University of South Alabama

Research Honors Program

A Research Honors Program is available in the College of Medicine for medical students who desire to conduct research in an area of the health sciences in depth. Many students initiate their interest in research through the Medical Student Research Program, which supports medical student research prior to the first year and between the freshman and sophomore years of medical school. The Research Honors Program consists of: 1) selecting a project requiring a minimum of six months to complete, 2) selecting a mentor who will guide the student in the research program, 3) preparing a manuscript that is submission ready for a peer review journal, and 4) giving an oral presentation of this work to members of the Research Honors Committee, interested students and faculty members.

The student who satisfactorily completes these requirements will have the notation "Research With Honors" on their College of Medicine transcript and diploma. The program is open to all students (except those entering their senior year without research experience), who are in the upper one-half of their class and who arrange during their freshman, sophomore year or early junior year to devote six months before graduation to a defined and approved research project.

Summary of Requirements for Completion:

A. The student should identify a faculty sponsor and department in which to work during their sophomore year if possible. The faculty sponsor must have an appointment in the USA College of Medicine.

B. The research project proposal (as defined in the Application) must be submitted to the Chair of the Research Honors Committee between the end of the freshman year and December 15 of the junior year. Early submission is strongly recommended. Within 4 weeks of submission of the proposal, the applicant should make a short presentation to the committee describing the proposal and the timeline for its completion.

C. The student must submit a progress report, co-signed by the mentor, to the committee prior to December 15 of the senior year of medical school.

D. The student must prepare a manuscript for publication prior to January 15 of the senior year.

E. Also prior to January 15 of the senior year, the student must make an oral presentation summarizing the project to the members of the Research Honors Committee, interested students, and faculty members. The committee must approve the completed work as fulfilling the requirements for the program.

The Project:

There are no restrictions on the type of project that may be undertaken. The only requirement is that each project contains an element of originality. In those cases where a student participates in an ongoing project, he/she must assume responsibility for that portion in which they are involved. The project can be pursued during the summer months and during senior elective time. Work during the summer may be supported by a stipend but work for which elective credit is received are generally not supported by a stipend. Students are encouraged, however, to seek extramural, research fellowships, if applicable.

The Application:

A proposal describing the research project to be conducted must be written by the student with the aid of faculty mentor and submitted to the Research Honors Committee at the end of the sophomore year if at all possible. The proposal should clearly define a topic for study which can be completed in six months. Within four weeks of submission of the proposal, the applicant should make a short presentation to the program committee describing the proposal and the timeline to completion. Project approval is based primarily on the scientific merit of the proposal.

Activities of the Research Honors Program:

By December 15 of the senior year of medical school, the program participants should provide the committee with a short report reiterating the specific aims of the project and the progress made on each. Plans should be presented upon completion of unfinished parts of the project. The report should be cosigned by the mentor. Prior to January 15 of the senior year, the student must provide the committee with the copy of the prepared manuscript and make an oral presentation to the committee, interested students, and faculty members. The preparation of the manuscript and presentation of the work must be completed prior to certification to the Dean that the student has completed requirements for graduation with Research Honors.

Research Honors Program Application Guidelines:

The following guidelines should be followed in submitting a proposal. This application form [PDF] accompanies the proposal. The proposal should be typewritten, double-spaced. It is expected that most proposals will be approximately five pages in length, but not exceed eight pages. The proposal should be submitted to the Chair of the Research Honors Committee between the end of the freshman year and December 15 of the junior year.

A. Application Form (Page 1)

B. Title

C. Summary (abstract of less than 200 words)

D. Background: A review of pertinent work done by others (not more than three pages)

E. Objective: Statement of the question or hypothesis to be answered.

F. Specific Aims: A list of what is going to be done to achieve the objective.

G. Methods of Procedure: Details of the project including the statistical design and analysis of experiments or other work that will be done, numbers and species of animals, etc., and techniques.

H. Preliminary Data (If Available)

I. Timetable for Project Completion

J. Significance

K. Complete List of References

 

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