Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Preprofessional Opportunities

SMDEP: The University of Texas Dental Branch and Medical School at Houston


Category: Summer
Type: Dental
Location: Houston Texas
Deadline: Early March


To be eligible for SMDEP, an applicant must: * be currently enrolled as a freshman or sophomore in college; * have a minimum overall GPA of 2.5; * be a U.S. citizen or hold a permanent resident visa; and * not have previously participated in SMDEP. Other factors considered in the admissions process include whether an applicant: * identifies with a group that is racially/ethnically underrepresented in medicine and/or dentistry (as defined independently by each program site); * comes from an economically or educationally disadvantaged background; * has demonstrated interest in issues affecting underserved populations; and * submits a compelling personal statement and strong letters of recommendation. Each SMDEP site makes its admissions decisions on a "first come, first served" basis, therefore applying as early as possible increases your chance of being selected at your designated program site(s). Students should contact their school's health professions advisor or career counselor for advice on choosing which summer to apply to SMDEP and for other information about a career in the health professions.


The University of Texas Dental Branch and Medical School at Houston SMDEP seeks talented and motivated students from a variety of backgrounds including those who are underrepresented or underserved who are interested in pursuing a career in dentistry and medicine, including those who have an interest in serving the underserved. The mission of SMDEP is to assist students in enhancing their knowledge, skills, and attitudes to make them more competitive and to improve their chances of becoming successful applicants to a medical or dental school of their choice.

SMDEP serves to advance our institution's core missions of providing the highest quality education, conducting the highest caliber of research in biomedical and health sciences, and providing exemplary clinical care in a diverse and culturally competent environment.

SMDEP scholars will experience the following during their dedicated and intense six week experience at UTHealth in Houston:


  • Academic enrichment in five core areas: microbiology, anatomy and physiology, pre-calculus/calculus, physics, and organic chemistry;
  • Enhancement of study and communication skills while exploring ethical and professional behavior in healthcare;
  • Participate in financial planning, career development workshops, and academic counseling;
  • Shadow clinicians in such fields as emergency medicine, family practice, internal medicine, restorative dentistry, and oral surgery;
  • Participate in admission discussions and simulated interviews with SMDEP tutor members and admission deans in preparation for the formal application process;
  • Exposure of students to the real world of dentistry and medicine through a clinical medicine lecture series on cutting edge topics presented by experts in the field;
  • Interact socially with other SMDEP scholars, medical and dental students, and faculty who are committed mentors to enrich the experience.


  • Meals: Meal plan for breakfast and dinner 7 days a week at Memorial Herman Hospital, plus stipend support for lunches and some catered meals.

  • Travel Assistance: Not provided other than free shuttles to both airports when the summer program concludes.

  • Stipend: Three installments at the beginning, middle, and end of program.


  • Housing: Rice University air-conditioned dorm room.

  • Health Insurance: Not provided; scholars are required to bring with them their insurance cards in the event they require medical attention..

  • Social Activities: Exposure to the diverse social and cultural environment of Houston, TX through various group activities. Group activities include visits to local attractions, such as NASA (behind the scenes), the Museums of Health and Science, Museum of Fine Arts or Natural Science, and an Astros baseball game. Special events include welcome party, cultural activities, cookouts, birthday celebrations, graduation ceremony and more.