Program Details

In the fall of the third year, applications will be accepted for the Howard Holderness Distinguished Medical Scholars Program.  Under this program students will be offered an extra year of medical school, to begin immediately after the third year.


The Junior Scholar:

The first year of the program, known as the research year, will consist of an independent, scholarly pursuit under the close supervision of a carefully selected mentor.  This scholarly endeavor may consist of laboratory, epidemiologic or other research, or a full time academic program approved by the Distinguished Scholars Committee.  Scholars may select from a very wide variety of topics to pursue as their research project.   See the Fellows Page for recent examples of projects scholars have pursued.

In addition to the individual project, there the student will lead biweekly seminars devoted to topics not usually covered in depth in the established medical curriculum. The centerpiece of the curriculum, these seminars require rigorous student preparation and participation. Topics such as clinical decision analysis, clinical pharmacology, ethics, epidemiology, public health, statistics, government, and evidenced-based medicine will be included.  A list of recent seminar topics can be found on the  Seminars Page.  Students may also present seminar topics of their own choosing.  The intent of these seminars is to provide students the skills necessary to think critically about clinical research and patient care.


During the student's tenure as a Junior DMS fellow, he/she will also serve as an associate-editor of FAX, the UNC Medical Student Research Journal.


The Senior Scholar:

During the second year of the program the students will return to the traditional fourth year of medical school with the additional requirement that the Distinguished Medical Scholars will attend and participate in the bimonthly seminar series.  Students will be given scheduling preference to ensure that most clinical rotations are completed at or near UNC so that participation in the seminar series is possible.

The Senior Scholars will serve as the Editors-in-Chief of FAX, the UNC Medical Student Research Journal.

On completion of the fifth year, the student's performance will be evaluated. If this performance is one of continued excellence and high quality, the student will be awarded the Doctor of Medicine Degree with a stipulation honoring his/her participation as a Howard Holderness Distinguished Medical Scholar.

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