Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP)

The Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at CSU aims to fill the gap in veterinarians trained in foundational, translational, and/or clinical research. This multi-track program enables recent Bachelor of Science graduates from underrepresented minority, first-generation, and/or socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds to be competitive to enter either a Ph.D. (track 1) or combined D.V.M./Ph.D. (track 2) program.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the goal of the national Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program is to develop a diverse pool of well-trained postbaccalaureates who will transition into and complete rigorous biomedical, research-focused doctoral degree programs in biomedical fields relevant to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences mission.

Program activities

Trainees will enhance their aptitude for foundational, translational and/or clinical research, develop skills in independent critical reasoning, creative ideation, observation and rigorous experimental design and analytical interpretation, peer mentorship, and responsible and ethical conduct of research. Confirmation of acceptance to a graduate program upon successful completion of the program is desired, but not required.

Participants will engage in veterinary and translational medicine research training through research skills development, professional skills development, and scientific research:

Research skills development

Includes training, courses, and workshops to help participants develop laboratory skills that support their faculty-led research lab experience.

Trainees will:

  • Participate in training to develop laboratory skills in relevant techniques (i.e. pipetting, performing PCRs, sterile technique, etc.)
  • Learn to analyze results of experiments and interpret them in the context of the hypothesis and relevant literature (data interpretation and analysis skills)
  • Enroll in and complete NIH’s Responsible Conduct of Research training during the first semester of the program (required before mentor-guided lab work can begin)
  • Develop research presentation skills through mentor guidance and seminars
  • Present at Science Slam and PREP Talks

Professional skills development

Trainees will:

  • Participate in orientation, courses, seminars (at least 2 per month), and workshops that enhance independent research, as directed by program leadership
  • Complete required courses:
    • MIP 481A2, Graduate Fellowship Proposal Preparation
    • MIP 540, Fundamentals of Biosafety and Biosecurity
    • MIP 611, Advanced Microbiological Research Methods OR ERHS 535, R Programming for Research (skills courses)
    • MIP 780A3, Research Team Mentoring
    • VM 603, Veterinary Science: Research and Methods (for D.V.M./Ph.D. track only)
  • Engage in mentorship team activities, including peer mentoring
  • Prepare and submit at least 3 applications to Ph.D. or D.V.M./Ph.D. programs (application fees are covered by program)
  • Submit a Graduate Research Fellowship Program grant to NSF following instruction from course leaders
  • Participate in all evaluation activities (end-of-program survey and participant interviews conducted by the CSU Institute for Research in the Social Sciences)

Scientific research

Trainees will gain hands-on research lab experience working under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

Lab activities include:

  • Formulating hypotheses and determining proper controls and experimental protocols specific to selected research study
  • Performing data interpretation and analysis for selected research study
  • Presenting research study results at a national conference near the completion of the program


Applicants must:

  • hold a Bachelor of Science in a biomedically relevant field (such as microbiology, biomedical sciences, or closely related field) from an accredited college or university awarded no more than 36 months before applying.
  • be from underrepresented groups as defined by the NIH (includes individuals underrepresented by race, ethnicity, dis/ability, income level, or first-generation status; see NIH’s Interest in Diversity notice for full list of underrepresented populations).
  • intend to apply to research-focused biomedical doctoral degree programs (e.g. Ph.D. or D.V.M./Ph.D.) during or immediately following completion of PREP. Intent to pursue medical degrees does not qualify.
  • be United States citizens or non-citizen nationals or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (at the time of appointment).
  • be able to begin the program July 1, 2024.
  • not be enrolled in a degree granting program when they begin PREP.


Financial support includes:

  • $30,000 stipend (July 1, 2024-June 30, 2025)
  • Employee Study Privilege benefit (9 credit hours)
  • $2,000 travel stipend
  • $2,500 child care supplement (as needed)

Application information

Before applying, applicants are encouraged to identify a PREP faculty member whose research aligns with their interest.

Please be prepared to:

  1. describe your specific interest in PREP, highlighting how you will benefit from the program.
  2. describe your current and future career goals, specifically discussing your personal and academic experiences (including pre-college and college experiences) that led you to those goals.
  3. discuss your personal interest in increasing diversity in the biomedical workforce.

Application materials

  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation:
    • Referral letter: Should come from a faculty mentor or professor with whom you have worked, or a coordinator/director of a program you have previously applied to that can address how this program will increase your competitiveness for admission to a graduate program.
    • Letter from a professor, employer, or researcher: Speaks to your educational qualifications, work ethic, and desire to pursue a graduate degree.

2024 Application

Applications accepted through April 30, 2024. Priority deadline was March 22, 2024.

2024 Application timeline

Application opens
Priority deadline for applications

Priority applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. MT.

Application closes
Final decisions

Contact us

CSU Ram head on green background
Vanessa Selwyn, Ph.D.

Program Coordinator