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Medical/Graduate Student Summer Program (TSF)

The Translational Science Fellowship (TSF) provides graduate and medical students with the opportunity to gain select knowledge and skills in clinical and translational research in a summer experiential program.

Targeted to early-stage learners, the program includes training in both foundational skills like research design and data analysis and professional skills such as communications, ethics and teamwork. Examples of real-world clinical and translational research are used throughout the course.

Independent and facilitated active group learning is emphasized and didactic presentations are kept to a minimum. Opportunities to practice skills are integrated throughout the program using case studies, simulations, computer-based modules and small-group discussions.

Graduate students may request access to sample graduate research project descriptions by emailing Shaweta Singla at

Medical students may access example medical student research project descriptions on the MSR webpage. Example proposals are on Canvas in the MSR folder under the 1st year events and resources heading.

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TSF Details

Program Eligibility Expand answer

To apply to TSF, students must:

  • Be enrolled in a health-related professional or doctoral program at Penn State
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident (per National Institutes of Health policy)
  • Be able to commit to all course and research training requirements of the program
  • Have the support of the primary research mentor
  • Have research or career interests in clinical and translational science


  • Medical students must have a defined Medical Student Research (MSR) project and MSR advisor
  • Doctoral students must be actively engaged in research under the direction of an adviser or have completed a research project within the last semester (i.e., lab rotation project)
Application Process Expand answer

Deadline: Friday, March 1, 2024.

The online application will require:

  • A description of the applicant’s background and career goals that briefly summarizes past research experience and training and any other relevant scientific experiences and explains why the applicant is a strong candidate for this training program and how participation will help achieve career goals.
  • A research project description. (Medical students can use the standard MSR project template.) This should include:
    • The project title
    • A 250-word abstract
    • A 50-word summary of the research theme or overall research goal
    • A 500-word hypothesis, specific research question or specific aims
    • A 500-word summary of the background and significance
    • A 1,500-word methods section
    • A statement of student responsibilities (specific role and duties to be performed)
  • A letter of support and National Institutes of Health-style biosketch of the research mentor
Classes Expand answer

Students spend 10 days in active learning programs that are held twice a week over the course of five to six weeks. Attendance is mandatory at each session. Outside of class, students are expected to work on their research projects. Graduate students may register to earn three course credits.

Generally, each summer session is held from mid-June to late July. A final session may be scheduled for student research presentations.

Funding Expand answer

Admission to the program is based on a competitive application process. A three-month living stipend is provided to cover the active learning program and related research time. Tuition is not provided for students who register for credit, but they may be eligible to apply for the Summer Tuition Assistance Program.

Program Directors Expand answer