Research & Prep Programs

It's never too early to prepare for graduate or professional school (including law or medical school). Below is a list of grad prep programs that provide support and guidance to students considering an advanced degree. Services may include: how to research graduate programs, how to prepare competitive graduate applications, test preparation courses, and more.

The California Pre-Doctoral Program is designed to increase diversity within the pool of university faculty by supporting the doctoral aspirations of students in the CSU. Students who are chosen for this prestigious award are designated Sally Casanova Scholars as a tribute to Dr. Sally Casanova, for whom the Pre-Doctoral scholarship is named. As a Sally Casanova Scholar, you will have unique opportunities to explore and prepare to succeed in doctoral programs. You will have the benefit of direct one-on-one guidance afforded from faculty members from within the CSU, and the opportunity to work with faculty from doctoral-granting institutions. See the Cal State LA Office of Graduate Studies website for campus deadlines.

The Graduate Preparation Institute (GPI) is an intensive six-week undergraduate summer research program hosted at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. We welcome applications from college juniors and seniors who belong to historically underrepresented groups in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Open to juniors and seniors who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. In addition to 30+ hours of research a week, GPI fellows attend a series of workshops where they learn how to identify graduate programs, prepare competitive applications for graduate school, identify sources of funding and much more! GPI fellows attend a number of social events that create opportunities to develop new networks and friendships with students from across the Southwest. Selected participants receive round-trip airfare, university summer housing, university meal plan, public transportation pass, and $2,000 research stipend. Applications are due February 15.

The IIT Chicago-Kent Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars program ("PLUS") offers a unique and unforgettable experience for college students who are interested in the legal profession. This rigorous three-week program is designed to prepare students for law school or a career in the legal profession by helping them to develop essential core competencies needed to succeed in these areas. The program targets undergraduate college students from groups that are underrepresented in the legal profession. The PLUS program is a free, three-week summer program that will provide participants with a deeper understanding of legal education via the program's rigorous doctrinal and experiential skills-based curriculum; help participants develop essential core competencies needed to succeed in the law school application and admissions process, as well as insight into navigating the process; and expose students to a wide range of career paths within the legal profession. Open to freshmen and sophomores. Applications are due March 1.

The King Hall Outreach Program (KHOP) is a unique initiative that helps college students from underrepresented communities prepare for the law school admissions process. In addition to providing mentoring and pre-law advising during the school year, the program hosts eligible college juniors and seniors for a series of weekend sessions in which students gain valuable knowledge about the law school admission process, learn writing, analytical, and logical reasoning skills, develop study techniques for taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and explore career paths available to law school graduates. The no-cost program consists of a series of full-day Saturday presentations and workshops, and a Friday visit to a trial or appellate courtroom, during the summer. Open to sophomore and junior first-generation college students OR come from an economically under-served community OR have a background defined as having a household income less than or equal to 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Summer session applications are typically due in May. KHOP also offers a winter session with applications due January 6.

LSAMP is a comprehensive, statewide program dedicated to broadening participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Students engage in research activities and on activities designed to enhance graduate school preparedness. Open to freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors pursuing an eligible STEM discipline and who have faced or faces social, educational, or economic barriers. Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Applications are accepted year-round and there are no participation costs. For more info, visit the Cal State LA LSAMP site.

Cal State LA MORE Programs offers two undergraduate research training programs aimed at developing the careers of talented minority students so they are ready to succeed in PhD programs: the Maximizing Access to Research Careers- Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (MARC-U*STAR), and the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement- BS to-PhD (RISE BS-to-PhD). Both programs are funded by the National Institutes of Health. RISE and MARC are a training programs to help prepare motivated students for success in PhD programs after completing Cal State LA undergraduate degree requirements. In addition to year-round participation in laboratory research in your labs, the training is enhanced by seminars, workshops, career and academic advisement, and travel to professional meetings. To maximally benefit from the training program, students should have at least two years (and ideally three years) to participate before graduation. Open to students in biology, microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry, psychology, mathematics, biomedical engineering, physics and biophysics and related disciplines. Must identify as African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, Guamanian, Samoan, or Filipino. Applications are typically due in May.

The MTO Fellows Program is a one-year initiative aimed at preparing 20-30 aspiring diverse students for admission to and success in law school. This program seeks applicants from all backgrounds and strives to increase the diversity of the legal profession. All MTO Fellows will participate in LSAT Preparation Course: an intensive, customized course paid for by Munger, Tolles & Olson, taught by TestMasters, and hosted at Loyola Law School in downtown Los Angeles, exclusively for MTO Fellows. The course will run during the summer months leading up to the October LSAT exam; monthly Saturday Workshops: programming workshops hosted one weekend day per month at Munger, Tolles & Olson’s downtown Los Angeles offices that are designed to address and prepare Fellows for the challenges of both the law school application process and law school itself, the Fellows Network: the program will connect Fellows to a strong network of law students and practicing attorneys, including Fellows alumni, supporters of the program, and partner organizations, through direct introductions during workshops, receptions, and community events. Applications are due January 5.

