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What to expect as a PREP Scholar

UNC PREP is a training program for students who have recently completed their Bachelor’s degree (Post-Baccalaureates or “Postbacs”) and wish to pursue a career in the Biomedical Sciences. The goal of PREP is to prepare students from groups traditionally under-represented in the sciences for entry and success in top Biomedical PhD programs. Students spend a year at UNC Chapel Hill gaining valuable research experience, taking relevant graduate-level coursework, and participating in professional development activities tailored to their specific needs.

UNC PREP Timeline

The PREP year begins in early June and runs through the following May (12 months).

SUMMER (June – Aug)
  • Arrive at UNC Chapel Hill and meet your fellow cohort
  • Lab Skills Bootcamp: Hands-on crash course for working in a biomedical research lab including maintaining a lab notebook, lab math, common techniques such as PCR, Western Blot, IP, DNA analysis, BLAST, biostatistics and more.
  • Critical Analysis of Scientific Literature course which builds skills in reading primary research papers and critically analyzing them.
  • Professional development workshops such as: time management, money management, succeeding in the research lab, and writing a personal statement
  • Learn about research opportunities at UNC and meet with faculty to identify a research mentor
  • Begin full time work in a research lab
FALL (Aug-Dec)
  • Participate in a graduate level course
  • Participate in weekly PREP group meetings covering a range of topics important for your development and career
  • Begin work on graduate school applications
  • Gain interview skills important during graduate school visits
  • Present your research at a national meeting (ABRCMS)
  • Continue working on independent research projects in the laboratory
SPRING (Jan-May)
  • Go on graduate school interviews
  • Grant Writing Workshops
  • Professional development training such as career info and presentation skills
  • Finish up research projects

Student Support

All PREP scholars will receive a living stipend of $30,000 during their year in the PREP program. In addition, scholars will receive full tuition, health insurance, and funds to travel to a scientific conference.


UNC PREP participants must be:

  • US citizen; or a noncitizen national of the United States; or lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment
  • Recent baccalaureate graduates from an accredited U.S. University (within the last 3 years before applying to PREP) in the biomedical or behavioral sciences
  • Interested/ attempted to apply to biomedical or biological PhD programs

Please Note: Applicants belonging to underrepresented groups in the biological and biomedical sciences are highly encouraged to apply. Please see NIH Interest in Diversity Statement for more details.