Important III Update

Dear Students,

We have heard from several students who no longer have a III project or are uncertain if they do. While we encourage scholarship, as in all research, we recognize the need to be flexible in our endeavors. For this reason, the III Scholarship Requirement is now optional. Thus, you are no longer required to register for the III. What does this mean for SoD, SoI, RUOP, and GHIP? Please read the text below for important information about each program:

What is the advantage of doing the III?
The vast majority of students who have completed the III in prior years agree that it is a valuable experience. The summer between MS1 and MS2 is your opportunity to go “off road” and engage in an experience that is unique to your interests. The project often shapes your perspective on your future career path and practice setting and can help you find the parts of medicine you enjoy the most. Most students report that the III experiences can be very helpful in residency interviews, as it provides something unique to discuss, and illustrates your journey to that point. For these reasons, if you are able, we highly encourage you to engage in SoD, SoI, RUOP, or any other scholarly experience this summer.

How does III registration work again?
The III course is a 2 course series consisting of MEDSCI 501 (6 credits granted for the summer while you do your project) and MEDSCI 503 (1 credit granted for the fall when you present your poster or submit your literature review). Both courses must be completed to receive credit. You cannot complete MEDSCI 501 without also completing MEDSCI 503. Due to the manner in which the course is set up with UW, you will only get the final grade after you complete the second course in the series, MEDSCI 503. If all objectives of MEDSCI 501 are met during the summer, you will see an “N” (in progress) on your transcript until you complete the III final project course (MEDSCI 503). After MEDSCI 503 is completed you will see your final Pass/Fail grade.

What if I choose to not register for the summer?
By not registering, you will not pay tuition for the summer. It is important to note that by not registering, you will also not have summer access to financial aid, health insurance, accident insurance (required if you are doing a project), malpractice insurance (required if you are seeing patients), and campus resources including EMR access, the Health Sciences Library, campus spaces, IMA, bus pass, among others.

If I do not register for the III, will I have less flexibility later on in the curriculum?
No. The rest of your schedule will stay the same. Having the III waived will decrease the total number of credits required to graduate by 7 (MEDSCI 501, 6 credits and MEDSCI 503, 1 credit), and this will not have an impact on clinical rotations, and will not impact the ability to graduate on time.

What if I no longer have a project (i.e. SoD, SoI, GHIP) and no longer want to do the III?
You can simply not register for the III. If this is the case, please email Rachel Liao at somiii at<mailto:somiii at> to inform us of your decision.

What if I no longer have a project (i.e. SoD, SoI, GHIP) and now want to do RUOP-III?
To request to join RUOP, please complete this survey<> to indicate your interest by 5 pm, Friday, May 1st. If you find out after this date that you no longer have a project, you are still welcome to contact RUOP at somrural at<mailto:somrural at> to see if a placement is possible. Either way, due to limited space, you will need to be flexible about where you are placed and when during the summer you do the RUOP. We are unable to accommodate new individual preferences this late in our process. Students will be informed of their placements by June 1st.

What if I no longer have a SoD, SoI, or GHIP project but still want to do research or a literature review?
You can still register for the III and we will help you find a new project. Please email your local Research Advisor<> and Regional Foundation Dean for assistance. We also have a Research Database<> that has been recently updated with new projects.

What if I still have a project (i.e. SoD or SoI) but no longer want to do it?
In the spirit of professionalism, we highly encourage you to follow through with the project you and your mentor have designed, both to benefit from the experience as well as preserve the mentoring relationship you have built. However, we understand that other issues may have come up. If this is the case, please discuss this with your mentor so they may open their project to another student. Also, please email Rachel Liao at somiii at<mailto:somiii at> to inform us of your decision.

What if my SoD project is still on, but the timeline will no longer allow me to finish by the end of the summer?
Research often hits road bumps, including planned timelines. You are still welcome to register for the III. To receive a passing grade for the III, you will need to present a poster at the Fall Poster Session. If you do not have data by the time of the poster session, you can either present preliminary data, or what you anticipate finding based on what you learned over the summer.

