Opportunities on Campus
As Penn’s undergraduate and professional schools are contained within a single campus, students have access to research positions in all the science and business departments, as well as at Penn’s medical, dental, and veterinary schools, Philadelphia’s VA Medical Center, The Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, and the Wistar Institute.
If you want some help getting started, you can talk with the LSM administrative director, and Penn’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) is an excellent resource. They offer information sessions and individual appointments. CURF maintains a Research Directory of research positions on campus, and also offers information and advice for students seeking research grants or fellowships.
Most students start seeking a research position by using Penn’s website to survey the research interests of faculty members in the many labs, departments, institutes, and centers on campus. Instructors in your classes, of course, are another potential source of advice about where to find research opportunities. Helpful lists of faculty across schools separated by scientific research area can be found through the Biomedical Graduate Studies website. See also the related links on the right side of this page. After generating a list of faculty whose research appeals to them, students then can email the faculty directly to explore the possibility of getting involved as a research assistant. CURF offers tips for contacting faculty and also additional ways to identify faculty mentors.
All LSM students are strongly encouraged to get involved in research by the start of their sophomore year. Doing so not only enhances the LSM educational experience, but also strengthens students’ preparation for pursuing a summer research internship outside Penn, possibly at a biotech or pharmaceutical company. It can be difficult to compete for a research position in industry without having had some research experience in an academic setting like Penn.
Applying for Summer Internships
The LSM program provides key support to students in seeking summer internships after their sophomore and junior years. Students can meet with the program’s administrative director any time to discuss their goals and interests for the upcoming summer(s), and students have the opportunity to apply for internships in industry, non-profit, and academic settings that have been developed for them by the LSM program.
Students are also encouraged to investigate internships beyond the ones offered through LSM. Penn’s Career Services office can help students with the process of researching different industries and reaching out to employers. Career Services also oversees the On-Campus Interviewing system, through which LSM students pursue business internships in financial services, consulting, and related industries, and they organize information sessions and Career Fairs. See their information on engaging with employers. And note that Career Services also has help for preparing for interviews (e.g. the Vault Interview Guides) and preparing application materials like resumes and cover letters.
It's not necessary for the science internship to be through a specific program; so long as there is a scientist prepared to sponsor, supervise and evaluate your work you can work independently of a formal program. There are programs available to apply to, however, such as:
--or the Amgen Scholars program has opportunities at various institutions.
To look for further options beyond campus, there are tools like:
--the Pathways to Science database and
--the AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges) list of summer internship programs.
For non-science research internships, possible options include:
--SUMR, the Summer Undergraduate Minority Research Program at Penn's Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.
--And Wharton offers various research opportunities including their WRAP (World Research Assistantship Program), SIRE (Social Impact Research Experience) and SPUR (Summer Program for Undergraduate Research) programs.
Several LSM students have had transformative summer internship experiences in India through the internships offered by CASI, Penn's Center for Advanced Study of India. (Students there, specifically at Aravind or the Public Health Foundation of India, have done both clinical research or epidemiology for their science internship and also health services research for their business/policy internship.)