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Fact Sheet on Programs to Enhance Diversity in the Biomedical Sciences

Frequently asked questions for students and parents

Does NIGMS offer scholarships for underrepresented students, financially disadvantaged individuals or students with disabilities?

No. NIGMS does not offer scholarships.

We support programs that enhance diversity at colleges and universities, and provide funds to support individuals from underrepresented groups who wish to pursue Ph.D.s or M.D.-Ph.D.s in biomedical research. The schools then select the students to be supported on the grant. See a list of these participating schools.

What majors fall under the biomedical science category?

Researcher in the lab.Majors that fall under the biomedical science category include biochemistry, bioengineering, biology, cell biology, chemistry, genetics, mathematics, microbiology, neurobiology, physics and physiology.

How does NIH define underrepresented groups?

NIH encourages institutions to enhance the participation of individuals from groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences, such as:

  • Individuals from racial and ethnic groups shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research including Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders;
  • Individuals with disabilities, defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; and
  • Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as those from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds and those who come from an educational environment that has inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to be eligible for funding?

Yes. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to be eligible for funding. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible.

Will NIGMS pay for my medical school education?

No. NIGMS will pay for medical training only as part of the combined M.D.-Ph.D. degree, which prepares students for careers in biomedical research.

Whom can I contact for more information about NIGMS diversity programs?

You can contact a staff member in the NIGMS Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity (TWD) for additional information.

Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
National Institutes of Health
45 Center Drive MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Tel: 301-594-3900

View an overview of TWD programs by career stage.

NIGMS is a part of the National Institutes of Health that supports basic research to increase our understanding of biological processes and lay the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. For more information on the Institute's research and training programs, see

Content updated August 2015

This page last reviewed on September 24, 2015