Students are encouraged to pursue their interests in research, public service, and mastery of foreign languages beyond the School of Medicine curriculum.

Since many of these opportunities require students to devote full time effort and/or are away from Chapel Hill, one of the best times for such activity comes during the summer between the first and second years when students have a break of about ten weeks. Pursuit of such opportunities at another time will likely require students to take a leave of absence. Students who choose to pursue a full-time research or service opportunity lasting longer that the summer break, often choose to take a leave of absence of up to one year following completion of the third-year curriculum.

When applying for opportunities outside the curriculum, students often need a letter of recommendation from Dr. Dent as Associate Dean for Student Affairs. To get such a letter, students need to submit a curriculum vitae and a signed consent form. Contact staff writer at for more information.

Students can earn fourth-year elective credit for some of these summer opportunities and work completed while on a leave of absence. For more information on elective credit, contact the Clerkship and Electives Program Manager, Leanne Shook.