Medical School Life

Success in medical school: Research


Conducting and publishing research in medical school is a great way to deepen your experience as a medical student and stand out to residency programs during the selection cycle.

Research can be a career-long pursuit for physicians, and though it comes with occasional challenges, it can be highly rewarding to contribute to the understanding and evolution of medical science and patient care. The question for many, however, is where to start.

Call for abstracts

Submit your research abstract to the AMA Research Challenge: extend the reach of your work, enhance your CV and compete for $10,000. Free to AMA members!

Deadline: July 16, 2024

Nearly every medical student believes they need to add research to their CV prior to the residency application process, but many don’t always know how to find research opportunities for medical students. 

If you don’t have prior research experience, don’t be dismayed. It’s likely the kind of research you’ll encounter in medical school is not be the same as other research opportunities available in an undergraduate program. In some sense, all students start from square one.

Finding an initial focus or interest is a great first step. From the laboratory to the clinic to the community and beyond, there is room to explore and follow your passions across a wide range of research topics. Your fellow students and professors can be good sources of information as well in picking an initial focus. There may also be med student research opportunities to explore beyond your school, including clinical research internships and summer research programs for medical students.

With that identified, making your research a reality—from study creation to results, poster presentations and publication—may still seem daunting. Thankfully the AMA can help. 

The American Medical Association offers a wide range of resources and programs to get you started and thriving in research, gaining valuable hands-on experience you can build on throughout your career.

With an AMA membership, medical students can take advantage of these opportunities:

  • Research Challenge
      • Participate in the largest national, multi-specialty conference for medical students, residents and fellows, and international medical graduates to showcase and present research.
  • JAMA
      • Get access to the world’s largest peer-reviewed medical journal—with original research, reviews and editorials covering all aspects of biomedicine—published 48 times a year by the AMA.
  • Research Forums
      • Learn how to successfully present your research and what judges look for in a poster.
  • Poster Showcase
      • Present your research in-person on a variety of topics, including basic science/translational, clinical, public health, advocacy and policy, and case report.

Become a member to take advantage of AMA student resources, as well as a wide range of benefits and discounts.

Half the dues, all the AMA benefits!

  • Exclusive education programs & key study guides to help you thrive.
  • Access to JAMA Network™, ClassPass gym discounts & more!

Supporting you today as a medical student. Protecting your future as a physician.