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Introduction to the VSSA

Vanderbilt University has a longstanding tradition of training undergraduates in the biomedical sciences through summer research programs. The Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy (VSSA) is an umbrella program that brings together undergraduates conducting summer biomedical research at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Approximately 120 students in 13 research programs participate in VSSA seminars, enrichment activities, and social activities.

There are multiple programs under the VSSA umbrella, each with their own requirements and directors, so read the descriptions carefully. Please explore programs for Basic Research and programs for Clinical Research.

  • Applicants must be enrolled full time in an undergraduate institution and cannot have graduated by the time the programs start. All participants must be vaccinated for Covid-19.
  • Applicants can apply for more than one program on the VSSA application, but are encouraged to focus their essay on the their first choice of programs.

The 2024 VSSA application will open on October 1st, 2023.
Program applications will close on between January 16-February 15, 2024 with most deadlines being February 1st, 2024.

Most programs will run between Tuesday May 28 – Friday August 2, 2024.

Some will run between Monday June 3 – Friday August 2, 2024.

General questions can be directed to Dr. Stephanie Richards at

Recordings from our previous virtual VSSA programs are available for anyone interested in learning about the diverse post-baccalaureate paths for scientists (PhD, MD/PhD, and MD) and how to best prepare. These recordings are available to anyone interested in pursuing these paths.

Commitment to Diversity

Vanderbilt University is committed to the principles of equal opportunity and access. Vanderbilt welcomes applications from all individuals who come from diverse populations that are under-represented in science or academia, including but not limited to racial and ethnic minorities, individuals from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, and individuals with physical disabilities.

Vanderbilt provides accommodations for students with disabilities. The Equal Opportunity and Access department is responsible for coordinating disability support services and monitoring the accessibility of programs, activities and buildings for the Vanderbilt University and Medical Center communities, consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The EOA staff assists departments with providing reasonable accommodations for students, faculty and staff with disabilities; ensures that Vanderbilt programs and events are accessible to the Vanderbilt community and visitors; monitors the accessibility of the university and medical center buildings; investigates disability discrimination complaints; and provides training on disability related issues. Students needing disability related assistance can contact Equal Opportunity and Access at: