical Research Scholars Program participants may attend and be supported for domestic scientific or professional meetings while in the program. The Scholar's mentor and a program administrator must approve the conference or meeting.
Q. Who do I contact if I have further questions?
For answers to any other questions, please send inquiries to the MRSP e-mail box at MRSP@nih.gov.