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Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP)

A unique experience in clinical, translational, and basic science research for recent college graduates

Graduate training requires significant preparation during the undergraduate college experience. Some talented underrepresented students discover research late in their college careers and need more research experience to compete for top Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. programs.

The Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) encourages individuals from underrepresented groups or from a disadvantaged background who hold a recent baccalaureate degree in a biomedically relevant area of study to pursue a research doctorate. The program focus is to strengthen the research skills and academic competitiveness of program participants in an effort to help meet the critical need for diverse investigators in basic and translational research.

This objective is achieved by providing:

  • An intense mentored research experience in basic science or translational research in the top laboratories at Mayo Clinic
  • Special seminars and selected graduate-level courses to expand each student's knowledge base so they can begin to apply basic science knowledge to biomedical research
  • Mentoring and guidance to assist with successful continuation into a research doctorate program to succeed in a basic or translational biomedical research career



  • U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
  • Underrepresented students who have earned a bachelor's degree within the past three years, or seniors about to graduate in a biomedical science discipline who are planning to pursue a Ph.D. degree in biomedical science. This program is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The program follows the definition of underrepresented individuals defined by the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences and considers underrepresented individuals as those belonging to these groups:
    • Black/African-American
    • Hispanic or Latino
    • American Indian or Alaska Native
    • Native Hawaiian or U.S. Pacific Islander
    • Individuals with a life-altering disability
    • Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Students who are willing to make a full-time, personal commitment to the program similar to that of a first-year graduate student.

Program details

  • Up to six research assistantships are available on an annual basis, usually for a period of one year (a second year of support may be available)
  • A salary of $28,000 a year
  • Full eligibility for Mayo Clinic's benefit package, including low-cost, comprehensive medical coverage
  • A dynamic mentored research experience in a supportive environment characterized by outstanding research resources, a cooperative approach to research and an atmosphere with the highest level of mutual respect among all students and staff
  • A curriculum that includes seminars, workshops, and courses
  • Extensive mentoring on career choices and applying to graduate school
  • Careful matching between student and mentor research and career interests
  • GRE study materials and tutoring
  • The option to enroll in a limited number of Ph.D.-level graduate courses (up to four credits per quarter) at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
  • Students interested in pursuing an M.D.-Ph.D. degree must submit their MCAT scores on the application and include their AMCAS documentation


The curriculum is designed for students to begin in early June. However, other starting dates may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

How to apply

The application deadline is April 1 before the summer in which you intend to enroll in PREP. For example, if you intend to enroll in the 2021-2022 academic year, your application is due April 1, 2021. Applications received after this date will be considered on a space-available basis. Applicants are encouraged to apply early.

Please note, the application window has been adjusted to Sept. 1, 2020 - April 1, 2021 due to a change in application systems. You will only be allowed to submit your application during this window.

Application instructions

Complete the following steps to apply:

  1. Create an account to begin the online Application for Admission
    • Select – Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
    • Select – PREP Program
  2. Complete each section of the application and submit
  3. After submission, view the required Supplemental Items and Documents
    • Upload each required item in the Supplemental Items section
    • Complete the Recommendation Request section

Additional required items

  • Personal statement.
  • AMCAS documents if applying to M.D.-Ph.D. program following PREP program.
  • Three letters of recommendation are required and must be completed in the Recommendation Request section. Each recommender will receive an email with a link to complete a rating form and upload a letter.
  • Unofficial or official college transcripts may be uploaded in the Supplemental Items area for application purposes.

Selection criteria and process

Application evaluation is a holistic process. All materials submitted with the application play a role in the selection process. As students come from very diverse backgrounds and have many different future interests, none of the application elements dominate in the selection process. The Selection Committee looks for individuals who show the greatest promise of succeeding in disease-oriented basic and translational research careers.

Processing and review of completed applications begins during the first week in February. Appointment offers are made on a rolling basis.

Supported by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

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