For more than 40 years, the faculties of Duke University School of Medicine (SOM) and Stanford University SOM have encouraged or required students to engage in scholarship as a way to broaden their education and attract them to careers in academic medicine. A dedicated period of research was first integrated into the Duke curriculum in 1959 to provide an opportunity for students to develop into physician leaders through a rigorous scholarly experience in biomedically related research. Originally designed to foster experience in laboratory-based basic research, the third-year program has evolved in response to the changing landscape of medicine and shifting needs and career interests of the medical student population. Stanford University SOM also has a long-standing commitment to biomedical research and currently requires each student to complete an in-depth, mentored "scholarly concentration." In contrast to Duke, where most of the scholarly research experiences take place in an immersive third year, the Stanford program encourages a longitudinal, multiyear exposure over all four (or five) years of medical school. Although the enduring effects of embedding a rigorous research program are not yet fully known, preliminary data suggest that these experiences instill an appreciation for research, impart research rigor and methodologies, and may motivate students to pursue careers in academic medicine. The authors discuss the histories, evolution, logistics, and ongoing challenges of the research programs at Duke University SOM and Stanford University SOM.