Scholarly Activity

School of Medicine Scholarly Activity Guidelines

The School of Medicine integrated curriculum includes a Scholarly Activity thread.  The purpose of this educational thread is to promote medical students' independent scientific investigation through the different phases of medical education, and to provide students an opportunity to define themselves through a portfolio of investigative experiences.  The Scholarly Activity choice will be based on each individual student's interest.


  1. To find and follow a passion that helps distinguish you throughout medical school and beyond.

  2. To individually develop expertise in one or more areas of medicine.

  3. To perform inquiry-based research and develop your ability to ask research questions.

  4. To effectively communicate the rationale for and results of your scholarly activity.


  1. Define one or more questions that guide your research.
  2. Work on a health care related project that includes a research component and leads to creation of new or markedly improved knowledge (scientific, clinical or educational) or innovation (clinical device, computer program, therapy or treatment approach).
  3. Present—both orally and in writing—the rationale and results of your research to faculty and peers.
  4. Effectively answer questions about your project.

Areas of Scholarly Activity

  1. Clinical
  2. Clinical Device
  3. Computer Program
  4. Education
  5. Innovation
  6. Laboratory
  7. Public Health
  8. Therapy or treatment approach


Student Expectations for the Scholarly Activity

  1. Identify a focus
  2. Identify a faculty member who will be your project mentor
  3. Submit a Scholarly Activity Proposal form for approval by the Scholarly Activity Subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee (send to This should ideally be done before beginning the project, however, retrospective approval may be given. Approval must occur by September 30 of the 4th year at the latest. 
  4. Complete your project with your mentor.
  5. Submit the following by 6 weeks before the Symposium - January 29, 2014
  1. Present at the Annual Medical Student Scholarly Activity Symposium (March 12, 2014 at 6pm in the HSEB Alumni Hall)
  • The abstracts will be pre-judged and the authors of the top abstracts will be invited to give oral presentations.
  • All other students will present posters, which will be judged.
  • Awards for outstanding research will be given in several categories, using the following criteria:
    • Level of actual or potential impact; e.g., extending knowledge or perspectives in the field, impact on participants.
    • Extent to which the ideas/research/project can be attributed to student initiative 
    • The extent to which the project was thoughtfully conceived, conducted and situated in the larger context of the field

Criteria for Passing the Scholarly Activity

You will need to obtain a PASS on both the abstract and the oral or poster presentation in order to graduate. 

Faculty will evaluate these items based on the following criteria:

  1. You have demonstrated evidence of independent intellectual engagement by:
    1. Explaining how your project fits into the broader context of scholarly activity in the field
    2. Stating a testable question(s)
    3. Describing how your project was designed to help answer your question(s)
    4. Describing the results of your project and drawing supportable conclusions from it
    5. Describing the limitations of your project
    6. Appropriately answering questions about your project during your oral or poster presentation
  2. You have created new or markedly improved knowledge (scientific, clinical or educational) or an innovation (clinical device, computer program, therapy or treatment approach).
  3. Your written abstract and oral or poster presentation are both professional, as demonstrated by:
    1. Clear explanation of your work
    2. Appropriate organization (including length)
    3. Appropriate use of language (grammar, spelling, word choice)
    4. Appropriate use of communication tools/aids during your presentation

For a description of many of the research opportunities at the University of Utah School of Medicine, as well as research fellowships both here and other medicinal schools, See

Programs that support student research and innovation


The following programs provide opportunities that can be used to fulfill the Scholarly Activity requirement.


Programs at the University of Utah

Medical Student Research Program

  • 10-week summer research program between MS1 and MS2
  • Currently only funds projects related to heart, lung and blood

Bench-to-Bedside competition 

Global Health Initiative  

M.D./Ph.D. Program 

Programs at other institutions

Summer research programs 

9-12 month research programs