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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
  • 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 recent baccalaureate graduates from an accredited U.S. University (within the last 3 years) in the biomedical or behavioral sciences and must belong to underrepresented groups in these sciences. Such candidates include individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds (socially, culturally, economically, or educationally). Nationally, racial and ethnic groups who have been found to be underrepresented in biomedical/behavioral research include, but are not limited to, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives/Native Hawaiians, and citizens of the U.S. Pacific Islands. UNC PREP participants must be U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents.