Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)

CLICK HERE to access the online application.

The Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) has been offered at the Medical College of Wisconsin for over 30 years. During that time, SPUR has hosted hundreds of students who have since made significant contributions to science and humanity through their current positions as teachers, instructors, professors, researchers, industry professionals, government leaders and clinicians.

SPUR hosts roughly 25-30 participants each summer from across the country who gain valuable research experience, refine critical thinking skills, build upon academic and professional networks and are introduced to various disciplines of science.

Participation in SPUR is intended for students who are currently enrolled at an accredited college or university who intend to pursue scientific-based graduate studies.

Participant Testimonials

“I will cherish the experience that I gained from this program, and I am thankful that MCW does this for undergraduate students. I will recommend this program to anyone who’s teetering with the decision of what they want to do after they finish their undergraduate degree in science.”

‐ Kathryn Wagner, Viterbo University

“These ten weeks have been one of the most rewarding experiences of my undergraduate career. I am elated to have had the opportunity to work with fantastic faculty members and peers every day.”

‐ Kriti Acharya, Loras College

“I gained very valuable experience and relationships through the SPUR program this year. I am really grateful for the opportunity I have had to be a part of this lab and this program.”

‐ Matthew Weyer, Macalester College


Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the webpages of the MCW departments, institutes and centers listed below to further review the areas of research that previous SPUR participants have been exposed to.

Advanced Ocular Imaging Program



Cancer Center

Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy

Children's Research Institute

Clinical & Translational Science Institute


Institute for Health & Society

Microbiology & Molecular Genetics

Pharmacology & Toxicology



CLICK HERE to review abstracts of the research that our 2015 SPUR participants were involved with.

CLICK HERE to access the online application.



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  Eligibility & Application

All students enrolled in a degree seeking program at an accredited institution of higher learning are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to current sophomores and juniors with a GPA of 3.2 or higher that have an interest in research-based graduate programs.

A complete application includes submission of our online application form, two letters of recommendation and official transcript(s). The letters of recommendation must be written by current and/or former professors/instructors or advisors, and should convey the applicant's interest in the sciences and research. The transcript(s) must be provided from any and all institutions of higher learning that the applicant has attended since graduating high school.

The online application form allows applicants to preference three areas of research interest. Faculty from those research areas will review applications based on those areas of preference indicated by the applicant. Previous laboratory experience is preferred but not required, and participants will need to adjust accordingly to working in various laboratory settings.


All documentation as part of the application process (online form, letters of recommendation and transcript) must be submitted and/or postmarked by the application deadline. The application deadline for SPUR, 2016 is scheduled to be Monday, February 1, 2016. Transcripts should be sent to the following address:


MCW Graduate School (SPUR)
Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226


Letters of recommendation can also be sent to this address, or sent electronically as an email attachment to Regardless of the method of submission, the letters must be written on officiall college/university letterhead.

Applicants are typically notified no later than April 15, 2016 regarding their status. Applicants chosen to participate are sent an offer letter via email. Upon accepting the offer, the applicant's participation in SPUR is contingent upon completing and successfully passing a background check.


Applicants selected to participate in SPUR receive a stipend and are provided housing on an as-needed basis. The stipend for 2015 was $3,500.00, and was provided to participants in two equal payments. The first payment is issued near the halfway through the program, while the second payment is issued at the end of the program. Participants living outside of the greater Milwaukee area are provided with housing at no additional cost and is in addition to the stipend they receive.

Participants are not provided with reimbursement for travel nor do they typically receive a meal plan.

  Supplemental Information

All participants are required to provide...

  • Proof of health insurance
  • Payroll Verification
  • Emergency Contact Information

...following acceptance and successful completion of a background check. Additional documentation may be required as well.

  International Students

International students studying at US domestic institutions on a F-1 visa are eligible to apply and participate in the program. The F-1 status is required for participation. All international students accepted into the program must work with their on-campus international student advisor. You will need to start the application process for OPT/CPT. If you receive an offer contact the international student advisor on your campus ASAP. Additional information is required from international students from the Medical College of Wisconsin. Please contact for additional information.


MCW Graduate School (SPUR)
Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509

Phone: 414-955-4402

Contact Us

Graduate School
(414) 955-8218

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Medical College of Wisconsin
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509

MCW Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)

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MCW Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)




MCW Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)


Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 955-8296
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Page Updated 09/30/2015