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Funding and Awards

Additional information about the federal work-study program and other available scholarships is shared with first-year students during financial aid meetings held at the end of January each year.

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MSR Travel Award

Overview Expand answer

The purpose of the Medical Student Research Travel Award is to help defray the travel costs for medical students to present their scholarly work at professional meetings and conferences.

All medical students at Penn State are eligible to apply for an award, and any research presentation by the student can qualify for an award (not just the research performed for a Medical Student Research Project).

There is no deadline; however, students must apply at least three weeks before departure.

Several monetary awards are available – up to $500 each.

Due to the limited amount of funds available per academic year, students may only receive one travel award.

Eligibility Expand answer

All medical students who have either submitted or completed their Medical Student Research report (including those receiving exemptions) are eligible to apply for a travel award.

Rules Expand answer

For a submission to be considered, the application must be submitted at least three weeks before departure date and no more than three months prior to departure.

Applicants must have requested matching funds from their adviser or adviser’s department. In addition, please request travel funds from your meeting site organizers if they are available.

Only medical students may submit an application. No group, organization or department applications will be accepted.

Students traveling to present their research must have submitted their MSR Report or received an exemption in order to qualify for this award. Your research presentation does not need to be related to your MSR. A student can apply for travel funds for required training in order to perform their MSR without having submitted their Report or exemption.

Students may receive the MSR Travel Award only once.

The award will be up to one-half of the total cost of the trip, with a maximum award of $500. The application must include a proposed budget (see attachment). This budget should include the identification of the other financial resources (if any) that have been obtained to help support the trip. Any costs in excess of this amount must be paid from other sources.

Reimbursement of travel will be made for approved trips after receipts have been submitted. All reimbursements must comply with University policies.

Save all original receipts involving travel, such as:

  • Air travel
  • Hotel
  • Transportation/parking
  • Registration

Note: Meals will be calculated on a per diem basis. Students who are traveling with another student and splitting the cost of a hotel room should be sure to get individual receipts from the hotel identifying the portion each paid for, so that both will be able to submit a hotel receipt as part of their expenses.

Within two weeks of return, students should contact the MSR office at regarding reimbursement and travel receipts. If contact is not made within this time frame, reimbursement may not take place.

Note: reimbursement will be given up to the amount approved, based on receipts received after travel is complete.

Federal Work-Study

General Information Expand answer

The Federal Work-Study program offers an opportunity for first year medical students to engage in an educational or research experience with compensation. All jobs must be related to a student’s Medical Student Research (MSR) project.

Student eligibility

Students must complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 2023-24 and 2024-25.

Students must currently be enrolled as a medical student at Penn State College of Medicine or University Park and in their first year.

Eligibility for this program is based on the student’s financial need per their FAFSA as well as funding availability. If funds are limited, priority will be given to federal loan borrowers. Students must be a United States Citizen or eligible non-citizen. A student must be in good academic standing, enrolled for the spring semester prior to the work-study support and plan to enroll for the fall semester following participation in the summer Federal Work-Study program.

Students may only receive payment from work-study for time worked from June 10 to Aug. 9, 2024.


Federal Work-Study funds are available for employment of medical students for 9 weeks during the summer between the first and second year at medical school. Maximum awards are $5040. This figure is based on a 40-hour work-week for a maximum of 9 weeks at $14 per hour. Students can be compensated for fewer hours each week and for fewer weeks than the maximum.

The College of Medicine has previously supported work-study commitments as small as 100 hours. If you choose to offer a work-study position, the project adviser (mentor) in your department will be responsible for 25% of the total amount the student earns (maximum department responsibility would be $1260 if the student works the full 360 hours; less if the students works fewer hours). The source of the matching funds cannot be another federally funded grant. The funds can be from your indirect cost returns, state funds, other non-federal grants, gift funds or University or Department resources.

Please note that while we fully anticipate that Federal Work-Study funds will be available for full-time employment during the summer, it is not a guarantee (pending congressional budget approval). We will not know the total amount of funds available until the end of January.

Work requirements

Students are eligible to work for a maximum of 360 hours during the designated work-study time interval and may not work more than 40 hours per week (Monday through Sunday). No overtime or holidays may be paid. If a student does choose to work on a holiday, they would need to spread their hours out on other days of the week and not put any hours in workday on the actual holiday. The work is scheduled based on the student’s academic availability and the department’s work need.

Students are required to work on campus in order for their time to be counted as work-study. Students are responsible for entering and submitting their time in the Penn State Workday system each week. If a student already has a part-time position within Penn State, the student may still apply for work-study, however, the total numbers of combined hours per week must not exceed 40. They will enter their time in Workday under the appropriate position.

Ineligible students can be hired for non-work-study positions

Students ineligible to receive FWS funds can still be hired by the department as temporary employees for a maximum of 9 weeks and be paid the equivalent salary for the June 10 to Aug. 9 time frame. The full amount would, however, need to come entirely from the department funds. The department would be responsible for hiring the student and then terminating them after the work period.

Student Information Expand answer

Students may view and apply for available work-study positions by using the career widget in Workday.

Federal work-study positions are listed under “Student” in the Worker Type section and are identified as “FWS Summer of 2024” in the job title.

Faculty Information Expand answer

Faculty information about work-study can be found at the faculty MSR resources page.

Questions/Contact Expand answer

Have questions? Contact us via the methods below.


Ira Ropson, PhD
Assistant Dean of Medical Student Research
Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Room: C5716D

Nicole Vasquezi-Rode
Assistant Director of Medical Student Research; Coordinator for Interprofessional Education

Penn State Awards

Application Information Expand answer

Penn State College of Medicine offers the following awards to assist in funding Medical Student Research.

Apply here

Proposals must be received by May 5, 2024, to be eligible for consideration.

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s Translational Science Fellowship typically has an application deadline in March, and a separate application process. Please check the CTSI site for detailed information.

Bedrick Family Medical Student Research Award Expand answer

Limited to a project in pediatrics.

Multiple awards for as much as $2,000 each may be made.

Hill Family Medical Student Cancer Research Fund Award Expand answer

Limited to a project in cancer research, especially cholangiocarcinoma.

Multiple awards for as much as $2,000 each may be made.

Kia Kermani Foundation Research Fund for Personalized Medicine Expand answer

Limited to a project in personalized medicine (broadly defined, any genomic, proteomic, transcriptomic research).

Lloyd Scholarship for International Medical Research Expand answer

Limited to a project conducted in a country other than the United States.

Multiple awards may be made if global health research is possible.

Naugle Family Medical Student Research Scholarship Expand answer

Unrestricted for topic

Multiple awards for as much as $1,000 each may be made.

Thomas McGarrity, MD, Medical Student Gastrointestinal Research Award Expand answer

Limited to projects in gastrointestinal research.

Multiple awards for as much as $1,000 each may be made.

Translational Science Fellowship (TSF) Program Expand answer

Application deadline is March 1.

The CTSI Translational Science Fellowship (TSF) Program provides graduate and medical students with the opportunity to gain select knowledge and skills in clinical and translational research in a 5-week experiential summer program. Targeted to early-stage learners, the program includes training in both foundational skills (i.e., research design, data analysis) and professional skills (i.e., communications, ethics, teamwork). Examples of real-world clinical and translational research are used throughout the course. A stipend is provided to cover the active learning and related research time.

See more information and apply here

Department of Humanities Awards

External Awards

List of External Awards Expand answer

Go to the website of the award you are interested in to find out when the applications are available and their deadlines.

Note: Some deadlines are in the fall, so be sure to check it out early and often.