Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Academic Associate Program in Research


Academic Associate Program

The Academic Associate Program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is a volunteer program structured to provide Pre-Medical and Pre-Health post-baccalaureate students an opportunity to participate in on-going clinical research studies in the Emergency Department.  During these shifts, students receive one-on-one mentoring with research coordinators to support the goals and objectives of the research studies. Thousands of students have taken part in this program over the past 24 years and found it an excellent way to experience being part of a clinical team in this high acuity healthcare environment. Many students have become key members of research projects and developed relationships with faculty that have been a foundation for a career in healthcare.

Students learn the clinical studies and develop the skills to screen potential participants, interview families, and obtain informed consent where appropriate. Students work closely with emergency physicians and nursing staff on a wide range of studies including multi-center clinical trials, assessments of diagnostic tests, and new translational technology.


  • Students will cover TWO (2) - 4-6 hour clinical shifts per week and must commit to attending these every week throughout the semester. Changes must be arranged by the student by switching times with other students in the program.
  • Shift times are 7 days per week and follow two tracks.  Track 1 shifts are 6:45 am to 12:15 pm, 11:45 am to 6:15 pm and 5:45 pm to midnight. Track 2 shifts are 9:45 am to 2:15 pm, 1:45 pm to 6:15 pm, and 5:45 pm to 10 pm.  Students will select one Track 1 and one Track 2 shift.
  • There will be up to 6 mandatory meetings on Wednesdays throughout the semester. Students need to be available ALL Wednesdays throughout the semester from 4pm-6pm, as well as from 4pm-8pm for Major Orientation. You will be dismissed immediately from the program for failure to attend any required sessions. Two of these meetings must be attended in-person: Major Orientation and the final lecture. The remaining meetings you may attend in person or via webcast, and will be held 4pm-6pm on Wednesdays. You will also have the opportunity to participate in topic-specific labs and workshops; these are optional but highly recommended, and will be held on select Wednesdays throughout the semester.
  • Students will be required to attend ONE (1) Mini Orientation before the start of the semester.
  • For the Summer semester, Mini Orientations will be held on Friday, May 12th 3pm-5pm,  Monday, May 15th 9am-11am, and Tuesday, May 16th 4pm-6pm
    For the Fall Semester, Mini Orientations will be held on Thursday, August 24th 4pm-6pm, Monday, August 28th 12pm-2pm, and Tuesday, August 29th 5pm-7pm   


Advanced planning is required to complete the requirements (at least 4-6 weeks for hospital clearances). To learn more about the program and to apply, contact Phillip Watts at