Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program

Welcome to PennPREP

The University of Pennsylvania Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PennPREP) offers a one-to- two-year research experience for students who have completed college and are interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in the biomedical sciences. The program provides a significant research experience and preparation for applying to and succeeding in graduate school.

Applications for Summer 2021 are closed. Admission decisions will be sent in April.  


The goal of the program is to increase understanding of the principles and practices of biomedical research.  The core of the program is a long-term research project conducted in the laboratory of a skilled faculty mentor.  PREP scholars will learn to devise hypotheses, plan experiments, analyze results, and consider the impact of their research on their scientific discipline.  Activities in the lab will be supplemented with opportunities designed to prepare PREP scholars for graduate school, such as:

  • Research seminars, retreats, and conferences
  • One academic course per semester
  • Workshops in scientific writing, public speaking, career advising, and Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
  • Standardized test preparation courses
  • Application assistance, with a focus on the personal essay and interview skills
  • Social activities with other PREP scholars, program staff, undergraduate interns, graduate students, and laboratory associates
  • PREP scholars also receive a competitive stipend, including health insurance

Mentors are drawn from a group of over 600 faculty associated with Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS) at the University of Pennsylvania. Mentors are united by their extensive experience in training scientists.

Areas of Research:

Mentors are drawn from a group of over 600 biomedical faculty members representing various departments and schools. Broad areas of research interest include:

Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Cell and Molecular Biology

        - Cancer Biology

        - Cell Biology and Physiology

        - Developmental, Stem Cell, and Regenerative Biology

        - Gene Therapy and Vaccines

        - Genetics and Gene Regulation

        - Microbiology, Virology and Parasitology

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Genomics and Computational Biology




Application Process:

Applicants may apply directly to BGS via the online application

Required elements are:

  • Completed online application form
  • One statement detailing both your career goals and your area of research interest
  • Three letters of recommendation from academic faculty or advisors
  • Uploaded copy of your undergraduate transcript (official hard copy sent by mail)
  • Resume/CV

Application Instructions:

  • Create an account following the link above, taking you to a common application portal for graduate programs at BGS
  • Begin the application with your personal information
  • You will then be prompted to select which “graduate” program you are applying to. Select “Biomedical Graduate Studies, Perelman School of Medicine” and scroll to the bottom of the list and you will see PREP listed. Select PREP and Term Summer 2021.
  • Follow the remaining prompts.

Personal statement: In 1-2 pages, describe your academic interests and career goals. If you have had any research experiences, please describe them. State your specific scientific interests and any particular research areas or techniques you'd like to explore. Please upload your statement with your application.

Transcript: All PREP applicants are required to upload up-to-date unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended. Transcripts from completed programs should show proof of degree conferral. A final, official transcript showing conferral of degree will be required of all accepted students prior to matriculation.

Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation are required. Try to obtain letters from academic faculty who know you personally and can comment on your academic abilities and your aptitude for research.


Students receive a competitive stipend, health insurance, and tuition coverage for up to two courses. 


Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible for this program. Applicants must have a degree in a biomedical science from an accredited U.S. college or university and have graduated no more than 36 months prior to the start of the program. Applicants must intend to apply to a graduate program within two years of beginning the PREP program. Individuals who bring diversity to graduate study in the biological or biomedical sciences by reason of their culture, class, race, ethnicity, background, disability, work and life experiences, skills and interests are encouraged to apply for the program. Applications are especially encouraged from students who are Black/African-Americans, Hispanic/Latino/Chicano Americans, Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, and Pacific-Islanders.