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My School of Medicine Columbia

SOAR: Student Opportunities for Academic Achievement Through Research Program

This competitive program provides a full-time research experience to USC SOM medical students during the summer following their first year.

The Student Opportunities for Academic Achievement Through Research (SOAR) program is sponsored by the Office of the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education and allows USC SOM medical students to conduct research under the direction of an established scientist.

Applications for Summer 2021 will open in November 2020


Program Components

This is a full-time research experience provided by basic science and clinical faculty which constitutes an important element of a well-rounded medical education.  Students will learn how basic research integrates with clinical practice, moving science from “bench-to-bedside”. SOAR Interns work closely with a faculty mentor in a research area aligned with their professional interest. The program provides an opportunity for students to get involved in a research project to which they can make a positive contribution. 

Students are required to present their research to faculty and their peers during the Graduate Student Seminar series in the fall following their research experience and to present a poster in the spring semester at Discover USC. Furthermore, students have the opportunity to earn a certificate in Advanced Training in Translational Research. 

Program details

  • Applicants must be enrolled at USC SOM and completing their first year of medical school.
  • Prior research experience is not required.
  • Most students will need to complete required training before the beginning of the program but this will vary based on the project and student. 
  • Students must participate for a minimum of 8 weeks between May 15th and July 30th (exact dates of the internships are determined by the student and mentor).
  • Selected students will receive a stipend of $2,500 for the 8 week period of training.  
  • Attendance to SOAR Seminars is mandatory.
  • Students must present their project findings during the Graduate Student Seminar as well as during the spring research event.


Information for Faculty Mentors

  • Faculty mentors must describe their project idea(s) on the Faculty Application. Projects must have IRB/IACUC approval (if necessary) before the beginning of the program. 
  • The selection committee will match selected students with a project based on mutual interests. 
  • Selected faculty mentors will be reimbursed up to $500 to help defray the cost of research.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.