Welcome to UNC's SOLAR Program


UNC's Summer of Learning and Research (SOLAR) Program is an intensive 10-week experience designed to prepare under represented minority students for graduate research and careers in science.  The program is open to rising juniors and seniors from underrepresentated populations.  Our goal is to provide undergraduate students interested in careers in biomolecular research with an opportunity to carry out independent research projects under the guidance of a UNC faculty mentor. This intense summer research experience will introduce you to cutting-edge research and will provide you with a realistic view of graduate school and biomedical research careers. You will be immersed in the research process, including the design of a research project, methods for conducting controlled experiments, data collection, data analysis, and team-work. We will help you develop strong scientific communication skills and you will have the opportunity to present your work in the cross-campus summer research poster session at the end of the summer.

Click here for answers to frequently asked questions about the program.

The dates for SOLAR 2015 are Sunday, May 17th through Friday, July 24th.

What will you get in UNC's SOLAR program?

  • 10 weeks of mentored summer research on an independent project in the biological or biomedical sciences
  • Weekly GRE preparation classes
  • Weekly career mentoring and professional development workshopsbywell2
  • A journal club series teaches scientific literacy and critical thinking skills
  • Poster session to present your research at summer's end

How do I apply?

The application package consists of an application form, a personal statement, a resume, a transcript, and two letters of recommendation.  The application and personal statement are completed online, while the resume and transcript are submitted via email to the program director.  References should email their letter directly to the program director as well (jharrell@med.unc.edu).

The application deadline for SOLAR 2015 is February 25th, 2015.

The application for SOLAR 2015 will be available in mid-October.  

If you have any questions about the SOLAR program please contact Dr. Jessica Harrell, SOLAR Director, by email (jharrell@med.unc.edu) or phone (919.843.1570).

What kinds of life science research are going on at UNC?

UNC ranks among the best public universities in the nation.  We are a Research I institution with more than 300 active faculty members performing research in a variety of areas in the biological and biomedical sciences.  Many of our faculty are Nobel laureates or members of the National Academy of Sciences.  Once you are accepted into the SOLAR program, Dr. Harrell will work with you place you in a lab that matches your research interests.

For our industry partners.

Please click here for information on how your company can sponsor a talented visiting summer student.

Who can I contact if I still have questions?

Please contact:

Dr. Jessica Harrell, SOLAR Director

Office of Graduate Education, School of Medicine
CB# 7108, 1121 Bioinformatics Building.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7108

919 843-1570 (office)