What if my SoD project is now different from what I submitted in my proposal?
We are happy that mentors are finding alternative plans and welcome new directions. Simply email Dr Stack (somiii at<mailto:somiii at>) a brief paragraph of how the project changed before the summer starts. There is no need to submit a new proposal.

Am I allowed to travel to another Foundation Site to do my SoD or SoI project?
We do not have an answer to this yet because our campuses have not confirmed whether they are open for the summer and there is a shelter in place order in Washington and quarantine orders in place in Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. We continue to use our guiding principles of keeping students safe, keeping our faculty and staff safe, ensuring patients are safe and well cared for, making sure students are getting the education they need, and can graduate on time. Things continue to evolve and we will continue to keep you updated. If by summer, state quarantines are lifted and travel to other Foundations sites are permitted, the moving fund ($2650) will be dispersed, exact timing is still TBD.

If you end up not able to travel to another Foundation Site for your project, we recommend discussing with your Faculty Mentor if there is an alternative project that can be done remotely. If not, and you would like to do another project, please contact your local Research Advisor<> and Regional Foundation Dean for help finding a new opportunity.

Will RUOP be cancelled?
At this time, sites are open and RUOP is still on track to proceed this summer.

What if I want to do RUOP without the III component?
RUOP-III includes (1) a high yield public health curriculum to help you gain valuable insight<> into community assessment as a physician and (2) participation in the Fall Poster Session. If you want to do RUOP without the III component, you can register for RUOP alone. The RUOP only course will include a telehealth curriculum that coincides with the 4 week clinical experience. It will take place over the summer, without extending into the fall, and will be 6 or 8 credits (final number of credits TBD). The course number for this is currently in process, but we will be able to tell you this information before the summer so you can register. Please complete this survey<> to indicate your interest in the RUOP only course by 5 pm, Friday, May 1st. The RUOP team strongly suggests that if you are doing a RUOP, you do the RUOP-III.

What if I no longer want to do RUOP?
We highly encourage you to follow through with RUOP. This is an experience unique to our medical school that will change the way you practice medicine. Very few schools have the ability to embed students in a community to truly engage with determinants of health outside the clinic. We have also found the RUOP experience to be a large talking point in residency interviews, further demonstrating that this is a unique opportunity. Regardless, we also understand that there may be new factors that have come up since applying. If this is the case, you may opt out and not register for RUOP. Please complete this survey<> to inform us of your decision to not do RUOP by 5 pm, Friday, May 1st.

What if I will do a project but no longer want to register for the III?
If you are doing a project (SoD, SoI, RUOP, or RUOP-III), then you are required to register. This is because students engaging in scholarly work are required to be covered by accident and malpractice insurance and must pay for access to medical school resources (i.e. lab equipment, EMR access, the Health Sciences Library, campus buildings, etc). Registration covers this insurance and fees. Registration will also ensure the III is on your transcript, which can serve as documentation that you were engaged in formal scholarly activity.

Will there be other opportunities in medical school to do a scholarly project?
Absolutely! Our institution is a world leader in scholarly work. If you would like to pursue a project later in medical school, please see the section of our website dedicated to scholarship for MS2-MS4s: This site includes a Research Database, tips on EMR access, IRB troubleshooting, and much more.

What if I am doing the III-Alternative (for those remediating course work over the summer)?
For those who need to remediate a block or thread, Dr Stack will contact you about your plans this week. Because the III is no longer required, you are no longer required to do the III-Alternative. You may instead register for the course you are remediating.

I still have questions…
Please reach out to your region’s Foundation Dean, they are ready to answer any questions from finding projects to summer tuition. We will also have webinar to answer any questions or concerns on Monday, April 27th at 5:30-6:30 pm PST, Zoom link:

Please let us know if you have any questions about the above. We are here to support you!

In good health,
Shobha Stack
and Michael Ryan

Shobha Stack, PhD, MD, FACP
Director of Medical Student Scholarship
University of Washington School of Medicine
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers