The student research program provides an opportunity for dental students to become involved in research during the academic year as well as in the summer inter-session period. While there is no requirement for students to become involved in research while completing the requirements for the D.D.S. program, they are encouraged to do so.
Participation in research encourages critical review and analysis of scientific design - skills crucial to the development of clinical competence in the processes of patient diagnosis and treatment evaluation. Such experiences also provide the student with insight into additional career alternatives in dentistry. This opportunity has led a number of participants to pursue careers in academic dentistry on both a full- or part-time basis. In addition, the research experience allows students to interact and work with faculty under more informal circumstances.
Other benefits include publication of research in scientific literature, as well as travel for presentation of data at national and international meetings. Recently, several participants in the Student Research Program presented research projects at the International Association for Dental Research in Acapulco, Boston, and Chicago; future meeting sites include Seattle, Washington USA.
Many students work with a single faculty member on research in a specific area that extends over three or four years of their dental school experience. By compiling the results of completed research into a thesis and presenting the results of their efforts to the members of the Student Research and Honors Committee, students may graduate with thesis honors - a designation noted on the diploma.