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I'm interested in applying to STAR-PREP, but cannot locate the application. How can I access the application?
Once the application is available, there will be a button on the homepage, "Apply to STAR-PREP." Applicants will be asked to create an account through the Research Logix portal. All application materials should be submitted through this portal. 

I would prefer to submit all of my information early in the application cycle. However, my Fall grades will not be available until January, should I wait until January to apply?
Since we will accept unofficial transcripts for the review process, there isn't a problem with submitting all of your application material early in the process and then uploading your Fall grades and resubmitting the application. 

When will the application cycle open?
We're anticipating the next application cycle opening in early Fall 2021.

When is the deadline for applications and supporting documentation?
The PRIORITY DEADLINE is anticipated to close Monday, February 28th, 2022.  We encourage all applicants to apply and submit all materials by this date. Applications and materials received after the priority deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis if slots are still available in the program.  

What if my letters of recommendation are received after the deadline?
If applications or other materials are received after that date, applications will be reviewed as space allows. Please email if you have questions about your letters of recommendation. 

Who should write the letters of recommendation for my application?
Your letters of recommendation should be written by a research mentor or someone who is familar with your research interests. If you have not had a lot of research experience, a letter of recommendation from a faculty member who taught the lab portion of a physical science course and is familar with your research interests would be appropriate as well.

I'm having difficulty locating a faculty member with my research interest(s). Where should I look for this information?There is a link for faculty research in the application. This same link can be found at the top of the Current Mentors section. You're able to search by both the name of faculty member or you can search for mentors by research interest. If you're still having problems locating a potential mentor, please contact our program at .

Does my undergraduate degree have to be in a biological science to apply to the program?
Having an undergraduate degree in biological science would be beneficial for entry into PREP, since the program is designed for students who want to pursue a career in biomedical research. However, having an undergraduate degree in a biological science is not a requirement. Applicants should have a biomedically relevant degree. It is necessary to have adequate course work in physical sciences/life science (physics, engineering, chemistry, biology and/or neuroscience) for entry into the program. It is possible for a student to have an undergraduate degree in another area and also have sufficient science course work. If you have specific questions about your academic coursework, please contact us at 

What do you look for in a competitive applicant?
Applications are reviewed in their entirety. This includes courses taken, grades, research experience, essays, letters of recommendation, and any other information the applicant provides. The leadership team primarily looks for applicants who have a passion for science, which should be evident through your prior research experience, courses, letters of recommendation, and essays.

I received my first baccalaureate degree (BA) more than three years ago. I returned to school for a second baccalaureate degree and will be graduating with a BS in May. Am I eligible to apply to your program?
If you obtained your first baccalaureate degree more than three years ago and returned to school for a second bachelor's degree, your eligibility would be based on when your first degree was awarded. Please refer to the funding announcement (PAR-20-066) for additional information and exceptions. 

When will the start date be for the next cohort?
The start date for the 2022 cohort is estimated to be around June 22nd, 2022. This is just an estimate and will be deteremined by Human Resources.

How has COVID-19 changed the STAR-PREP program? 
We've been able to maintain all of the programming for scholars in our current cohort. However, we've had to modify how the programming is delivered to ensure safety of the scholars.  In 2020 and 2021, the start of our program including the orientation was virtual. Our scholars continue to programming throughout the year and attend courses. Scholars are currently engaged in in-person lab research on campus that complies with all state and University COVID-19 guidelines. 

Am I able to visit labs before receiving a decision from the program?
Generally we are unable to accommodate requests to visit labs before applying to the program. However, applicants are encouraged to review all information on the STAR-PREP webpage, visit the GPILS faculty pages, and review recent faculty publications. The STAR-PREP grants coordinator is able to answer any additional questions about the program and able to assist applicants with picking potential mentors for the application. 

I'm not sure if the program is a good fit for me. How do I make that determination?
If you have questions about if this program will help you to meet your goals or if you are unsure if you meet the eligibility requirements, please e-mail and a staff or faculty member will follow-up with you.

Will this program prepare me to apply to MD,  DO, or MD-PhD programs?
This program is not ideal for people who are interested in applying to MD or DO programs. The goal of STAR-PREP is to prepare applicants who want to go into careers as research scientists. Therefore, the focus throughout the program is on skills related to research training, quantitative skills, professional development, research courses, and taking the GRE. We are not able to provide any additional funding to assist with preparing for or taking the MCAT. We are looking for students who are interested in obtaining PhDs.

In some cases, the program may be appropriate for students interested in MD-PhDs.

If I'm not eligible for this program, what other options could I look into to enhance my CV/resume to apply for a PhD, MD, or MD-PhD program in the future?
Applicants who are not eligible for this PREP, may be interested in looking into other NIGMS PREP funded programs. It is possible that some of these PREPs may have additional funding to fund a student who may not meet all of the NIGMS requirements. Students should contact programs individually. There are over 40 program across the country.

While NIGMS is one funder of PREPs for biomedical sciences geared towards PhDs, there are other PREP-type programs as well. Johns Hopkins University has a Doctoral Diversity Program (DDP) for MD, MD-PhD, and PhD interested students. The AAMC webpage also has PREPs that are geared towards students who want to enter medical school (MD programs). 

As an alternative to a PREP, students may be interested in look into short-term research jobs such as a research assistant, clinical research assistant, research coordiantor, or laboratory technician. Some jobs may offfer tuition remission or tuition reimbursement to allow employees to take graduate level courses while working. Job posting can be found on University Human Resources pages or Career pages. Please visit the UMB Human Resources Page if you're interested in looking into research job. Your undergraduate academic advisor and/or Career Center can also be a valueable source of information for additional opportunities. 

If interested in receiving additional mentoring, students can consider checking out the National Research Mentoring Network. This platform allows mentees to connect with potential mentors from many different disciplines.