Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I join the PREP program at UT Health San Antonio?
UT Health San Antonio was established in 1972 and houses five different schools – graduate, medical, dental, nursing and health professions. The graduate school runs 18 different programs and is fully accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award certificates and baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees. Faculty are involved in translational and clinical research using state-of-the-art equipment and also participate in outreach activities, offering extensive clinical and research opportunities. Overall, you will be trained in a professional environment and have access to excellent research opportunities in the area of your interest.
What are the benefits of the PREP program?
The PREP program offers a full year of paid, mentored research experience along with fundamental coursework in molecular and cellular biology, with tuition and fees covered for up to 2 courses, allowance for participation at a national conference for enhancing scientific communication skills and networking opportunities, and individualized advising, mock interviews and assistance in applying to graduate schools. Note that federal taxes, parking permit fees (if applicable) and health insurance contributions will be deducted from the salary as applicable.
When does the program begin and end?
PREP runs from July 1 through June 30 of the next year. Note that you will need to be available during those dates and will need to have arranged for housing (see below) prior to those dates.
Is a GRE preparation course included in the PREP curriculum?
A GRE preparation course is not offered as there are hundreds of graduate programs that do not require a GRE (and the list increasing).
Can I select the laboratory where I would like to perform research?
You will be asked to provide the names of three faculty members listed on the PREP program website whose research is of interest to you during the application process. Matching with your requested mentor will be based on your interests and capabilities, availability of the faculty mentor and input from the Program Director. Note that all mentors listed in the website are well-published and have a strong record of training students in their laboratories.
Are there options available in lieu of bench research?
While the faculty members listed on the PREP program website run laboratories that conduct bench research, we will work with you to determine if there are mentors available in your area of interest at UT Health San Antonio and if they are willing to mentor you.
Will I be provided housing?
Locating appropriate housing is the responsibility of the PREP scholar. Multiple off-campus housing opportunities are available in San Antonio, Texas. Use the link to view rental costs and student experiences and do your research to find safe housing.
Is parking available on campus?
Yes, secured parking is available on campus for a monthly fee, deducted from your paycheck. Please visit this website for more details.
How do I attend courses/workshops if my mentor’s laboratory is located at a campus different from the campus where I will be taking courses?
UT Health San Antonio provides courtesy shuttle buses between the multiple campuses; for more information, please visit their website.
How will I benefit from the IDP?
An Individual Development Plan (IDP) will assist you in identifying your short-term and long-term career goals as well as your strengths and weaknesses, thereby providing a framework for you to build upon or improve your credentials for successfully matriculating into a doctoral program and beyond. An IDP involves continuous feedback and updates to help you reach your goals.
What are the criteria for eligibility?
The PREP program is designed to support students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical sciences, or belonging to a disadvantaged group, as defined by the NIH. You will need to satisfy these eligibility criteria for application to the program; there will be no exceptions.
Do I have to be a Texas resident to apply to the program
No, we accept applications from US citizens, nationals and permanent residents.
I have previously performed research as a Voelcker scholar / volunteer at UT Health San Antonio. Will this preclude my admission to the program?
Your participation in other programs will not affect your selection to the PREP program. The PREP advisory committee will evaluate your need for the program and the program’s potential to help you overcome those shortcomings for successful matriculation into a biomedical doctorate program.
I am in my senior year and will not have my Bachelor’s degree when I apply to the program. Will my application be considered?
Yes, your application will be considered if you will be successfully completing the requirements for a Bachelor’s degree with a final GPA of 3.0 or better before matriculating into the program. However, a final transcript must be submitted to the program upon graduation before you can begin the program.
How do I submit my application? What are the submission deadlines?
Beginning in September of each year, the online application portal will open for accepting applications. The final deadline for submitting applications is April 30. You can submit your application anytime between those dates. Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Note that your application packet has to be complete, along with letters of recommendation, for review by the PREP advisory committee.
Is there an application fee to the program?
No, there is no application fee.
Do I need to submit official transcripts along with my application?
During the application process, you do not have to submit official documents; unofficial documents will suffice. However, you will need to submit all official scores and transcripts from all Universities/ Colleges attended before matriculating into a program. Note that UT Health San Antonio will only accept transcript evaluations from NACES Members.
Do I have to submit GRE/MCAT/DAT scores to apply to the program?
No, scores from any of the above tests are not required for application; however, you can report your scores if you are interested in the online application.
Do I need to submit essays?
Yes, you will need to submit a personal statement that includes previous experiences/training that motivate you to pursue a doctoral degree in biomedical sciences, your strengths and weaknesses as an applicant to a PhD program, your expectations from the PREP program in overcoming those weaknesses, and any challenges that may have hindered your career goals. In your statement, provide the names of up to three program faculty members whose research is of particular interest to you.
How important are recommendation letters from my teachers?
Three letters of recommendation from science or math college-level faculty who taught you for at least one semester of undergraduate or graduate level course are required and form a very important part of your application. Your recommenders must be able to judge your academic and professional potential and should have been involved with or at least be aware of your scholarly activities and/or work experiences. The letters must comment on your readiness for graduate level studies. Letters from non-academic contacts will not qualify.
How will the PREP advisory committee evaluate my application?
The committee will evaluate the entire application as a whole. Your GPA, personal statement, letters of recommendation will all be considered. We look for well-rounded applicants with a history of strong academic performance, shadowing or observation hours, service to the community, a strong motivation to enroll in a health profession school, excellent letters of reference, and good interpersonal skills.
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