Frequently Asked Questions

I graduated from my degree program. Am I eligible to apply? 
Yes. Recent graduates are those who graduated no earlier 24 months before the start of the program in June. For example, if you are applying for the program that begins in June 2020, your degree should be awarded no earlier than May 2018.

What is the definition of an underrepresented minority used for this Program? 
The program follows the definition of “Underrepresented Minorities in Science" used by the NIH. This includes people who are: African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islander, and rural Appalachian. We do not make any a priori determinations of eligibility before reviewing the applications.

For more information on the federal government’s definitions of race and ethnicity

For more information on the federal government’s definition of rural Appalachia

I am not available to attend the orientation during the first week of June. Can I still participate? 
No. Program participants are required to attend the Orientation Week which takes place in New York City during the first week of June. Generally speaking, students leave for their placements directly after Orientation Week and remain abroad for the next 9 to 11 weeks. Variations to this timeline are possible.

My school starts in early August, can I still apply? 
No. The program requires a commitment of ten to twelve weeks. This includes the first week in June for Orientation and the 9 to 11 weeks following Orientation.

I am a medical student with a complicated schedule; can you accommodate my medical school schedule? 
No. The program sends students abroad in pairs. This helps to ensure co-mentoring and support of students. The program cannot prioritize the schedule of one student over another.

I am currently studying physics (or math, business, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.). Am I eligible to apply to the Program? 
Yes, if your skills can be applied to biomedical or health sciences.

I am an MPH student. Am I eligible to apply? 

I am a postdoctoral student. Am I eligible to apply? 

My GPA at my current/most recent educational institution is below a 3.0. Am I eligible to apply? 
No. The program requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 for participation.

I have no research experience, but am very interested in research. Am I eligible to apply? 
Yes. Research experience is not required.

I am an international student studying in the United States am I eligible to apply? 
No. Applicants must be US citizens, non-citizen nationals, or permanent residents.

Are students who are not in the "hard sciences" eligible to apply? 
Yes. Students in areas such as public health, social work, education, anthropology, and so on are welcomed to apply.

Is there a form the writer of my recommendation should fill out? 
No. Recommendation letters should be submitted either by you via the application tool or by the person writing the letter via email at Letters must be signed and on letterhead. All letters must be received by the application deadline for you to be considered for the program. We reserve the right to verify recommendations via phone or email.

I was given a hard copy of my letter of recommendation. Is there someplace I can send the letter myself? 
Yes. When you fill out your application, there is a section for you to attach letters of recommendation. If you have already completed your application, you can email the letter to us at

What do I do if the person writing my recommendation changes at the last minute? 
If the person writing your recommendation letter is different from the person you indicated on your application, no change needs to be made. We will see that the letter is from a different person.

The person writing my letter of recommendation did not submit the letter on time. Will my application be reviewed? 
No. The Selection Committee will only review complete applications that were submitted by the deadline.

May I choose the country and project to which I am assigned? 
No. The program matches students to projects/countries based on research interests and skills.

If accepted, my friend and I would like to be placed together. Is this possible? 
It is unlikely. The program matches students to projects/countries based on research interests and skills.

Where should I include poster presentations on the application form? 
Please include poster presentations under the section for conference presentations.

I only have a hard copy of my official transcript. Can I mail it to you? 
No. We do not accept transcripts via mail. You are only required to submit an unofficial transcript via the online application. Please scan your transcript and upload it in the application system.

If I am a graduate student, should I send in my undergraduate transcript? 
Yes. Transcripts from undergraduate education and previous training programs will be helpful in the selection process.

Will I receive notification when my application is received? How do I know if the application was complete and submitted by the deadline? 
When you submit your application, you should see a message on the application screen indicating that your application is submitted. Due to the volume of applications that we receive every year, we are unable to provide confirmation of receipt of all applications materials. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all materials are submitted by the deadline.

Contact Us

Luz Claudio, PhD
Program Director
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Call for Applicants [PDF]

Application Form