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Vanderbilt-Sewanee Undergraduate Research Experience

The V-SURE program is designed for students from Sewanee: The University of the South who want to pursue a career in medicine (MD, MD/PhD) and would like to get both research and clinical shadowing experiences during the summer. This is a highly regarded experience in that students will be able to get in-depth research experiences that will allow for a broader understanding between medicine and scientific advancements that relate to patient treatment and care. Once accepted, students have the opportunity, and are expected to commit, to intern for two consecutive summers. Each summer experience will consist of a minimum of eight weeks on Vanderbilt’s campus followed by a presentation of their research.

  • V-SURE 1 (V1) students are rising juniors (eligibility details can be found below) who will undergo the selection process by completing the VSSA application due February 1st.  V1 students in their first summer will work closely with the clinical UCRIP program at Vanderbilt in additional to their biomedical research and clinical shadowing.
  • V-SURE 2 (V2) students are returning V-SURE interns (upon successful and positive reviews from their V1 summer) and will not have to undergo the selection process again.  However, all V-SURE interns must apply via VSSA each year and update the required information asked for in the application.   V2 students may have the option to  work in the same lab as before or choose another lab.  V2 students in their second summer who are very interested in research and pursuing a joint degree may participate with the summer MSTP program at Vanderbilt learning more about the role of physician-scientists in medicine in addition to their biomedical research and clinical shadowing.

Once selected, V-SURE Interns will work with VSSA administrators to select a research project in an area of interest to them. The number of project selections is expansive and covers a wide variety of biomedical science disciplines. Summer interns will also work closely Dr. Walter Merrill, a Sewanee alum and pre-health advisory board member, who will do his best to match you with a clinical shadowing experience and a physician. Students and their physician will round with hospital-based general medicine residents one morning per week. Students will attend weekly meetings to discuss the patients they see on rounds, learn about the process of medical education, and discuss issues in health care.

Program participants will be required to attend on-site HIPAA and blood-borne pathogen training prior to beginning their clinical experiences. Prior to the start date, V-SURE interns will need to have a background check and TB test to be able to work in the hospital with patients. Thus, it is important to respond promptly to all email regarding this internship; failure to do so can jeopardize your placement in the V-SURE program.


  • V-SURE 1 (V1) applicants are Sophomore Pre-Medical Students with goals of getting M.D, D.O., or M.D.+ Ph.D.
  • Committed to spending the summers between sophomore/junior and junior/senior years at Vanderbilt
  • GPA of at least 3.5
  • Completed by the end of the second semester sophomore year: Chemistry (CHEM201) + Biology (BIOL223 Genetics, BIOL233 Cell Biology, or BIOL243 Molecular Methods)
  • Preference is given to candidates with prior research experience
  • Students underrepresented in medicine are strongly encouraged to apply


Application Instructions

The application will include:

  • A brief personal statement which addresses your scientific interests, your qualifications for the program, and how you believe this program will help you achieve your professional goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation submitted online (if you have prior research experience, it will be helpful to have a letter from your research mentor).
  • Uploaded unofficial transcript

The online application deadline is February 1. Click here to start the application through the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy