Scholar’s Year

Instructions and FAQs

The University of Colorado School of Medicine offers the Scholar’s Year program to students seeking the opportunity to participate in a robust research experience outside of the regular curriculum. Scholar’s Year programs are customizable to meet the student’s professional interests and improve the student’s ability to serve their patients and communities.

The Scholar’s Year allows students to take one year away from the regular curriculum to pursue basic science or clinical research. Students pay only minimal student fees and minimal tuition during this time, yet retain the benefits afforded to full-time students, including student health insurance, financial aid, federal loan forbearance, access to campus facilities and support, and malpractice coverage for approved career exploration experiences. 

How does it work?

All CUSOM students in good standing are eligible to apply. Students must first identify a research project and mentor. The student must then complete the Scholar's Year application and submit it to an advisory committee for review and guidance. If accepted, the student may begin their work at one of two designated exit points during the clerkship curriculum.

What do I need to apply?

The application will ask you for the following:

  • a high-level description of your project
  • a summary of the final outcome goal
  • a draft timeline of milestones to be met
  • an explanation of how the program will advance the student’s career goals
  • A signed statement from your Mentor showing support for your project and demonstrating their understanding of their role


Your application must be completed and submitted by Monday, September 23, 2024 to be considered for the January 2025 exit (after winter break/fall semester). The application window for the June 2025 exit (after spring semester) will open in the fall and be due in early 2025.


Accepted students may begin their projects upon completion of the LIC curriculum and ASC/ basecamp material. They will be enrolled in a Canvas course for each semester in which they participate in the Scholar’s Year.

There are two application cycles for scholar’s year which correspond to two exit points from the curriculum after the completion of the LIC curriculum and ASC/basecamp material:

  • In January, after winter break/the end of the fall semester
  • In June, after the spring semester

Students will be required to meet four times with Scholar’s Year leadership - once prior to beginning their year, twice in the middle to assure progress on their project, and once at the end of the year.  

Completion of the Scholar’s Year

Students will be graded on a PASS/FAIL basis for each semester in which they participate in the Scholar’s Year based on whether they meet the expectations discussed prior to starting their year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Information

Dr. Elizabeth Gundersen, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs 

Mailing address: 13001 East 17th Place, Mail Stop C292, Aurora, CO  80045
Location: Building 500, First Floor, Room N1219 ​
Phone: 303-724-6407

Questions or Concerns?

Reach out to Dean Gundersen at
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