Summer Student Program overview and FAQ

From as early as the 1960s, the Department of Medical Biophysics has run a Summer Student program for undergraduate students interested in interdisciplinary biological, medical and cancer research. This program provides an opportunity for students to gain experience in biomedical research and to learn about the graduate program within the Department of Medical Biophysics. Students who are chosen to participate in the program are highly motivated to return to Medical Biophysics for graduate studies and serve as ambassadors who advertise the Medical Biophysics graduate program to their peers.

The Summer Student program is open to all university students in their first, second or third year of undergraduate study. Co-op students in their 4th (out of 5) years are also encouraged to apply.  Successful applicants have a strong record of academic achievement and have a demonstrated interest for scientific research. The minimum required GPA for all applicants is at least a B+ average for all University courses completed to date. However, only the most talented and promising students are selected for interviews with prospective supervisors, and approximately 50 students are admitted in the program each summer. Awards are available in specific areas of research while other students can work with their future supervisor to apply for CIHR and NSERC awards.

The program runs from the second week of May to the end of August. An orientation meeting for all Medical Biophysics Summer Students is held at the beginning of the program to introduce students to each other and to provide an overview of the program.

Throughout the summer, students will be involved in a research project and will be expected to attend weekly lunchtime seminars. At the end of the summer, students are required to present their work in the form of a poster at the Summer Student Poster Day. All staff, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and summer students are invited to participate in these presentations. This public forum has traditionally been well attended, and has allowed the students to gain valuable experience in presenting their work to others, and in developing their skills in engaging in vibrant scientific interchange.

Dr. Benjamin Haibe-Kains
Summer Student Program Coordinator

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) - Summer Student Program 2019

What is Medical Biophysics?
Medical Biophysics is an interdisciplinary medical research program. The program focuses on both basic and applied cancer research, offering opportunities for investigation in a wide variety of projects. This often cuts across the conventional boundaries of biology, medicine, chemistry, physics, engineering, and computer science.

What are some of the research foci offered at your Department?
We offer leading-edge biomedical research opportunities in Biomedical Imaging, Cancer Diagnosis & Therapy, Cancer Mechanisms & Models, Cardiovascular Sciences, Data Science & Computational Biology, Image-Guided Therapy & Device Development, Neuroscience, Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine and Structural Biology. 

Who may apply for this program? 
Students currently enrolled in their 1st, 2nd or 3rd year, both at the University of Toronto and elsewhere, are eligible. Co-op students in their 4th (out of 5) years are also encouraged to apply.

Can I apply if I am a VISA/International student? 
Yes, if you are currently attending the University of Toronto. Otherwise you are required to obtain a Work/Employment Authorization to work in Canada. Check the rules and regulations concerning your authorization.

May I apply if I'm in my FINAL year of undergraduate studies? 
We do not consider applications from students in their final year, but you may apply to our graduate program instead.

What is the minimum cumulative GPA required for the Summer Student Program? 
All applicants must have a cumulative GPA of at least B+ average (>76.5%) in all university courses completed to date.

How will my application be assessed? 
Applications are evaluated based on academic record as well as research interest.

How does the selection process work?
Your application will be reviewed by faculty members who will then choose potential students and contact them for interviews. You will be informed whether or not you have been accepted into the program by the end of March.

Do I need to have a supervisor when I apply?
You do not need to have a supervisor when you apply. Faculty members who are hiring summer students will log into the database and review the applications. If a faculty member is interested in your application, they will contact you for an interview. The application allows you to list which members of our faculty you would be interested in working with - faculty members you have listed will be directed to your application when they log in.

What is the length of the program? 
The program runs for a minimum of 12 weeks, but may continue for the whole summer. The official start date of our program is typically in early May.

What is the typical work schedule? 
Typically, you would work 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. This is flexible, however, you would need to discuss a different work schedule with your supervisor. Please note, that if you do not work all the working days of the month, you will not be paid the full salary amount.

What is the deadline for submitting my complete application?
All complete applications (online application form, 2 online references, and transcript(s) for the summer of 2019 must be received by Wednesday, January 23, 2019. An unofficial transcript is acceptable for the online application. Students who are hired will be asked to send a hard copy of their official transcript to the MBP office.

Do I need to ask my referees for a letter?
Once you have submitted your referees' contact information, the system will automatically send them a request for a reference. They will be directed to a link where they will be asked to answer a few questions. They will also be asked to either provide additional comments or upload a reference letter. When they have submitted the reference, it will be added to your application. Before submitting a referee's contact information, you should ask them if it is ok to do so.

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