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Essential "MUSTS" for a PREP Program

The overall goal of PREP is to encourage individuals from groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences and who have recently obtained their baccalaureate degrees to earn a Ph.D. degree in biomedically relevant sciences through well-designed academic enhancements and extensive research experiences. In accordance with this goal, applicant institutions should recruit students from targeted groups who have expressed a strong desire to pursue biomedical Ph.D. degrees, particularly those who may have already applied to Ph.D. programs at research-intensive institutions but, for reasons such as lack of research skills and experience and/or less competitive academic records, were not admitted into these programs. Based on the program announcement (PAR-17-051), the following list shows the essential items that must be included in PREP applications.

Student Development

  • The institutional program must determine the individual student's academic and research experiences and develop a program of study that will enhance the student's academic record and research skills within a 1-year internship period. Based on this determination, students are expected to take academic courses appropriate to the requirements of highly selective Ph.D. programs and engage in independent research projects that will allow them to develop their own hypotheses and design experiments to test these hypotheses.
  • The PREP activities must be integrated with other institutional student development and training programs or graduate students' activities in order for the PREP students to have productive peer group interactions and networking, and be informed of other opportunities available for predoctoral studies at these institutions.
  • The institutional program must ensure that PREP students apply to high quality Ph.D. programs immediately following their internship. A plan for how the students will be directed toward highly selective Ph.D. programs should be included in the application.

Institutional Profile

  • The applicant institution must be a research-intensive institution that has a significant number of faculty mentors with active and well-funded research programs to support adequate research and academic training of participants. It is likely that research-intensive institutions with strong Ph.D. programs in biomedical sciences have first-rate predoctoral students who could also provide excellent and challenging, but supportive, peer mentoring to PREP students.


  • The applications must have an evaluation or assessment plan to determine the efficacy of a given intervention by assessing program outcomes, impact and implementation. Measurable objectives should be carefully described and must have relevance to the preparation of PREP participants to complete a first-rate Ph.D. degree in biomedically relevant sciences. A strategy to monitor the career trajectory of PREP students for at least 10 years after participating in the program should be included when identifying program outcomes.
  • Baseline information on the institutions' graduate student profile in participating departments must be provided and should include:
    • The Ph.D. admission rate of target and non-target groups;
    • Graduation rate of predoctoral students (both target and non-target groups);
    • Overall number of students (target and non-target) with predoctoral training/fellowships grants; and,
    • Overall number of individuals (target and non-target) with competitive postdoctoral fellowships or positions.

    The impact of PREP on the institutional student demographics should be provided in renewal applications using the data above and should compare the numbers before and after the PREP grant was awarded.

This page last reviewed on November 14, 2016