Research Experience for a Physician's Assistant Programs

Research experience is not typically required for admission to PA programs.  However, research can give you an academic edge.  Research allows a student to investigate a topic in greater detail and more in-depth than work in the traditional classroom.  While it is more common for students to conduct scientific research in a laboratory, there are many different types of research experiences.  For students who chose to major in something other than science, research in his or her field of interest is just as valuable.  Conducting research allows you to gather and synthesize information and teaches you critical thinking skills.  All of these are valuable tools for anyone interested in a career in a medical field.  In addition, your professors can get to know you better and thus be able to write meaningful letters of recommendation.

If you are interested in pursuing a research experience as part of your undergraduate experience, UNC provides you with a variety of opportunities.   The most common method for obtaining a research position is to talk to the faculty in your area of interest.  Many faculty have their own research programs and may be willing to take on volunteers to assist them with their projects. 

Below are a few of the resources available at UNC for undergraduate research.

  • The School of Biological Sciences has a website devoted to research opportunities.
  • The College of Natural and Health Sciences has a Student Research Fund, which is intended to support research and research-related travel by NHS students. More information can be found at   
  • If you are a first generation college student and income eligible, OR Member of underrepresented population in graduate programs (African American, Hispanic, or Native American), you may qualify for the McNair Scholars Program, which has a research component.   See  for more information.
  • There are a wide variety of off-campus programs for research in various fields.  Contact a faculty member in your area of interest for more information.