Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program

The Wake Forest School of Medicine Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) is an exciting opportunity for students who are interested in earning a PhD and conducting research in biomedical sciences. Students must be less than 3 years post-bachelor's degree and interested in obtaining a PhD in the biomedical sciences. The program provides research education, GRE preparation and other training to help students prepare for their doctoral studies and research efforts.

The program is funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) and is meant to help underrepresented students succeed in biomedical science research. For each trainee, the NIGMS grant provides a salary of $27,200 and tuition for two or more undergraduate- or graduate-level courses per year.

Program Goals

PREP is designed to provide assistance to underrepresented students who are seeking a PhD and planning a career in biomedical sciences research. The program’s primary goal is to provide students with intensive research experiences. However, PREP also seeks to improve a student’s chance of being accepted into a graduate program by helping to remedy academic deficiencies and providing assistance with the GRE.

Program Elements

PREP includes one to two years of research, coursework and GRE preparation.

For the research portion of the program, each trainee selects a research mentor from a wide range of topic areas. The program also includes journal clubs and other enrichment activities throughout the year.

Program Outcomes, 2001-present

Eighty-six trainees participated in the program between 2001 and 2018. Sixty-seven percent were accepted into PhD programs, 24 percent entered Master’s programs and 9 percent entered professional programs (MD, DDS). Retention is 90 percent across all degree programs, well above national averages. Overall, 90 percent of PREP Scholars obtain an advanced degree post-PREP, and most remain in research intensive or research-related careers. The majority of the participants are African-American (78 percent).

The PREP contributes 20-30 percent of the minority students in WFUGS biomedical sciences programs, and the percentage of underrepresented minority students participating in our PhD programs has increased to 16 to 20 percent over the past several years. Twenty-two students have already completed the PhD, approximately 80 percent entered post-doctoral training programs, and eight now hold academic faculty positions. Approximately 20 percent of PREP trainees came from our summer programs.