The RISE Grad Prep Academy prepares undergraduate men of color for doctoral study in the RISE Fields. We invite Native American, Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander undergraduate men who are presently in their junior year to apply for participation in our Grad Prep Academy, a project that prepares scholars for doctoral study and research-related careers in the five RISE fields: education, health, human services and social policy, juvenile and criminal justice, and workforce development.This program includes a four-day visit to the University of Pennsylvania. We will select 32 juniors (8 per racial/ethnic group) and cover all their travel expenses, lodging, and meals. During their visit, the selected scholars will learn more about applying to and succeeding in graduate school; meet our faculty and hear about their research projects; interact with our graduate students and alumni; and tour Philadelphia. We will also pay for Academy participants to take a four-week Kaplan course valued at $1,200 to prepare for the Graduate Record Exam (the GRE is required for admission to most graduate programs). Additionally, each Academy participant will be paired with a current male Ph.D. student of color who will offer mentoring throughout the graduate school application process, feedback on essays and other application materials, and advice on where to apply and ultimately enroll. Applications are due in early October.

The aim of the Summer Pre-Med Enrichment Program is to prepare under-represented minority students for careers in academic medicine or other positions of leadership in medicine. Over a ten-week period, beginning late May, students who have completed two years of undergraduate education, will be engaged in a program of research, clinical observations, classroom exercises and teaching observations designed to stimulate their interest in academic medicine. The students will be exposed to activities pertinent to the medical school application and admissions process, including classroom instruction and simulated testing to prepare the students for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Open to sophomores and juniors. Applications are due January 9.

The Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) is a free summer enrichment program focused on improving access to information and resources for college students interested in the health professions. SHPEP’s goal is to strengthen the academic proficiency and career development of students underrepresented in the health professions and prepare them for a successful application and matriculation to health professions schools. Open to freshmen and sophomores who identify as African American/Black, American Indian and Alaska Native and Hispanic/Latino, and who are from communities of socioeconomic and educational disadvantage. Applications are due February 1.

Trials is a unique partnership of NYU School of Law, Harvard Law School, and the Advantage Testing Foundation. It is a fully subsidized summer study program for students of modest means whose backgrounds are currently underrepresented at the nation’s top law schools. For five weeks in the summer, Trials students take residence at Harvard or New York University. The residency alternates from year to year. Each week, instructors from Advantage Testing prepare Trials students for the LSAT by deconstructing the test and presenting a step-by-step approach to each question type. Students maintain a rigorous practice testing schedule, frequently sitting for full-length official LSATs under simulated testing conditions. Working closely with their instructors, students learn to develop an individualized study plan, focus their preparation, and apply the core principles they master. Trials students also attend lectures presented by prominent lawyers, public figures, and legal scholars, including distinguished faculty from both NYU Law and Harvard Law School. These lectures provide a wide-ranging introduction to the study and practice of the law while giving students the opportunity to ask specific questions related to their particular fields of interest. Applications are due February 28.

UCLA PREP is a non-residential program designed to provide premedical and predental students from disadvantaged backgrounds with a means of strengthening their ability and readiness to study medicine or dentistry. As a result of full participation in UCLA PREP, participants should have enhanced their chances of being accepted to medical or dental school and succeeding once there. Students are eligible for UCLA PREP as long as they have not previously applied to medical and/or dental school. We accept freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, community college, out-of-state and post-baccalaureate students. There is no tuition for participation. Applicants must come from an educationally or economically disadvantaged background. Applicants must be a U.S citizen or hold a permanent resident visa, or documentation of approved eligibility for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in the State of California. Applications are due February 1.

UC Irvine’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program offers undergraduate and master’s diversity students an opportunity to work closely with faculty mentors on research projects and provides an intense course of graduate preparation workshops. The program, which is designed for students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. or M.F.A. degree and enter academic careers, provides the tools needed to facilitate application, admission, and enrollment to graduate school. The SURF program is open to virtually all academic fields at UC Irvine, e.g., arts, humanities, social sciences, social ecology, biological sciences, engineering, education, computer sciences and physical sciences. Qualified students with interest in pursuing their graduate program at UC Irvine are especially encouraged to apply. Scholars are matched with UC Irvine faculty members whose special expertise and interests matches those of the student’s research interest and career goals. Faculty members serve as advisors and mentors and assist the scholars in developing and completing a research action plan. Scholars also participate in a graduate preparation component to provide special training in areas critical to academic success. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or AB540. Selected participants receive round-trip airfare, on-campus housing, a GRE prep course, and a $4,000 stipend. Applications are due February 8.

The Vanderbilt PhD Pre-VU Recruitment event provides an opportunity for a select group of highly talented underrepresented students to learn more about the PhD programs at Vanderbilt and the process of developing from a graduate student into an independent researcher. Juniors, seniors, bachelor's degree holders, current master's degree students and master's degree holders who are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, are from an under-represented group (African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and Native Americans, first-generation, low-income), and are interested in pursuing a PhD in a discipline offered at Vanderbilt are eligible to participate in this event. The most competitive students will have earned a minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in their major and will have had some research experience. However, any student with a compelling record of academic and/or research accomplishments is eligible to participate and should complete an application. Although GRE scores are not required for completing the application and receiving an invitation to participate, students who have taken the GRE exams and have their scores available for review will receive preferential consideration. Applications are due September 8.