UW School of Medicine III Requirement

Selective 1 (excluding MSRTP) and Selective 2

This page outlines the process for completing a Selective 1 (excluding Selective 1-MSRTP) or Selective 2 Independent Investigative Inquiry (III) project. Visit the Selective 1-MSRTP page for instructions about completing the Medical Student Research Training Program type of Selective 1.

Step One: Determine a Project and Find a Faculty Sponsor

Selective 1: these data gathering or hypothesis-driven inquiry projects take the form of a basic laboratory study, a survey, secondary analysis of an existing data set, a chart review, a qualitative study, or a prospective clinical trial. The student has an independent role and makes an intellectual contribution to the project.

Research may be undertaken under a funded program such as INSIGHT (Injury Research Internship Program), MSTAR (Medical Student Training in Aging Research), Developmental Disabilities, and other UWSOM-approved fellowships. Learn about Research Funding Options.

Selective 2: students undertake a critical review of the literature (also called a Systematic Literature Review), posing an unresolved scientific question relevant to the practice of clinical medicine, and attempting to answer that question from evidence published in the medical literature. A critical review can take other forms as well, such as the analysis of an issue in health policy or biomedical ethics, or an historical investigation.

Students choosing a Selective 1 or 2 will work with a faculty sponsor. A regular or clinical faculty member in any healthcare-related department at any WWAMI university is eligible to be a sponsor.

Sponsor responsibilities include guiding the student throughout the process of her/his research project, including evaluating the plan, supplying a support statement, signing the proposal, and critiquing and approving the final product.

Faculty mentors must be:

  • Interested in your topic (though not necessarily expert in it)
  • Available to you through phone, email, and scheduled meetings

Ideally, the faculty mentor will also be:

  • A role model for qualities you seek to emulate in your professional development
  • Enthusiastic about working with you
  • Experienced with the clinical problem, scientific question, or policy issue you will be studying
  • Someone with skills and knowledge that complement those you bring to the project

Feel free to ask your Foundations faculty or your College mentor for suggestions of colleagues who may be interested in serving as the sponsor for your III project. You might also want to consult departmental websites and faculty interest databases.

Step Two: Submit Your Proposal

You are required to submit a proposal that outlines the specifics of your research. If you are awarded a grant or fellowship, such as an INBRE or T-32 award, you must still submit a proposal prior to beginning your research.

  • Selective 1 Guidelines and Proposal Form; Selective 1 Proposal Sample
    • For Selective 1, if working with human subjects/vertebrate animals/patient data/tissue samples: since all students are considered entities of the UW, regardless of project location, your proposal must address plans for obtaining UW Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval in advance of the project start date. Students, with assistance from their faculty sponsors, are responsible for investigating IRB requirements. Projects that require approval from multiple IRBs—including those conducted at the VA and international projects—should be very explicit in how this will be accomplished. IRB information and applications can be found at UW Human Subjects Division (HSD) and the Office of Animal Welfare. Students are highly encouraged to contact the School of Medicine Students team at the Human Subjects Division (HSD) with their questions at hsdteama@uw.edu. Note: Proposals may be submitted for review/approval prior to receiving IRB approval.
  • Selective 2 Guidelines and Proposal Form; Selective 2 Proposal Sample
    • For Selective 2, a preliminary literature search must accompany the proposal to demonstrate that there are sufficient published studies to proceed with the literature review.

Submit a completed III proposal for review and approval by the March 31st deadline. Please note that the faculty sponsor section of the proposal requires your sponsor’s signature. Proposals must be approved by the Director of Medical Student Scholarship prior to initiation of the project. A notification will be sent to you when your proposal has been approved.

Step Three: Conduct Your Research!

For nine weeks over the summer between your first and second years, you will be in research mode. You’ll follow the tasks and methods that you outlined in your proposal. Hopefully, you’ve also structured your time to allow for a couple of weeks of R&R at the end of summer before classes begin again!

Step Four: Poster Session, Final Paper, and Faculty Evaluation

Students completing a Selective 1 project are required to present a poster at their regional Medical Student Poster Session held in autumn quarter of their second year. Selective 2 students are encouraged, but not required, to present a poster at the Poster Session.

Selective 2 students must write a final paper and obtain a faculty evaluation. Final papers and evaluations are due in the middle of March of the second year. The student must be the sole author of the paper submitted for III credit, even if the student has collaborated with another student or faculty member. Students are free to revise their papers after submitting them if, for example, there are plans to present the paper for publication under joint authorship at a later date. Papers used to fulfill requirements for other courses will not be accepted.

Your sponsor must review and evaluate your final paper and then submit a faculty evaluation. Be sure to send your sponsor your paper with enough time for review before the submission deadline. Final papers and faculty evaluation forms are sent to the Curriculum office.

Questions? Please contact Curriculum.