Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the program and when would I start? 

The program is two years long, and new classes begin each July. For example, the 2017-2019 cohort started on July 1, 2017 and will complete the program on June 30, 2019.

How will Scholars spend their time during the program?  

The specific schedule will vary both across Scholars (according to their interests) and across the Program sites. Generally, the first year is heavier on didactics, as Scholars are engaged in coursework, identifying partners for their research projects, and initiating their Scholarly work. Scholars have more time in year two to devote to research. Scholars devote approximately 10% of their time to clinical activities during each year. At no time may a Scholar devote more than 20% of their effort to clinical activities. Clinical activities may depend upon their project and interest, e.g. education, consultation, direct patient care.

Can I earn a Masters degree?

Yes, you can earn a master’s degree in an affiliated program at each site. Participation varies across sites: at some sites, scholar participation in an affiliated master’s program is a mandatory component of the NCSP; at others, it is optional. At the University of Pennsylvania, the MSHP is a required component of the program.

Does the NCSP program have a clinical component?

Yes. Ongoing clinical work helps Scholars maintain essential skills and relevance. Scholars’ clinical efforts are balanced with research- and leadership-focused education so that 10% of time (20% in special circumstances) is spent in clinical activities, which permits sufficient educational time for intensive learning in the two-year program.

Why is this a “National” Program - how are the four sites coordinating their efforts?

  • All sites share a common legacy and vision - to train/inspire agents of change;
  • All sites will include nurses and physicians in interdisciplinary efforts;
  • Strong collaboration across sites not only through recruitment planning and a national meeting but also sharing of critical curricular components;
  • Committed network of advisors as well as alumni from former RWJF CSP;
  • Rigorous assessment/oversight of quality through internal and external evaluation.

Is there an annual meeting for the NCSP?

Yes!  There is a NCSP National Meeting every year in the fall.  Scholars are part of a national cohort and scholars from all four sites attend an annual national meeting to present projects, network with peers and leaders from other institutions, and participate in workshops. The national meetings provide opportunities that are distinct beyond what the Scholars can gain from their own professional societies’ annual programs, because of the unique combination of community-partnered research efforts and inter-professional research training.

Do NCSP Scholars have access to an alumni network?

Yes! Graduates of this program are prepared to join an active network of Scholars from physician and nursing research training programs over the last several decades, whose innovations, collaborations and leadership have helped shaped improvements in US health and health care and have also characterized and stimulated the national research agenda regarding health services delivery and community health needs. The overarching goal of this program is to emulate the outstanding rigor of research training delivered in prior programs while also providing a leading platform for the development and training of an inter-professional, community-connected, and policy-relevant cohort of outstanding clinicians who will be leading Scholars that the US health care system needs to thrive in the future.

The program will network with the legacy of the vast clinician alumni networks of prior Clinician Scholars Program of over 1,300, the new RWJF Clinical Scholars Program and others such as National Research Service Award fellows (NRSA) and various VA Special Fellowships.

Who is eligible to apply?

Physicians and nurses with doctoral degrees who will have completed their clinical training prior to matriculating in the program are eligible to apply.  Surgeons are the single exception to the requirement; due to the structure of the “research years” in the middle of many surgical residencies, surgical residents who will be PGY-3 or higher are eligible to enroll in the program.

How do I apply?

All applications are submitted through a central website. You indicate on your application form which site you want to apply to, and the materials are distributed from our central office to the appropriate sites.  Interviews are part of the selection process.  See How to Apply page.

What happens if I am selected for an interview at Penn?

Interviewees are expected to attend a group dinner the evening before their interview day. This dinner will include current Clinical Scholars, program directors and faculty, and fellow interviewees. Dinners will be held at an off campus restaurant.  Time and location will be confirmed along with interview details. 


Below are some suggestions for lodging on and off the Penn campus.  You are responsible for hotel reservations and costs.

On-Campus Lodging

Off-Campus Lodging

For off-campus lodging in center city Philadelphia, we strongly recommend Club Quarters, where a discounted rate is available to Penn guests. 


Attire for the group dinner is casual.  Business attire is expected for your interview.  There may be a significant amount of walking across campus during your interview, so please keep in mind when planning your attire. Comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella are strongly recommended.

Interview Schedule

Interview schedules are emailed to applicants the week prior to the interview.  Last minute changes or additions may be emailed up to the day before.  Each applicant will meet with program leadership, potential research mentors and current Penn Scholars.

Maps of Campus

A map of the Penn Campus can be found here. Blockley Hall is located near the intersection of University Avenue and Civic Center Boulevard, between Guardian Drive and Curie Boulevard.

Helpful hints

Research the academic interests and publications of your interviewers, and review the campus map for the locations of your interviews.  While the office staff can help locate some interview locations for you, you will not be escorted to your interviews. 

When you arrive for the breakfast at Blockley Hall, it is advisable that you enter on Curie Boulevard through Stellar Chance Laboratories.  This door is open to visitors.  When you enter through Stellar Chance, take the stairs to your left.  At the top of the stairs, make a left into Blockley Hall.  Elevators are straight ahead. 

What is Philadelphia like?

We love it here and we think that you will too. Get to know the City of Brotherly Love via these online resources:

The uwishunu tourism blog in particular is a favorite of the staff:

Is this the same program as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars Program?

No. Although the RWJF provided generous support to the Clinical Scholars Program for about 40 years, the Foundation announced a reorganization of its Human Capital Portfolio in June 2017, ending support for their training programs in their current form. The Foundation is in the process of creating new training opportunities, which will be substantively different from the current Clinical Scholars Program, which is based at four university sites and is enrolling its final class in July of 2015. Previously, the place-based Clinical Scholars Program prepared physicians for health services and health policy research. A separate national program prepared nurse faculty leaders. This new program will include both nurses and physicians as trainees.

How is the NCSP different from the legacy RWJF Clinical Scholars Program?

Recognizing the importance of a site-based research, the four training sites that comprised the legacy Scholars Program have partnered with their local institutions, community partners, and the VA to build upon the strong foundation of their prior work. These partnerships have enabled the new National Clinician Scholars Program to move forward on an exciting new path. For the first time, there will be a strong commitment to interprofessional training, as post-doctoral nurses training as Scholars alongside the physicians, and Nursing faculty will closely integrated into all aspects of the program. Additionally, the program will build upon its commitment to engaged research, by closely integrating the interests of Scholars with partner organizations and faculty within each site.

How is the NCSP similar to the legacy RWJ Clinical Scholars Program?

Although no longer sponsored by the RWJ Foundation, the new NCSP retains many of the strengths of the legacy program.  The four participating sites have a combined experience training Scholars in excess of 100 years.  The sites have a strong commitment to innovation in teaching and scholarship, engaging partners in all phases of the research and educational process, and creating a culture where Scholars are inspired to work as change agents from within the system, with the goal not of seeking credit but of improving health of individuals, communities, and populations.

The Programs have outstanding curriculums in place, devoted faculty, engaged and enthusiastic community partners, and a tremendous national partner in the Veterans Administration. None of these will change.  National Clinician Scholars will receive the strong mentorship and robust training in research methods, policy, leadership, and communication skills that was a hallmark of the legacy Clinical Scholars Program.

© The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania | Site best viewed in a supported browser. | Report Accessibility Issues and Get Help | Privacy Policy | Site Design: DART Web Team.